Author-columnist and acerbic social commentator Shobhaa De raised a storm about a ‘satirical’ tweet calling for Mumbai to be accorded statehood after the Telengana issue. She had tweeted, “Maharashtra and Mumbai??? Why not? Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity, anyway. This game has countless possibilities.”
Even though De later said it was satirical and not to be taken seriously, politicians -- many of whom know that what De says makes news and so want to grab a share of the spotlight -- criticising and berating her.
First up, political parties must be made to take a crash course in what is satire. If they are social site savvy, looking up tweets to comment on them, surely they can indulge in a bit of Google search to look up the meaning of satire. When we looked it up, we came across this definition: ‘The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticise people’s stupidity or vices’.
Most of the criticism and reactions border on the very personal, which is often the case when a woman makes a contentious point on social media. Instead of refuting the tweet per se, the tweeter is attacked. Shiv Sena said that De was talking as if she was drunk after a Page 3 party, alluding of course, to De’s status as Mumbai’s social raconteur and Page 3 regular.
Raj Thackeray is reported to have said that separating Mumbai from Maharashtra would not be as easy as getting a divorce. This of course, because De is a divorcee. Congress MP Nitesh Rane tweeted, “Rather than twitter, Shoba De shud say the same thing on the streets of Mumbai openly after which she won’t be left with any ‘shoba’ forever (sic).”
You are using satire when say exactly the opposite of what you mean, so political parties need to check their reactions, hilarious though some of them are. Moreover, one wonders if a man would have had his marital status alluded to, or told he will not be left with any ‘shoba,’ had he made such a remark.