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Have we lost our sense of humour?

Rahul Da CunhaIt’s the ultimate irony. As our country gets more laughable, we’re completely losing our sense of humour. Not a day passes when people in power — politics, religion, sport, you name it — unerringly seem to make an absolute fool of themselves. Either by deed, action or soundbyte. The joke is that they just don’t see it.

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Illustration / Amit Bandre

Our Prime Minister has lamented the lack of lightness and wit during Parliamentary proceedings. With due respect, and genuine curiosity, sir, you are referring to the same parliament in New Delhi, right? Where elected personnel from 542 constituencies throw pepper spray, microphones and punches at each other? Where pornography is watched on smartphones? Where matters are so slapstick, so farcical, that Rajya Sabha MPs have provided massive fodder for rampaging radio jockeys? Hysterically, one Mrs Bachchan is miffed. She demands that the government clamp down on them. How do you see that panning out, madam? That a law is passed which goes something like this - ‘Okay RJs, from now, only music, no mimicry. You dare tease us, we tape your tongues.’?

And if our mantris have lost their sense of humour, our moral police have lost all sense of proportion. Tolerance has been burnt at the expense of liberalism. Acceptance is as mythical as the Loch Ness Monster. (I can’t help feeling that Didi opened this particular Pandora’s Box of intolerance when she arrested a Jadavpur professor for caricaturing her in a cartoon). So there’s Aamir Khan’s butt naked poster for the upcoming movie PK. We have the star standing on a railway track, a two-in-one covering his modesty. It’s a poster, for crying out aloud. Two rabid retrograde regressive groups decide that the artwork hurts Hindu sentiment. A petition is filed at the Supreme Court. “If you don’t like it, don’t see the movie, don’t confuse religion with entertainment,” says the SC. And the petition is thrown out.

Thank you judges for not being judgmental. Bless you for retaining your sense of humour when all around you are losing theirs. And there’s a fresh fiasco in sunny Goa every week. Ostensibly, our most liberal of states. One sanctimonious faction of ministers says women shouldn’t wear bikinis. “It’s against our culture,” they claim. Another faction objects to ladies, clad in saris and salwars, jumping into the sea. Why? They might drown under the weight of these clothes.

Surely you guys have more pressing matters to attend to? The invading Russians? CRZ issues? The crime rise? The decline in tourists? Or maybe the fact that your chief minister calls Africans ‘Negro’, only to explain that the word also refers to an Amazon river? In other breaking news, the BJP boos the Jharkhand CM in Ranchi. The Haryana CM refuses to share the dais with the PM because he was heckled.

Kerala gets prohibition in 10 years because people there drink too much. And that’s just this week.

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com

The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.

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