Kamra Broke Internet, Arnab Breaking India: Comic Anirban Dasgupta

“What he did broke the internet, and he did it with a man who’s breaking the country”, says comic Anirban Dasgupta.

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India
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Anirban Dasgupta reacts to Indigo and Air India suspending Kunal Kamra  from flying on their airlines, after the comedian heckled Arnab Goswami on a flight.
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Speaking to The Quint, standup comedian Anirban Dasgupta expressed support for fellow comic Kunal Kamra after Indigo and Air India decided to suspend Kamra for heckling Arnab Goswami on a flight.

“I am just happy that you did this, Kunal. What you did broke the internet, and I am happy that you did it with a man who is breaking the country.”
Anirban Dasgupta, Comedian

I did it for my hero... I did it for Rohit

Posted by Kunal Kamra on Tuesday, January 28, 2020
The following are excerpts from our interview with comedian Anirban Dasgupta, discussing the video that Kamra posted of him heckling Arnab, the Modi government’s reaction and two different airlines consequently suspending him from availing their flights. Dasgupta also has a message for Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri.
Indigo and Air India have suspended Kunal Kamra from boarding their flights.
Indigo and Air India have suspended Kunal Kamra from boarding their flights.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

‘Brave of Kunal, He Is Okay With the Consequences’

How do you react to Indigo and Air India suspending Kunal Kamra from boarding flights belonging to their airlines because he had posted a video of him questioning Arnab Goswami on a flight?

Anirban Dasgupta: I am not surprised at all, because all these airlines are under tremendous pressure to take action and so this is a consequence that is expected. Politicians have been holding up planes forever, and they have been creating ruckus and inconveniencing passengers, putting them at risk with their antics, but nothing ever happens to them, they never get banned.

So, it’s not surprising that someone like Kunal, who genuinely doesn’t have power is being at the receiving end of this action. I think that Kunal understands this. Before doing something like this, he understands that there will be consequences and he is okay with it, and that’s the part I’m most impressed with, because it’s brave.

‘Kamra Is Speaking Up to Power, Getting Banned a Badge of Honour’

Anirban Dasgupta: What Kamra did is really brave and courageous, and people will remember this for a long time. This is true speaking up to power. Getting banned by airlines as a consequence of this, according to me, is a badge of honour for Kamra.

I am seeing a lot of talk on Twitter saying that this is not good manners and this is crossing boundaries, but please understand that the man at the receiving end of this is an aspiring war criminal. What he propagates every night has nothing to do with manners and ethics so at a time like this, this act (by Kunal) is insanely commendable. I am proud that somebody like Kunal Kamra has done it.

Kamra only has things to lose by doing this. He is getting banned, he was thrown out of his house earlier. But he is still doing it.

You have to understand who is abusing power, and who is speaking up against it.

A Message for the Civil Aviation Minister

What is the one thing that you would like to tell the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, who posted a tweet asking airlines to follow Indigo’s lead and take action against Kunal Kamra?

Anirban Dasgupta: I expect more ministers to talk about it and try to use their power to inconvenience Kamra as much as possible, so I’m not at all surprised with that.

But I would like to tell the Minister that this whole regime won’t end well for anybody, this whole cycle of violence and oppression never ends well for anybody, whether it is the masses or the Minister. I just want to wish him good luck, and I hope he enjoys flying at least!

‘Govt Not Leaving Us With a Choice but to Protest’

Anirban Dasgupta speaks up in support of fellow comedian Kunal Kamra.
Anirban Dasgupta speaks up in support of fellow comedian Kunal Kamra.
(Photo courtesy: Twitter)

Anirban Dasgupta: Things have changed in the last five years. Comedians are always thinking about the consequences of their actions. But whether it’s five years back or today, Kamra has never thought about it, which is the courage that he has shown in the face of adversity.

A lot of other comics right now are speaking about it (against the government and CAA-NRC-NPR) because there is no other option. What else do you do?

This is the conversation at the dinner table, this is the conversation with your friends. Eventually, everybody will speak up because the government is not really leaving us with any option.

Look at the protests that are happening all across the country, that didn’t happen two years back, four years back. It was for everybody to see that things are going this way. The government didn’t change its stance overnight. But earlier, people were still a little evasive, they were on the fence.

It depends on what the breaking point is for each individual. Everybody has a tipping point. For some it could be the CAA-NRC issue, for some it could be demonetisation, for others it could be something else.

But eventually, the government is not leaving anybody with any choice but to protest. So, more and more people are going to speak up.
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