‘Two India's’ monologue of stand-up comedian Vir Das performed at John F. Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C., invited a huge controversy and police complaints across India. That led to a Twitter face-off amongst celebrities and politicians. But students, India’s future also wanted a say and be part of the trail.
FPJ interacted with students across India to know their take on this.
Some students spoke in the favour of Vir Das’ ‘Two Indias,’ citing that he put forward the bitter reality of the country and there was nothing offensive about it.
Shirin Nizar, student of Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi said, “One of the major points that people are talking about is that he should not have talked bad about our country on the stage of another country and people are comparing it as insulting our mother in neighborhood. I don’t think that’s the case here. We live in a globalized world and India is very well connected globally. It’s not that the people in the US won’t know what happens in India.”
He added that Vir Das’s monologue is the ‘truth’ and instead of recognizing or acknowledging the problems, people prefer ignoring them. “I appreciate what Vir Das said because we need to talk about the problems,” he said
A student from Mumbai who wished to stay anonymous said, “I think people are intolerant. I agree with Vir Das that there are two Indias. People think we shouldn’t go to the USA and troll India but when someone does it here; people take the law into their own hands. They can say what they feel like but when someone says things about the ground reality, they take offence.”
Safiya Khan of MGM College of Aurangabad says, “For me, Vir Das’ "Two Indias’" was just one more of his masterpiece being delivered to us. What he did in this composition is that he brought to light the two Indias we live in. We come from a generation where we have these new modern ideas about equal pay, we come from different struggles, we want to fight for different things, but when we are stepping into this world and realizing that our leaders, people who are literally affecting our lives, they actually have 150-year-old ideas, as Vir Das pointed out. They’re talking about something which we don’t relate to. There are Hindus, there are Muslims, there are Sikhs, there are Christians, but we don’t care about that. What we actually care about is raising petrol prices and that is something which is going to anger us. Vir Das expressed and brought to light the Two Indias we, especially as youth, live in.”
“Personally, I don’t think he did anything wrong with expressing these ideas to a room full of Indians, who are living in a different country. Those Indians have all the rights to listen to this about their own country and share the same opinions which Indians living in India would have. There’s a reason why they listen to him carefully and there’s a reason why he deserved a five-minute standing ovation,” Safiya added saying why she stands in support of Vir Das.
Most students spoke in favour of ‘Two Indias’ but some had doubts. Isha Nisar, of Ahmedabad, studying at a top management school said, “I believe in Freedom of Speech and he expressed what he wanted to say which he has a right to. He highlighted particulars of the current times which needed attention and a call to talk more about it. He questioned the contradictions that we live in, while maybe not aware of it or ignoring it unintentionally. However, only common flashy news pieces were covered by him, without much depth.”
Isha further added, “I particularly like to look at multiple sides before forming my opinions or initiating any conversation, which I believe was lacking in the narration. One side of the story was more projected in the piece as compared to the title 'Two Indias.’ While the social aspects were picked up well, he completely missed on economical, educational, legal aspects that are equally important in a society to shape. What I have learned in all these years of my life is that if one has influential powers, it is quite important to know what you are talking about, your own involvement in the topic as well as the further implications, which I believe was missing in this piece.”
Putting his views on ‘Two Indias’ Sopan Muttatkar, a student of IIM Bodhgaya said, “I supported him for the most part but didn't like the part where he said that in India we worship women in the day and rape them at night. Generalizing a thing such a thing isn't right in my opinion as not all men are rapists and such statements portray India in a bad light and actually tarnish the image of those who are living abroad and earning their bread and butter through rightful means.”
Some students stood totally against Vir Das and the monologue. According to Adinath Prayag of IIFT Kolkata, “I don’t support shaming of one’s country on someone else’s ground. Generalizing facts and speaking such things isn’t what is expected from an influencer. No one asks you to paint all happy pictures of your country but when you’re criticizing, have some sense and understand the time and place you’re in.”
Apart from the ‘Two Indias’ monologue, Suraj Nirmale, a student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, pointed out to some past remarks made by the stand-up comedian about a former chief minister of UP. “Where is this hatred emanating from? That which should be considered obscene at its purest and people are enjoying it,” he said.
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