When an established comedian like Vir Das speaks so bravely about all the wrongdoings going on in his country, while standing in a foreign country—FIRs (first information report) are filed against him. People called him anti-national. But, after a few days, no one remembers it.
Other sets of comedians including Kunal Kamra, who speak against the barbarity of the system, are constantly abused on social media. Some agree with Kamra’s opinions, while others don’t.
Even established writers like Varun Grover write and speak against the system; and they are doing pretty well in their professional lives. People (read: haters) move on and forget everything.
Now, there comes a newbie standup comedian called Munawar Faruqui. When you are just starting out, you have little idea which action (or word) of yours could spark a controversy.
In a YouTube video from April 2020, Faruqui was seen taking a dig at a popular song “Mera Piya Ghar Aya O Ramji“.
In my opinion, he treated the joke immaturely. He later apologised and removed the video. In January 2021, during one of his shows in Indore, a group of men stopped his show midway on the pretext of how him hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.
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Faruqui accepted his mistake and apologised again. He also told them he already took the video down and doesn’t crack that joke anymore. One of the audience members shouted: “Hindus and Muslims are brothers.”
A few minutes later, Faruqui was arrested for a joke he didn’t crack. He remained in jail for 37 days.
Now, after a year of this incident, his shows continue to get cancelled. He wrote on Instagram that 12 of his shows got cancelled in the last two months.
This prompted him to announce the heartbreaking decision of quitting the standup comedy scene and letting the hooligans win.
In my opinion, Munawar Faruqui, is a rather heavy Muslim name to be digested by the right-wing. A lot of people are out there in Faruqui’s support, but no one seems to understand that before an artist, he has this heavy Muslim name attached to him.
It is the root cause of why no one forgets him. When Shakespeare said “What’s in a name?”, he clearly had no idea what Islamophobia is.