A watershed moment occurred in the contemporary feminist movement of India when those perceived as the flag bearers of the cause were called out by a few strong-willed girls for their hypocrisy.
It was shocking, unbelievable, and thus for many a revelation that shattered the edifices perched on which was the mast of the feminism flag. For a few like me who are (un)fortunate enough to be aware of the dark realities of what goes inside the head of such hypocrites, it was a relief. The relief that finally it was out for everyone to see.
A pack of cards, tumbled one by one, waning the neo-movement whose nefarious intentions were sugar-coated with liberalism. Quite interestingly, there was something common in the names which popped up; most of those who were swept away by the tide were staunch critics of the ruling government.
Before, I move ahead with this piece, here’s a disclaimer: I do not wish to discredit the movement in general by giving it a political colour. Although, there’s enough evidence that it might have veered towards that but I will base this entire piece only on stand-up comics or those from the comedy circle.
Ok, let’s not digress further.
It all started when Utsav Chakraborty who retweeted a report about some 1300 Indian men harassing women aboard an Australian cruise. While he was at it with his moral feminist flag fluttering in glory, a woman called out his hypocrisy and tweeted how he had sent her obscene messages which included sharing the pics of his genitals.
And floodgates opened.
In no time, few more women joined the allegation bandwagon. Utsav was left red-faced and had to issue a statement which was only creepier. Because he sought refuge in an excuse that was ludicrous. Apparently it was mental health issues that led him to sliding into DMs of teenage girls and sharing the photos of his genital.
But Utsav was not the only one from the famed comedy circle of India. In few days from when it all started, came a barrage of names that left us all o-gaped.
At the time of writing this article, leading newspaper Times of India has a dedicated page for the #metoo movement. The list includes names from almost every field, including journalism, cinema, politics and cricket, what is startling to see is that it has three other prominent comedians – apart from Utav – Gursimram Khamba, Kanan Gill and Aditi Mittal.
Mittal’s name in the list is symbolic of what she has always stood for – that women are no less than men in any field. In this case, making others uncomfortable with gestures that are not acceptable at all. She has been accused by another female comedian Kaneez Surka of kissing her forcibly on the stage.
Kannan Gill categorically denied allegations which said that he had touched a woman inappropriately while Khamba said his was a behaviour that does not qualify as sexual harassment because the sex was mutual.
If you’ve observed or followed this issue, you’d know that most of those from the comedy circle knew of such behaviour from their peers but chose to remain silent. If hypocrisy had a Youtube Channel, these comedians would have starred in it. All of these moral activists were hand in gloves. Naturally the reactions have been harsh, and rightly so.
Apart from being a staunch critic of the ‘patriarchal Indian society’, these comedians have always had their two cents to share on the government policies, despite not having any formal education or knowledge of subjects like economics, international diplomacy etc.
There’s no harm in being political, sceptical or even cynical to some extent. After all, history is full of examples where great artists have inspired movements and awakened the conscience of the public, leading to a healthy democracy. However, once such movement is laced with vendetta or motives which are not as noble, it fails sooner or later. Most of what these comedians did or said on-stage or on camera were an extension of allegations made by Congress or other opposition parties.
But, while the Congress, or any opposition party or leader, lacked the connection with the people or the mass appeal required to resonate with the electorate, the so-called comedians had succeeded in establishing that resonance. In countering the ‘ruling regime’, the comedians were armed with three vital aspects that the current opposition sorely lacked, tact, tenacity and teeth. Thus, these comedians were able to invoke the inherent ‘anti-establishment’ feeling among the Indians, an objective that the opposition had utterly failed to achieve owing to the disarray, confusion and duplicity.
From questioning stern economic measures to having a strong diplomatic stand vis a vis the neighbouring counties, these comedians never left a stone unturned to peddle Congress’ agenda among their audiences, which is mainly the tech-savvy, college going youth of the country. The all-around attack that the socialist intelligentsia of this country launched on the BJP, and particularly PM Modi, found great support among these comedians. They spoke a language that found its takers among the current generation, talked about issues that rang a bell. They basically knew what worked and what not. All this under the garb of amplifying the aspirations of the youth. It was all hunky, dory for them. Their agenda worked well. They grew strong, ridiculed their critics and called them the ‘IT Cell trolls, thus generating emotional support on Twitter, Facebook and all such platforms.
But they faltered. Not because they left a hole open somewhere. But because they were hypocrites with ulterior motives that had nothing to do with improving the society in general and fixing its flaws. All they cared about was their bosses and how to tackle the man sitting in DELHI. But hey, the agenda was short-lived like all things evil, and fell flat on its face, inducing a few laughs in the process. Quite ironic!
The resonance that they had achieved with the masses has eroded in one sweep with their fall from grace. The image of ‘enlightened opposition’ that they had created among the prospective voters which could ‘uproot’ the formidable BJP, a task the career politicians in the opposition were entirely incapable of achieving, has gone with the unravelling of their carefully constructed façade.
And the man in DELHI had the last laugh. Yeah, your favourite man. The man who gave you enough material to make memes so that there was employment for you as well and not just Pakodawalahs. You did not care enough to respect that. Now suffer, and perish!
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