Freedom to Laugh

This Independence Day, two stand-up comics tell us what makes us Indians and what sets us free

Published:August 15, 2016 12:18 am
stand up comedy, stand up comedy india, indian comedians, label life, Sanjay Rajoura, Sanjay Rajoura comedian, Sanjay Rajoura political satire, Aisi Taisi Democracy, Sorabh Pant, Sorabh Pant East India Comedy collective, Sorabh Pant The Wednesday Soul, The Wednesday Soul, independence day, 15 august Two stand-up comics on what makes us Indians and what sets us free

Being Indian was never this easy. Sanjay Rajoura presents his guide to all things Indian

The list consists of fairly simple acts. If you are a truly patriotic Indian, you should stand when the national anthem is played in a movie hall, you should chant “Bharat mata ki jai” at every possible opportunity, you should not eat beef and should extend moral support to the goal of the gau rakshaks. And, you should not criticise India. No matter what. If you want to go an extra mile, it would help if you wear a dress with the PM’s picture on it.

Wait, there is more on the list. Yoga should be a part of your daily routine. If you cannot do yoga, you must at least retweet photos of the world community twisting themselves into unimaginable pretzels on International Yoga Day.

Ayurveda should be your first choice in case of a medical condition because all medicine emanates from Ayurveda. If you have kids, don’t bother gifting them the works of the likes of Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman.

Instead, educate them in the Vedic scriptures, gift them a Bhagwat Gita. Modern physics and mathematics are western sciences. There is nothing there for our children to take pride in. A daily dose of a few inscrutable Vedic mantras and your kid should be able to finish Albert Einstein’s unfinished business, The Grand Unified Theory! You can assert your nationalism a little more if you have a Twitter account. Threats and abuses should be your way of settling difference of opinions. The words sickular, libtard, presstitute should be a part of your daily vocabulary. If and when you are cornered by a logical counter-argument and you are not in the mood to abuse, maybe you are feeling lazy, this should be your mantra for all such situations: the jawans are dying at the border. If you look at the list above, it’s not that difficult to be an Indian. Most importantly you don’t need to bother that organ in your body called “brain”. In fact, the lesser you use your brain, easier it will be for you to be a true Indian these days.

It wasn’t always easy. There was a time when you had to do more difficult things. You had to know and believe in that document called the Constitution. One had to live with the burden of a pluralist democracy, secularism, diversity and all that liberal and progressive Western mumbo jumbo. Today, you can skip reading Voltaire and Ambedkar but Chetan Bhagat is a must.

And ladies and gentlemen, while we are at it, we must acknowledge the greatest contributor to this neo-Indian-ness, the most Indian of us all: the non-resident Indian.

 Sorabh Pant on how independence is the right to disagree with each other and not stab each other with words 

Forget labels such as Gucci, Prada, DKNY and Zara. In our country, we now have labels for real human beings: Congressi, Bhakt, AAPtard, Bhaitard, custard, feminazi, Presstitutes, pseudo-liberal, neonazi rasgulla, fundamentalist apricot, meninist and apologist. All these labels are available free of cost and are thrown around at the Great Indian Sale of hating each other. We’re already divided enough by religion, caste, sex and whether you belong to Camp Sachin or Camp Dravid; we don’t need divisions on the basis of other nonsense.

Maybe courtesy screaming debates on TV — I say this as one of those people screaming on debates on TV — we assume we are all Arnabs on cocaine. A TV debate is created for TV, not for the drawing room and actual human interaction. And, even the inherent purpose of those TV debates is to humiliate politicians — who, let’s be honest, are deserving candidates. Politicians, not your friend Pappu Singh from Gorakhpur.

We need to understand: it’s OK to disagree. We do not have to agree. If we all did: we would be China. And, that’s not a good thing for reasons I can’t quite grasp at the moment.

Drawing room conversations have changed. Earlier it was, ‘Arrey, look at Radhika’s husband. He’s so fat; if you prick him with a pin, jalebi juice will come out.’ Now, it’s, ‘What? You don’t hate Aamir Khan? You deshdrohi, why don’t you do suhag raat with Kanhaiya Kumar, you pseudo-secular armpit hair fart?’ Relax. Take a breath.

The reason we are a country is because we have differences. It’s what I love about India. It’s what makes us so damn fascinating. Our differences. Talk to each other. You don’t have to murder your friend just because he thinks that gau rakshaks are as unnecessary as Pokemon Go! players in a Nana Nani Park.

I love engaging with people that I agree and disagree with — and, I’m open to being proven wrong. It comes from being married to a Bengali for five years. My relationship is just a series of me discovering I was wrong 24/7. You cannot and are not right all the time. And, a person that doesn’t share your opinion is not your enemy. They just have a different background than yours.

Your India is not my India. And, neither of our Indias is right or wrong. They are what they are.

Sanjay Rajoura is one-third of political satire act, Aisi Taisi Democracy Sorabh Pant is the founder of East India Comedy collective, and author of The Wednesday Soul

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  1. J
    Jay
    Aug 15, 2016 at 6:37 pm
    No I'm not a single one of those you mentioned above nor I have anything against your thought process. But what you have written was pale and dull and sorry my friend, it wasn't even remotely funny.
    Reply
  2. P
    P.Jacob
    Aug 16, 2016 at 1:48 pm
    Loved your article, out of the box and in your face kind. All the best abd hope to see many more like these
    Reply