Vir Das And His Idea Of India Neither Stand Nor Qualify As Comedy

by Harsha Bhat - Nov 17, 2021 01:32 PM
Vir Das And His Idea Of India Neither Stand Nor Qualify As ComedyVir Das at the Kennedy Centre (@thevirdas/twitter)
  • Mocking all things Indian is where many stand-up comics earn their not so ‘brown’ bread and low fat peanut butter from.

The tragedy of all that is peddled in the name of stand-up comedy is that neither can it stand on its two feet without looking down upon all else, nor is it comical enough to tickle a pork rib.

Condescension is a norm and an audience that takes sadistic pleasure in sharing the same sense of entitlement or social high ground is usually the one that’s applauding all these desperately wannabe attempts at being cheeky.

And as is the trend, mocking all things Indian is what many earn their not so ‘brown’ bread and low fat peanut butter from.

And this ‘Brave slave’ is yet another contestant on this eternal woke championship to outdo the other in their distasteful perception of a civilisation that has witnessed crores of such jokers (one who makes jokes is a joker right, all puns intended?) make a full-time occupation peddling part-time truths and not caring two hoots about their desperate acts of attention seeking.

For, this is a nation whose best orator till date made a speech 150-odd years ago that truly had the world sit up and take note. A fiery monk, a das who had donned the saffron robe and was a true ‘veer’, had left the world speechless with just the opening lines of his speech that went ‘Sisters and Brothers of America...’.

The last time I checked the world map, there was just one India, but now that Vir Das has said, in his monologue at the Kennedy Centre, that there are two Indias — one that is hailed and one that is the ‘harsher reality’ completely in contrast to the one celebrated — I realise there are actually two, or many more may be.

Let’s stick to two for now, as we respond to Das’ idea of India (the lines in italics are from his monologue).

Dear Vir Das and all those hooting after his display of lack of originality and utter disregard for the long way that the nation has come since 2014 (given that the year is the only one that grabs attention with this set), I too come from two Indias and those are the Indias that the likes of you will never take on any stage now or in the near future.

I come from an India where children in masks hold hands…

But I also come from an India whose children do so because the masks and the message reached them in abundance within months of initial reportage of a shortage.

I come from an India where leaders hug each other without masks, probably because, by now, 112 crore Indians are relatively at ease already with the Made-in-India vaccine, ensuring almost minimal or no fatalities in most parts of the country for the past few months (For further data, just check the twitter handle of the MOHFW).

I come from an India where the AQI is 9000 (really?) because lawmakers are more interested in the straw that broke the camel's back and liberal wokes find it easy to tweet about firecrackers than stubble burning.

But thankfully, I come from an India that still sleeps under the sky and looks at the stars because a smogged, choked sky won't show you stars that bright — but yes, logic and woke liberalism don’t have to be friends.

And coming to the bit that you spoke with a lot of conviction and pain in your voice —

I come from an India where we worship women in the day and we gang rape them at night’ — No, we don’t. When you say ‘we’ please speak for yourself and whosoever you vouch for these bipolar activities to.

Given that generalisation by itself is blasphemous, the kinds of these are dangerous and irresponsible.

Dissecting the semantics as well as the pragmatics of it, does the shift to first person plural not imply a collective action that has the sanction of everyone included in that bracket?

Until this line, it was always one group performing a set of actions versus another group indulging in completely contrasting and ridicule-inviting ones.

But this one is bound to hurt every Indian because the ‘comic’ has included us all in this.

And by all of us, it clearly is us who worship the Devi — so all non-Hindus are exempt from this charge of hurting the ones they are supposed to be looking up to in reverence.

So, yes, a religious profile of all the rapists in the country has been published by the great grave mind and peer reviewed by the ones applauding this act.

To break the monotony of rebutting his ridiculous sermon, here are some numbers.

According to this TOI article from 2018, UK has the highest rape cases reported per lakh population at 36.44, while India stood at 5.7. Accepting that India isn’t really oriented towards reporting such incidents owing to cultural factors and societal issues, in terms of absolute numbers, India stood third with 33,707 rapes while UK followed close behind at 20,751.

But whereas, the US topped the chart at 1,13, 695 reported rapes.

And given that this great act of India-shaming was happening at a venue in Washington DC, guess it would help him to know that the US has a rape rate of 27.3 per cent and only 9 per cent of rapists in the US get prosecuted with only 3 per cent spending a day in prison, as reported (None of this is to absolve any of the heinous perpetrators of the unpardonable offence — no matter where they come from or what religion they follow.)

The next few lines he uttered made no sense, just like many of the Bollywood movies that apparently ‘unite us in the darkness of the theatres’.

I don’t come from an India that scoffs at sexuality, for if it did, it wouldn’t adorn its temples with positions that you probably should go try for yourself instead of writing the lame act of yours, nor would OTT platforms feed the likes of you who resort to voyuerism for lack of originality, creativity or real research-based storytelling.

I don’t come from an India where journalism is supposedly dead, just because it kills you to see a media finally dare ensure people can #ReadIndiaRight and social media too does dig up the corpses that the pallbearers of yore would like buried forever.

Women on the road are still telling the truths, that they now can't be telling from studios that deny them employment for lack of credibility and integrity.

‘I come from an India where we bleed blue every time we play green but we turn to orange every time we lose to green all of a sudden.’ Now this revelation if true, is implying that only the saffron forces in the nation care about never losing to Pakistan, be it on the field or at the borders.

Aren’t you hurting all those greens who also bleed blue who have equally been agitated with the Indian Cricket team for letting us down.

Responding to the entire India shaming rant would be plain pointless like the done-to-death parallels he tries to draw, but then, guess the furore around it that ‘pushed’ him to issue a clarification — which is proof enough that not many come from the India that he does.

Dear Vir Das, You come from an India that only exists in your head and of those like you who would forever wish it stays that way.

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