A monologue by one of India’s top comedians has infuriated some citizens, prompting police complaints and criticism from fellow performers. Vir Das described a country with two sides during his show in the United States, where people “worship women during the day but gang rapes them at night.”In response to the outpouring of criticism, he described it as “a satire about the hypocrisy in India about what we say and what we do in a derogatory manner. During his current world tour, he delivered the monologue in Washington, DC on November 12. A seven-minute video was uploaded to the internet and quickly became popular.

Police complaints were filed against stand-up comedian Vir Das in Mumbai and Delhi on November 17, as the heated debate over his video I come from two Indias mirrored the polarity of the monologue itself, with celebrities, politicians, and a slew of others speaking out.

The satirist, who has issued a statement claiming that his remarks were not meant to be insulting to the country, has received support from TMC member Mahua Moitra as well as Congress leader Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor. However, their colleague politician Abhishek Manu Singhvi chastised him for “vilifying the nation,” and actress KanganaRanaut also spoke out, calling for strict action against the comedian.

Moving beyond rhetoric, Delhi BJP vice-president Aditya Jha and Mumbai lawyer Ashutosh J. Dubey filed complaints with the police. While Mr. Jha claimed that Mr. Das made “derogatory” statements on an international platform with the intent of sullying the country’s image, Mr. Dubey accused him of “defaming & spoiling the image of India in the USA, which is inflammatory.” As of yet, no FIRs have been filed.

Mr. Das, who is currently in the United States, posted a six-minute video on YouTube titled I come from two Indias on November 15. It was part of his recent performance at Washington, D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center. The Mumbai-based artist, who has also dabbled in filmmaking, touched on a variety of topics in the video, including farm protests, the fight against COVID-19, the duality in response for ladies. As the controversy grew, Mr. Sibal tweeted on November 17 that no one can deny that there are two Indias. “It’s just that we don’t want an Indian to tell the rest of the world about it.” “We are intolerant and hypocritical,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Tharoor praised Mr. Das as a stand-up comedian who understands that the true meaning of the term “stand up” is moral rather than physical. Mr. Das spoke for millions in his six-minute take on the “Two Indias” he represents, Mr. Tharoor tweeted late on November 16. Mr. Tharoor said, tagging a tweet from someone who said he had filed a complaint against Mr. Das with the Mumbai Police, “We know which India this comes from.”However, Mr. Singhvi, Mr. Tharoor’s party colleague, slammed Mr. Das, saying that “generalizing the evils of a few individuals and vilifying the nation as a whole in front of the world is simply not done.” The Rajya Sabha MP tweeted with the hashtag #VirDas, “The people who painted India in front of the west as a nation of saperas and luteras during colonial rule have not ceased to exist.

Ms. Moitra, a Trinamool MP, also backed the comedian, thanking him for speaking the truth about the “Two Indias.” “Reactions also from two Indias – one having a laugh and the other filing complaints with the police!” she tweeted. The Hindi film industry also spoke out in support of the comedian, with filmmaker Hansal Mehta and actor-producer Pooja Bhatt praising him for his bravery.

“This @virdas moved me.” “I come from an India where it takes courage for a Vir Das to say this, I come from an India where many admire this courage but choose to remain silent,” the director said, sharing a stand-up video of the comedian.“You said it Hansal,” Ms. Bhatt said in response to Mr. Mehta. I was moved more than I was amused by the audience, who cheered with their hearts for the India that chooses love over hatred and exhibits great dignity and decency in the face of suffering and despair. One that can openly cry for itself while also laughing at itself.” There were plenty of opposing voices as well, reflecting the deep schisms in the discourse.

Ms. Ranaut, known for her frequently incendiary remarks and currently facing backlash for her remark that India’s independence was alms, called Mr.Das’ remarks “soft terrorism.”She compared Mr. Das’ comments to Winston Churchill’s infamous remarks after the Bengal famine, saying, “When you generalize all Indian men as gang rapists, it gives rise to and encourages racism and bullying against Indians all over the world.”

Ms. Ranaut posted on her Instagram stories, tagging Mr. Das: “He blamed Indians’ sex drive and fertility for the deaths of millions as a result of hunger… Soft terrorism is such creative work targeting an entire race… strict action must be taken against such criminals.” Mr. Jha, the vice-president of the Delhi BJP, agreed with her and filed a complaint with the New Delhi district police station about the “derogatory” statements. “We have received a complaint in this regard, and it is being investigated,” said Deepak Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), adding that no FIR has yet been filed.

Mr. Dubey, a Mumbai lawyer whose Twitter bio says he is the legal advisor of the BJP-Maharashtra Palghar district, announced on Twitter that he had filed a complaint against the comedian with the Mumbai Police. Mr. Dubey also chastised Mr. Tharoor for his support for Mr. Das, and he shared a tweet from BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who praised Mr. Dubey for taking “constitutional measures to stop hatred against India.”

A section of Twitter posted clips and images from his monologue, with many focusing on what he said about women: “I come from an India where we worship women during the day and gang-rape them at night.”On November 16, he issued a clarification, stating that he intended to serve as a reminder that, despite its problems, the country was “great.”

Don’t be fooled by simple edits. People are cheering for India with hope rather than hatred. People applaud India with admiration, not malice. You can’t sell tickets, get applause, or represent great people if you’re negative. Only pride will do. I am proud of my country, and I carry that pride with me around the world “According to Mr. Das.

According to the 42-year-old, his video is a satire on the duality of two very different Indias that do different things. “Light and darkness, good and evil, exist within every nation.” None of this is a surprise. The video encourages us to never forget how great we are. Never lose sight of what makes us great.”

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