This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Lipi Mehta. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

‘Kill Muslims’ Is OK To Say But Make No Fun Of Tendulkar. Excuse Me?

More from Lipi Mehta

By Lipi Mehta:

I have been following Tanmay Bhat on Snapchat for a while and honestly, I look forward to his Snap Stories, however ridiculous they might be. I loved that he explained why feminism isn’t a bad word in a recent Story, despite being aware of the hate he’d get from his followers (An FB comment on his video reads, “In the country of bitches and feminist, men are slaves”). I liked how he followed up on this, answered some questions and explained misandry in his next video. But here’s something I never expected – that a Tanmay Bhat Snap Story would be national news.

Titled ‘Sachin Vs Lata Civil War’, Bhat’s story uses the ‘face swap’ feature on Snapchat to create an imaginary dialogue between Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar (both played by Bhat) and is basically a 2-minute video of ridiculous nothingness. I say this because it really is that – it’s a made-up dialogue between two people you wouldn’t imagine talking this way in real life. Some found it funny, some found it distasteful, but some really, really took offence and thought it was a national threat – a threat to the legacy of Tendulkar and Mangeshkar, a threat to Marathi culture, a threat to the collective nationalist sentiment of the country.

And so, the usual jing-bang followed: Twitter was ablaze with equal parts anger and humour, newspapers and news channels took a piece out of the cake and in what seems like a first in recent times, Arnab Goswami actually had a TEN-member panel debating on whether “Tanmay Bhat has gone too far”. No seriously, take a minute to soak in this visual travesty:

newshour screenshot

However, I think the real question should be: Have we gone too far? Tanmay made a stupid video but the responses to it are really something we shouldn’t take pride in.

1. Our political leaders think the solution is violence

MNS chief Raj Thackeray has actually filed an FIR against Bhat and party leader Ameya Kopekar said, “Forgiveness won’t do, these people should be caught on the road and beaten up. We will protest and he won’t be able to come out on the road. We won’t let his shows happen anymore.” Yep, because that’s what we do best. Step 1: Threat | Step 2: Violence | Step 3: Curb freedom of speech | Step 4: ‘Protect’ the nation like a boss. And if you’re wondering how ‘insulting’ someone is freedom of speech, just to remind you: a ton of hate speech exists online and nobody seems to be wondering how that’s even a thing.

Is it just me or is anyone else thinking about the ‘glorious’ days of Section 66A when two girls were arrested for a Facebook post on Bal Thackeray? It was a victory for free speech that Section 66A was scrapped but I guess Tanmay’s right to use the internet and its services freely warrant an arrest in this case.

2. The media needs to really learn these two things: What’s relevant and how to fact check

As a reaction to his video going viral, Bhat tweeted: “Please pay me @Snapchat. It was obviously a joke, and a reaction to the social media platform being in the mainstream limelight in India probably for the first time.” NewsX and Aaj Tak were outraged however: How could Bhat demand money for such an insulting video?

Scroll screenshot

 

 

 

 

 

Are you kidding me?! They evidently need to lighten up, and if not that, then fact check at least. Also, this is literally the repercussion that teens using Snapchat will have to bear, now that the mainstream media has ‘called him out’:

But not to be left far behind was Bangalore Mirror, that actually ran a story about Rega Jha (Editor of Buzzfeed India) supporting Tanmay Bhat. It’s fascinating how in 100 words or so, you can produce a cringeworthy news story, but Mirror performed really well on that front. They said Jha “happens to be” politician Sanjay Jha’s daughter (she isn’t) and added that she supports Bhat but is no “background prop either” as she heads one of India’s largest websites. When the news is about Bhat, how does it even make sense to run a news story on Jha? What is the connection? And of course, a woman who “isn’t just a background prop” and “happens to be” a politician’s daughter?! Wow, that’s amazing! Just two things to keep in mind, Mirror: Fact check and relevance.

3. Why don’t we ever give a reality check to ourselves?

Actor Riteish Deshmukh tweeted and said being ‘disrespectful is not cool and neither it is funny’. Yes, I agree, it isn’t. But it’s also not funny to mock and disrespect transgender people or those who cross-dress like Deshmukh did in ‘Humshakals’ (despite how Bollywood already has a history of horrific trans representation). Journalist Bhupendra Chaubey took on Bhat in his news show and said, “It’s time that our 2.0 type comedy kings spend some time honing their craft.” Chaubey ji, what about honing your craft? Need we remind you of your disastrously sexist interview with Sunny Leone?

And for those of you who’ve felt outraged, offended or insulted by Bhat’s video, fat shaming and rape jokes are really not the way forward. Neither is saying that his brain is the “cunt of a slut” or that he is a “fat bastard”.

4. We clearly don’t outrage about what matters.

Is this really that big a deal that the Mumbai Police’s cyber cell has approached Google, Facebook and YouTube to take down the ‘controversial video’? Clearly, the cyber cell has better things to do (or so we’d hope!). And what is with us being so outraged when two of our ‘cultural icons’ are ‘insulted’ but we don’t see such outrage when Yogi Adityanath says *really* scary shit like how Muslims’ voting rights should be snatched, and how (kid you not) dead Muslim women should be raped? What about when Babu Bajrangi said he felt like “Maharana Pratap after killing Muslims” and boasted about killing pregnant women? Was the cyber cell called to take these videos down?

And why didn’t we outrage when Kapil Sharma physically harassed his on-screen wife (or some or the other character on his show) almost every night in the garb of comedy? Nope, that’s family entertainment for us, isn’t it? Why is our concern about the drought in Maharashtra seen only when a ridiculous hashtag like #SnapchatOrDrought trends?

Well, while many of us get easily offended by something that’s ‘insulting’ or makes us uncomfortable, let’s please focus on what really matters, and not forget that such a response speaks of us poorly as a society. Amidst all this outrage, I personally like how Bhat hasn’t bowed down, though he did take the best protective measure of today’s time. He tweeted: ‘bharat mata ki jai‘.

You must be to comment.
  1. bluesky

    Freedom of speech is for a select group in India. There is no right to free speech,
    If you are the right demographic then it’s your right to be offended and beat the shit out of anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

  2. Anil

    Arre didi, kyun hasati ho itna. We do not create outrage on these cases because hardly anyone has ever heard of these 2 bit scumbag yogis(Adityanath and Babu Bajrangi). Sachin and Lata are national icons revered and respected throughout the length and breadth of India, for their immense talent and contribution to their country. You are seriously defending(in a subtle way, not directly) the guy’s actions. Please, the internet and its services are not free to be used by anyone as per their wish if it means degrading and insulting absolutely anyone, let alone deserving national icons. I am sure you would feel the same. Seriously, your arguments feel like you are just grasping at straws, while extreme actions should not be taken, I feel that the outrage is absolutely justified, and should give a message to those who think they can ridicule whoever they want on the internet, without thought for the other person’s feelings.

  3. bharti

    OMG ! This article – not as a reaction but respond – is so much balanced and matured ! Congratulations.

  4. CV

    Lipi,

    Well written article (Your name is Lipi so it’s obvious) quite a balanced and detailed oriented article.
    I agree with every point you have mentioned and there is no objection to it.
    If it is insulting to someone then they should come up and outrage about it. They are icons so they don’t believe in giving any hype to these kind of videos.
    But, media and politician need a way to make an issue out of it and desperately looking to surpress the voice of the youth.

    If, as an Indian, we can’t respect any religion or people then Lata and Sachin are no different.

    We kill on the name of religion differences and insults then this is too small video in front of it.

  5. Pratyush

    So you think rediculing a religion is worst than rediculing an individual? I think it is otherwise, rediculing a religion is good but not individual. So slut shaming and fat shaming are bad but age shaming not? Obesity is avoidable not growing up… Physical of course.
    Although I agree it was more of a page3 outrage than a national one, not that serious and should have not occupied that stage.
    So please, A fat guy makes a joke on old guy, the old guy makes a joke on fat guy… This makes both of them ‘bad taste jokers’ and does not justify each other’s joke. But yes legally they both have privilege to do so.

  6. Gaurav

    I think Everyone has different perspectives nd different thinking about any incident
    But I just wanna say that if that video really feels offensive to Sachin sir and lata mam… dont u think they comes out the first to give any kind of reaction and file complaint against it .. They have rights right…But no… except them everybody is fighting for them over internet..

  7. Gaurav

    I think Everyone has different perspectives nd different thinking about any incident But I just wanna say that if that video really feels offensive to Sachin sir and lata mam… dont u think they comes out the first to give any kind of reaction and file complaint against it .. They have rights right…But no… Instead of them everybody is fighting for them over internet..

  8. Hakim

    @Anil’s Comment is just crap… you ruined my day. May God help you.

  9. Mohamed

    Excellent opinion.. Well balanced
    Unfortunately its the powerful ones in our country who want to decide what the rest of the
    country may deem important. Its the powerful ones who decide who gets justice and who doesn’t.
    Moreover Instead of focusing on the REAL issues, what takes precedence
    nowadays is what one must eat and not eat and what slogans to utter to re-affirm our patriotism.
    Media is sucking up to sensationalism (Just look at Arnab wasting time with ten people on a worthless issue)
    Its a pathetic crisis our country is going through.

  10. Anil

    @Hakim,
    Care to elaborate kind sir? I know people like us should, according to you not even have an opinion, freedom of speech exists only for you. BTW, sorry that I ruined your day by telling the truth opposing your biased views.

  11. oyindrila basu

    Dear Lipi,

    Your opinion on the issue is quite dubious- something like,
    “If it has not been possible to arrest and punish the murderer, let the thief/rapist escape, there is no point punishing them,” isn’t it?
    Ridicule of individual or group is equally harmful to the society; anti-national, or anti-regional or anti-secular comments are never supported and everyone around does bother about them too.
    secondly, pretending as a transgender (as you have referred for Riteish) or as homosexuals (as we have seen in films like Dostana and Kal Ho Na Ho)doesn’t really ridicule them, I think the affected result has been more of awareness about them and their acceptance in society’ or else you would not have developed this sensibility towards what you fancifully call ‘transgender’ today. (Where were you during their centuries of struggle and troddenness?) I do not support your statement that Indian films have always ridiculed transgenders (because thats not true), because that will mean Mahesh Dattani in writing plays on them, is actually ridiculing them (according to you). And AIB did the same too by calling Ranveer and Arjun ‘girls’ in one of their roasts…Hence an additional charge 🙂
    coming to Tanmay Bhatt. He has always been a creep. Comedy doesn’t mean disrespecting other’s work and efforts, but this guy always does so. On a grand event (possibly one of the AIB Knockout show) the way these guys were disrespecting the many renowned actors, it seemed as if whatever the best directors, writers and actors did were bad, and what these cheap comedians are doing is the best…
    Karan Johar’s work as a filmmaker has been ridiculed, Arjun Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, great singers everyone were badly ridiculed and I really didn’t find it funny.
    They were not protested against, so this Tanmay bhatt felt he can do anything, and ridicule anyone which is a bad act… So the reaction he is getting is just fine… enough of cheap and sexist jokes with slangs! no more of such cheap humour named as comedy.

  12. Zaf

    Very well written article. Thanks for hitting on the right nails. hypocrisy is on high, remembering Foucault’s ideas on power, Gramsci’s Hegemony and many more. we are fooling ourselves by ignoring the selective outrages. its we “the people” of India who make Rapists, goons, hate-politicians, religious fakes as our leaders. and for us hypocrisy is right i think. the same mentality made a violent Hate politician as great leader and people like Datta samant and Krishna desai as corrupts.

More from Lipi Mehta

Similar Posts

By Kriti Gupta

By YUMNA MOBIN

By Sushruta

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below