Is comedian Hasan Minhaj a threat to India? Did he show the country in poor light?

Hasan Minhaj of Comedy Central performs at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington.
Hasan Minhaj of Comedy Central performs at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington. Reuters

Hasan Minhaj has been discussed a lot in the past few weeks. Arnab Goswami didn't pick him up for debate, maybe there wasn't enough juice to the story. But that didn't stop armchair activists from picking him up, after all, Netflix and YouTube now determine our topic for the day.

Coming back to the point - Hasan Minhaj's episode on Indian politics. The episode that tried to discuss at length the current situation of politics in India and how critics of the Narendra Modi government have been dealt with. It also attempted to decipher the recent Pulwama attack and what exactly happened that triggered a panic that a nuclear war will happen. Though the show is not short of its exaggeration and let's admit it, it is a comedy show and what is comedy without exaggeration?

Hasan's simplification of India's response to the Pulwama terror attack that was was an epic fail because the victims were trees instead of terrorists, are clearly based on reports that the Indian airforce attacked an empty zone. And also when Hasan periodically changes the character and portrays himself as Pakistani spy sometimes and an Arabian spy (this one sounds like a food item, wrapped in pita bread, walloped with hummus) are just because they are the tools of an act.

Now, what was the outburst?

A comedian from Bangalore had put up a status update - that went – "I work so hard to improve the image of Indian Muslims... and people like Hasan Minhaj come sh** all over it." Yes, he's a Muslim and yes even he tries to make people laugh. Another podcast – type show on YouTube has tried to classify the show as a lazy take on the Indian elections of 2019 because there was no research work and that the writers of the show did not bother to get their facts checked.

So, what were those misrepresented facts?

The media hullabaloo and their debates

In the show, there was a segment that played out a small snippet of a debate that regularly blares on our television at nine o'clock, which is the prime time, discussing the Pulwama attack. And since this is India, let's agree, most of our politician lose it midway and starts accusing the opposition. And as Hasan puts it, "This right here is every Desi living room talking about politics." What is interesting to note, the live audience was already laughing when the snippet was playing, Hasan just comes in and capitalises on the momentum of the snippet which itself is funny.

The two-party system', parliamentary system and coalitions

India is considered to be the biggest democracy and as Hasan has pointed out to form a government in the most diverse and largest democracy is not a small task for any political party. To form a majority, most parties form coalitions and the election battle usually happens between two coalition parties. BJP was the first singular party to have won the 2014 elections with a majority. And as far as the parliamentary system goes - we all know how complicated it gets to pass a bill in the house which requires two-thirds of the majority voting from each house along with a majority vote from both the houses.

To come to the conclusion, government task is complicated and leaves scope for many corrupt practices to happen in daylight.

India first and the promises that were never kept

When PM Modi was campaigning during 2014, elections he had promised the nation that he would be keeping his own country first and that the only objective is development at the cost of prices of commodities will decrease. But, have we reached anywhere close to that?

Unemployment has been the highest in the past few days and petrol prices have skyrocketed. Has the scene been better with each passing days? Critics of the government are being categorised as anti-nationalist, thereby, making the situations seem like an autocratic rule. Has our government gone Fascist? Not totally but, we surely have displayed certain symptoms of it.

Not to forget that BJP refused to sit with Hasan

And last but not the least, a lot of people have criticised Hasan for interviewing Shashi Tharoor, who is a politician from Indian National Congress and not interviewing anyone from BJP. But the truth is, no BJP candidate agreed to get interviewed by the comedian and even Hasan revealed that in the show.

Did Hasan show India in poor lights?

As far as the country is concerned, it is not going through a good phase either. Prices have increased and terror attacks have happened quite a lot in the past. We, as a nation, are still struggling to solve the Kashmir situation and if the rumours are true – then a political party just pulled the biggest election gimmick by creating a war-like situation that struck terror in the hearts of the people that a nuclear attack will be taking place. The country itself is not in a good situation.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Reuters
Related topics : Netflix