Who is Vir Das, what is his two Indias controversy?
In case you are living under a rock or were caught in national fog, we’ll brief you on the controversy surrounding Vir Das performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington which has caused a stir in social media where Bollywood is divided (From `Soft terrorism` remark from Kangana Ranaut to being brave by some other celebrities)
THE MONOLOGUE THAT CALLED FOR A STIR:
During his show in the US, Vir Das described a country of two sides where people "worship women during the day but gang rape them at night".
In response to the strong backlash, he called it "a satire about the duality of two very separate Indias".
Others have shown support for the comic, who received a standing ovation.
The monologue was performed in Washington DC on 12 November during his current world tour.
The reaction is not about Vir Das’s joke—it was not a joke, to begin with, it’s a written speech to evoke attention. Das wanted to make a video and social comment about India, Indians, and much else in between. He wanted to make it interesting so he decided to do it in rhyme. If two sentences rhyme a bit they sound not only interesting but perhaps make the speaker sound clever too! At the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington, he chose to depict India’s different dichotomies through statements that were full of non-truth, made in rhyme, to provoke and attract attention
THE POLITICS INVOLVED:
Aditya Jha, a spokesperson for the BJP, has reportedly filed a complaint against Das for supposedly “insulting” the nation before an international audience. “I want Vir Das to be arrested so that no one can malign the nation like this,” he said Wednesday.
On social media, where netizens are sharply divided over his act, Das posted a note writing his “video appeals for us to never forget that we are great… It ends in a gigantic patriotic round of applause for a country we all love, believe in, and are proud of.”
Meanwhile, actress Kangana Ranaut branded him a “criminal” and a complaint was lodged against him for making “derogatory statements against India in a global platform” on Tuesday, 16 November
Bhagat took to Twitter to share his views on the situation and it did not go well with desis. Comparing the motherland to a mother, he wrote “I may fight or find many faults with my mother but I won’t go criticizing her in the neighbor’s house. I may find a hundred things wrong with my country but I won't criticize it publicly on an international stage.
Maybe it’s just me, but some things are just not done”.
Many called out bhagat for his comments which translated to keeping family matters concealed, no matter how toxic they are”
Amidst all this, several Bollywood celebrities including Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chadha, Hansal Mehta, and Ashwin Mushran among many others have taken to social media to extend support to Vir Das and laud his recent piece, 'Two Indias'.
8 NOTABLE LINES FROM THE TWO INDIAS CONTROVERSY:
“I come from an India where we worship women during the day and gang-rape them during the night.”
2. On farmers:
“I come from an India where we take pride in being vegetarian, and yet run over the farmers who grow our vegetables.”
3. On leaders:
“I come from an India that has the largest working population under 30 on the planet but still listens to 75-year-old leaders with 150-year-old ideas.”
4. On cricket :
“I come from an India where we bleed blue every time we play green. But every time we lose to green, we turn orange all of a sudden.”
5. On petrol:
“I come from an India that is Hindu and Muslim and Christian and Sikh and Parsi and Jew and when we all look up at the sky we only see one thing together – the price of petrol.”
6. On sexuality:
“I come from an India where we scoff at sexuality and yet f**k till we reach a billion people.”
7. On journalism:
“I come from an India where journalism is supposedly dead because men in fancy suits in studios give each other handjobs and yet women on the road with laptops are still telling the truth.”
8. On government:
“I come from an India where we kicked out the British but yet we call the government the ruling party.”
POST THE BACKLASH:
After facing backlash, the comedian shared a clarification on the matter saying the video was "a satire about the duality of two very separate Indias that do different things".
The video appeals for us to never forget that we are great," he shared. "I take pride in my country, and I carry that pride across the world. I ask of you the same thing I asked that audience, to focus on the light, remember our greatness, and spread the love."
The backlash against Das is not the first time an Indian comic has come under fire; according to Al Jazeera, comedian Munawar Faruqui was held in prison for more than a month after being accused of insulting Hindu gods and goddesses.
This month, he canceled three shows in Mumbai after a Hindu right-wing group threatened to set the venue on fire.
Writer - Simone Sharma
Editor and Graphic Designer - Vaishnavi Bhojane