Indian comedian Vir Das has recently come under fire from right-wing groups in India for using his standup routine to discuss controversial topics, including sexual violence and the farmers’ protests in the country.
What he said:
During a performance in Washington D.C
., Das spoke of “Two Indias” while highlighting the hypocrisy and corruption in how the country has dealt with sexual violence, farmers’ rights
, COVID-19 safety, age disparities in politics, and more.
- “I come from an India where we worship women during the day, but gang rape them at night,” he said evenly to a silent audience. “I come from an India where we take pride in being vegetarian and yet run over the farmers who grow our vegetables.”
- Vir Das is one of India’s best-known comedians and is known for heavily featuring social commentary in his material.
- Das’ past Netflix standups have also tackled topics like nationalism, religion, racism and dirty politics, but what is new about this set is the seriousness with which it was delivered.
- “I come from an India that is going to watch this and say, ‘This isn’t standup comedy. Where is the goddamn joke?’”
- Das’ remarks come in light of increasing crackdowns on free speech, particularly of minorities in India, under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Comedy under fire: Prominent conservative Hindu politicians, actors, filmmakers and religious leaders alike have come forward to criticize Das, going as far as calling for his immediate arrest for “defaming” the country.
- A lawyer with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Prime Minister Modi’s party, filed a defamation complaint against Das.
- The Indian police force confirmed that they have received several complaints. No action has been taken on their part as of yet.
- A-list Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut went as far as calling Das a “criminal” and his standup “soft terrorism” in an Instagram story.
- Das responded to the uproar on his Twitter, insisting, “I take pride in my country, and I carry that pride across the world.” The response did not backtrack on any of his bold comments and simply reaffirmed his patriotism.