In India, what does it take for a comedian to earn threats, insults and numerous discussions on his life decisions? A TWO-MINUTE VIDEO. Yes, a two-minute video that people find offensive, excluding people whose name is mentioned therein. That video sparked patriotism, sudden respect, discussion on what is Snapchat and is now trending on Facebook amongst the news reports of blasts and terrorism. Tanmay Bhatt, Co-founder of AIB, known for bitingly hilarious web shows and parodies on topics varying from terrorism to plagiarism has been accused as a traitor on various news channel because of his derogatory comments on various legends who are idolised and worshipped in India.
So exactly what is the point of issue here? According to many patriotic Indians who are now busy in organising rallies, burning the effigy of the accused and filing complaints against the ‘Traitor’, are debating whether he should be thrashed and sent to Pakistan. The comedy group has been in news last year with the infamous, ‘AIB knockout’ featuring actors roasted by AIB comedians which also led to an uproar for breaching limits of decency and etiquettes. The news of this parody video has managed to gain the attention of the public at large, where other important issues concerning assaults by police on school students and recent cloud blast in Amarnath fail to do so. Amazingly, the media invited ‘intellects’ from all over the India and had an entire news hour dedicated to why this is wrong and what is this application called, ’Snapchat’. We Indians need to understand that we just cannot arrest people just because they are trying to be funny and their jokes offend others. Why is our country so intolerant? The so called political parties cannot just turn these petty issues into a political battle. They need to understand these are just parodies and a clever impression of satire and sarcasm that most of Indians fail to understand. Issues on child rapes and corruption need to evoke a sharp reaction from people, not comedy spoofs. It’s appalling to see a snap chat story making news and uniting the Indians all over the country to fight against a comedian. Is it an overreaction or just goes on to show how media lacks enough content to attract its viewers? The bottom line is people are free to express how they believe the video was, but none of them is entitled to punish and overreact to trivial issues like this. We have more crucial issues at hand which needs immediate actions and discussions and it’s time we understand what freedom of speech actually means.