I wrote a piece for Youth Ki Awaaz on how people take offence on jokes about religion and god. Consequently, people on Facebook were enraged. They started making rhetoric arguments like why I didn’t express outrage on issues like Charlie Hebdo’s death. These people alleged that a meme on Ganesha (used only to support my arguments) shows that the post was intended to insult Hindus.
The idea of writing the post was to move away from the angry rhetoric argument ‘why you didn’t write or talk about wrong things in other religion?’ By making such statements, you are refusing to accept wrongdoings in your religion. It depicts how people have become intolerant about jokes against any religion.
When we go through posts or Twitter threads on social media, we will often come across those crooks who will take offence in every post, meme or video saying that it’s offensive or sometimes taking offence in the name of someone else or a religious group.
Earlier this year, actress Swara Bhaskar had tweeted out an endorsement post for Amazon India. Some people ganged up to turn it into a massive outrage. They pressurised Amazon to remove Swara as a brand ambassador, threatening to boycott Amazon.
The people had issued the same rhetoric argument to justify calling her a hypocrite for not outraging rape committed by people in other religion. In a way communalising the crime.
Every time someone is offended by something I share the clip from ‘I am Offended‘ by Jaideep Varma. The documentary brings forth the plight of those who spend their lives walking the tightrope of making people laugh, knowing very well that the same laughing crowd might topple them. The documentary begins with the lines, “We don’t have it. We just don’t have it – a sense of humour.”
The video starts with a stand-up comedian joking about Jats. The Sikhs in the crowd were enjoying the jokes but objected when the comedian asked them about the tattoo Kalsa. They responded by saying that ‘Please don’t make a joke on it, it’s our religion.’ These people below are of the same kind, who enjoy jokes on other religion but can’t take on theirs.
In countries like US and UK, comedians don’t get arrested for making a joke against the Church or anything close to ‘hurting religious sentiments’. We are better that way, right?
I have to tell the people who don’t want anyone to make jokes on religion, is your faith in your Gods so fragile that a pun on the internet hurts it? God is a stand-up comic himself; his favourite joke is people who take offence on his behalf, without consulting with him first.
If you are confident and resilient about your Gods, a joke shouldn’t have the power to shake them up. By rushing to their defence, you expose the vulnerabilities and insecurities.
If you don’t agree, you can continue making the rhetoric argument.