Vir Das: Indian comedian polarizes nation with his story of “two India”

Comedian Vir Das presented “I come from two Indias” – a speech chronicling what he perceives as the country’s dual personality – at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on November 12. A six-minute video of the speech uploaded. to YouTube Monday garnered more than 850,000 views at the time of publication.

“I come from India, where we worship women by day, but a group rapes them at night,” Das said in the monologue.

“I come from India, where we are proud to be vegetarians, and yet run through the farmers who grow our vegetables,” he added, referring to the deaths of at least eight people last month when a car linked to a federal minister allegedly ran. over several people during a protest against controversial property laws.

The hashtag #VirDas is in vogue in India, with more than 60,000 tweets by Wednesday afternoon.

Ashutosh Dubey, a legal adviser to the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, said he had lodged a complaint with Mumbai police on Tuesday against Das’s “inflammatory” comments.

In post to Twitter, Dubey accused Das of “defaming and damaging the image of India in the United States.”

Indian filmmaker Ashoke Pandit said Das “should be arrested immediately” for his comments.

“I see a terrorist in this man named #VirDas,” he said wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, adding Das should be “tested under terror laws.”

In a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Das defended his monologue, adding that he is “proud” of India.

“The video is a satire on the duo of two very separate Indians doing different things,” he said. “As every nation has light and darkness, good and evil in itself. None of this is a secret.”

Meanwhile, Das has received support from several opposition politicians, journalists and activists.

Shashi Tharoor, a spokesman for the opposition Congress Party, said Das “spoke for millions” in post on Twitter.

“A comedian who knows the real meaning of the expression‘ stand ’is not physical but moral,” he said.

Another congressional legislator, Kapil Sibal, also supported Das. “No one can doubt that there are two India [sic]. Just that we don’t want an Indian to tell the world about it, “he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.” We are intolerant and hypocritical. “

In recent months, some Indian comedians have raised fears about what they say the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is increasing repression against free speech.

Islamic comedian Munawar Faruqui was arrested in January for allegedly making “indecent remarks” about Hindu gods, according to CNN affiliate CNN-News18. Faruqui received bail from the Supreme Court in February, News18 reported.

CNN’s Vedika Sud and Manveena Suri contributed to reporting.

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