New Delhi: Police complaints were filed against stand-up comedian Vir Das in Mumbai and Delhi as the sharp debate on his video I come from two Indias on November 17 mirrored the polarity of the monologue itself with celebs, politicians, and a host of others speaking out.
The satirist, who has issued a statement saying his comments weren’t intended to insult the country, found backing from Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor.
However, their fellow politician Abhishek Manu Singhvi criticized him for “vilifying the nation”.
And moving from just polemics, Delhi BJP vice-president Aditya Jha and Mumbai lawyer Ashutosh J Dubey went to the police with their complaints. While Jha alleged that Das made “derogatory” statements at an international platform with an intention to malign the country’s image, Dubey also held him responsible “for defaming & spoiling the image of India in the USA, which is inflammatory”. No FIRs have been filed as yet.
Das, who is in the US right now, uploaded on November 15 a six-minute video on YouTube titled I come from two Indias. It was a part of his recent performance at the John F Kennedy Centre in Washington DC.
The Mumbai-based artist, who has also dabbled in cinema, touched on various topics in the clip, including the farm protests, the battle against COVID-19, the duality in response to women, particularly rape, and the crackdown on comedians.
As the issue gathered steam, Sibal on November 17 tweeted that none can doubt that there are two Indias. “…Just that we don’t want an Indian to tell the world about it. We are intolerant and hypocritical,” he tweeted.
Singhvi, hit out at Das, saying that “generalizing the evils of a few individuals and vilifying the nation as a whole in front of the world is just not done”. Using the hashtag #VirDas, the Rajya Sabha MP tweeted: “The people who painted India in front of the west as a nation of ‘saperas’ and ‘luteras’ during the colonial rule have not ceased to exist.”
Kangana Ranaut, known for her often incendiary comments and facing a backlash for her comment that India’s Independence was alms, said Das’ remarks were “soft terrorism”.
During his monologue on November 15, Das had predicted he would be accused of “airing their dirty laundry”. He had issued a clarification, saying his intention was to serve as a reminder that the country, despite its issues, was “great”.