Butterfly Effect, Shirin Dalvi and Charlie Hebdo

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world

– Chaos Theory

Meteorologist Edward Lorenz proved that seemingly insignificant factors can have a huge effect on the overall outcome. This was called as Chaos Theory. The Chaos Theory explores the effects of small occurrences dramatically affecting the outcomes of seemingly unrelated events.

The Butterfly effect is a term used in Chaos Theory to describe how small changes to a seemingly unrelated thing or condition (also known as an initial condition) can affect large, complex systems. The term comes from the suggestion that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in South America could affect the weather in Texas, meaning that the tiniest influence on one part of a system can have a huge effect on another part.


Chaos Theory - a butterfly flaps its wings...

I don’t know if Shirin Davli, Editor of Mumbai edition of Lucknow based newspaper Avadhnama knew about Butterfly Effect, but I am sure she will now start believing in Butterfly effect.

In September 2012 French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, this created lot of unrest in Muslim world. On 7th January 2015, two gunmen killed 12 staff members of Charlie Hebdo. On January 14th Charlie Hebdo published cartoon of Prophet on front page.

These events happened it Paris which is far away from South Mumbai and Mumbra, a suburb of Thane. But the butterfly had started flapping its wings in Paris and its effects were to be felt in Mumbai.

butterfly poster

A Mumbai based media firm owned by Shirin Dalvi got permission to publish Mumbai edition of Lucknow based newspaper called Avadhnama. The newspaper was read in areas with significant Muslim population like Mumbra and South Mumbai ( Byculla).

While publishing an article in her newspaper, she printed front page of Charlie Hebdo which contained cartoon of Prophet. She later realised her mistake and apologised, but by then some members of Muslim community and police were after her. She was arrested and later granted bail. The daily has shut down its office and stopped publication. Shirin has gone into hiding, but around 25 employees of Avadhnama are now jobless.

It was a mistake and I had no intention to hurt the feelings of my community. Like any other Muslim, I deeply respect Prophet Mohammed – Peace Be Upon Him.”

  • Shirin Dalvi , Avadhnama.


While Shirin says that it was a printing mistake, the employees don’t agree with her. They feel that it was done deliberately to close down daily and to get rid of employees.

“The entire incident was planned to get out of the legal, financial and monetary obligations that the owners were bound to as part of the agreement of running the paper. The paper was facing financial problems and this incident was scripted to shut down the paper and get rid of all present and former employees who were not paid their salaries”

– Saeed Hameed, former Editor of Avadhnama.

But story does not end here; police have arrested newspaper vendors Sharif Ahamad Shaikh and Salman Kalam Shaikh for selling Avadhnama! At this rate many believe that police will now arrest people for reading Avadhnama!

If this sounds ridiculous, remember Chaos Theory.




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