Free speech under attack? Gujarat varsity cancels comedian’s show for being ‘anti-national’
New Delhi, July 23: While in America comedians have taken the lead to criticise the Donald Trump administration, back in India, most comics are staying away from making fun of politicians and politically sensitive matters.
Nonetheless, there are a few stand-up comics in the country who are fearlessly questioning the ruling regime and other political parties for the mess they have made out of the country.
One of them is young and popular comedian Kunal Kamra, who has been facing the ire of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government supporters online for his sharp criticism on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right-wing groups and cow vigilantes, to name a few topics that he often make fun of.
From calling him a stooge of the Congress to an "anti-national", Kunal has been regularly facing the backlash of right-wing groups and BJP supporters.
Now, according to reports, MS University of Vadodara in Gujarat has cancelled Kunal's show scheduled on August 11 at CC Mehta auditorium in the varsity.
Various media reports suggest that the varsity decided to cancel the comedian's show after it received a letter from 11 former students calling his content "anti-national".
"What message do we want to convey by organising such anti-national flagbearer youth comedian's comedy show in Gujarat's most prestigious university campus?" wrote the former students to the varsity, as per a report by The Indian Express.
"I am not writing the name of the comedian as he doesn't even deserve the popularity by our mention in this mail. He has mimicked on National Anthem, he has openly supported Tukde-Tukde Gang, he is opposed by all the nation-loving universities in the nation, then why are we allowing him to enter our sacred alma mater??? We seriously suspect some ideological conspiracy to pollute the minds of Barodian youth ahead of 2019," added the letter.
Reacting to the cancellation of the show, Kunal wrote on Twitter, "Ever been so cool that you find out from the news that you're not going to be working on a particular day? Celebrating my day off in the future on my day off today."
Ever been so cool that you find out from the news that you're not going to be working on a particular day? Celebrating my day off in the future on my day off today... 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/HOmgKHcM4b— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) July 22, 2018
However, the authorities in the varsity claimed that they have informed Kunal that his show has been cancelled. However, the tweet by the comedian makes it clear that he came to know about his own show's cancellation from media reports.
It is not the first time that comedians have faced such backlash.
Last year, young and promising stand-up comedian, Shyam Rangeela, popular for impersonating netas (politicians) on social media, accused that entertainment TV channel, Star Plus, in one its comedy shows, judged by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, gagged his jokes on PM Modi and Congress president Rahul.
Last year, the Mumbai police filed a First Information Report against the comedy group All India Bakchod (AIB) for tweeting a photo of the doppelganger of Modi along with the picture of the minister with the Snapchat dog filter.
You can watch one of the episodes of Kunal's hugely popular show, Shut Up Ya Kunal, below: