Can Insult Freedom Struggle but Can’t Crack Jokes? Indians Speak on ‘Two Indias'
We asked fellow Indians to complete Vir Das's 'I come from an India piece'. Here's what we got.
Producer: Anthony Rozario
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas/Mohd Irshad
Inputs: Smitha Tarur, Zijah Sherwani, Mythreyee Ramesh, Somya Lakhani, Sadhika Tiwari, Piyush Rai, and Navya Singh.
When comedian Vir Das articulated his idea of 'Two India' – a sketch through which he highlighted the inner contradictions of India's socio-political landscape – little may he have known about the backlash that would greet his monologue, delivered at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, United States.
Das's performance has culminated into two police complaints in Mumbai and Delhi, which accuse him of making "derogatory statements against India".
The backlash has also caused the comedian to put out a statement on Tuesday, 16 November, in which he said, "I ask of you, the same thing I asked that audience…to focus on the light, remember our greatness, and spread the love."
Since Das was effectively asked to shut up for highlighting, what he thought were the 'Two Indias' he experienced, we thought of asking the common people of India to complete his sentence.
For radio jockey Stutee Ghosh, the conflict in India lies between the fact that an actress who insults the freedom struggle simply "gets away" but a comedian doesn't even enjoy the basic freedom of cracking a joke.
In a similar vein, Dalit Activist Sushil Gautam points out an India where a certain community is hailed as 'Hindu before elections', but denied the basic right to enter temples after polls are over.
Of 'Cropped' Thoughts & 'Sickular' Sickle
For journalist Aditya Pran, the India that he lives in considers the northeastern states its 'seven sisters' on the one hand, and alienates it from development on the other. For student Dristi Sharma, the dichotomy lies between those who judge women in crop tops, but consider a blouse 'sanskari'.
Delhi resident Abu Sufiyan points out that he comes from an India where the word "secularism is enshrined in the Constitution", but those seeking to protect it are mocked and trolled as 'sickular'.
(Yash Marwah is from Let India Breathe. The video erroneously states it as Let Me Breathe. The error is regretted.)
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