'Hate won, an artist has lost': Munawar Faruqui says he's 'done' after Bengaluru show cancelled amid threats

The comedian took to Instagram to say that 12 shows have been cancelled in the past year due to threats
Last Updated : 29 November 2021, 05:54 IST
Last Updated : 29 November 2021, 05:54 IST

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Comedian Munawar Faruqui hinted at an exit from standup comedy after his Bengaluru show on Sunday was cancelled due to vandalisation threats from right-wing groups.

A disheartened Faruqui took to Instagram to tell his followers that at least 12 of his shows in the past year have been cancelled due to similar threats.

"Yes, we have denied him permission. He will not perform any public show today," a senior police officer told PTI on condition of anonymity.

"Nafrat jeet gayi, artist haar gaya. (Hate won, an artist has lost), I'm done! Goodbye," Faruqui wrote.

Various right wing organisations including Sriram Sena and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti had lodged a complaint with the Bengaluru city police Commissioner against the comedian charging him of hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus by allegedly insulting Hindu Gods. The inspector of the Ashokanagar police station in the city under whose jurisdiction the Good Shepherd Auditorium falls wrote a letter to the organisers on Saturday to call off the event as the comedian is a controversial figure.

"It is learnt that Munawar Faruqui is a controversial figure..... Many states have banned his comedy shows. It is learnt that a case has been registered against him in the Tukoji police station in Indore of Madhya Pradesh," the inspector said in his letter. He also stated that many organisations are opposing his show, which may cause chaos, disturb peace and harmony and create a law and order problem. "Therefore, it is suggested that you should cancel Faruqui's stand-up comedy show," the letter said.

Other comedians responded to his post with supportive messages. Kaneez Surka commented, "It's not fair." Sahil Bulla wrote, "We are with you. In the end, tu hamesha jeetega (in the end you will always win)."

The comedian was put in jail for a month earlier this year because his show allegedly showed Hindu deities in a bad light. Faruqui added in his post that the show has a censor certificate which states it has nothing problematic. "Putting me in jail for the joke I never did to cancelling my shows which has nothing problematic in it. This is unfair. This show has gained so much love from people in India irrespective of their religion," his post read.

Faruqui found support in Kamra, Grover, Mittal, Ayyub and Bhasker.

Kamra, who like Faruqui has faced both legal cases and social media trolling in the past, wrote a note outlining the challenges faced by comedians as an answer to mediapersons calling him up to express his views on the show being called off.

"With every passing year I feel laughter is costing comedians more & more. It's costing them their spontaneity and it's costing them their impulse. I have even heard some comedians telling jokes to their lawyers & showing their video to a legal team before they release it online," Kamra said.

In his statement, Faruqui too had said he has a "censor certificate of the show".

The impulse of any artist to be so calculative, Kamra said, is the "slow death of the art form". "... if a comedian is calculating what should they present to the audience for the audience to laugh at, the audience will also soon think what should they laugh on."

Grover said comedy, satire and standup have always been dangerous art forms because "dissent is their fundamental principal". "But with a mix of fake news pandemic, crawling-in-the-mud mainstream media, and happy-to-look-away police and judiciary - we are always a day away from an artist being publicly lynched for their thoughts and the lynching celebrated."

Grover said gone are the days of the 'vidushak', a court jester in the royal halls to always tell the truth to the King, adding wise men like Kabir, Tenalirama, Birbal, Harishankar Parsai and Sharad Joshi would have faced the same fate as Faruqui "if they were unfortunate enough to be born today".

"I am sad today that Munawar feels like quitting an art form he loves and is brilliant at - but am sadder that we have let our minds be manipulated enough to stay indifferent in the face of such development (The only vikas that's really visible in the last few years)," the satirist-lyricist said.

"If Bangalore police really can't ensure the safety of 610 people sitting in a room laughing, then how will they ensure the safety of the whole city?" asked Mittal.

Ayyub urged the comic to not lose hope and Bhasker described the turn of events as "heartbreaking and shameful".

The Bengaluru show cancellation is the latest in the series of troubles that Faruqui has faced. His stand-up show in Goa was cancelled following threats from a Hindu rightwing outfit. Before that, his shows were cancelled in Raipur, Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Mumbai.

Most recently Vir Das faced several complaints and online trolling for his Two Indias monologue.

(With PTI inputs)

Published 28 November 2021, 08:07 IST

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