Hurting religious sentiments a part of stand-up comedy?
Munawar Faruqui is allegedly a comedian. Or so, he claims! A comedian who was so disgusted with how people reacted to his comedy, that he decided to retire at an early age. His retirement letter to his “fans” comprised two words: Hate Won.
Let’s try to figure why a “comedian” would make this statement. Especially a comedian who “jokes” about Indian gods and goddesses! This holds a lot more weight now since a Sri Lankan was burned alive (fortunately he died) in the city of Sialkot. For apparently ripping a poster that contained some words from the Koran. in Urdu! A language the victim couldn’t read!!! All because he ripped a poster!
Can we ask Munawar Faruqui to make a joke about his prophet, Mohammed? I can safely say this “comedian”, Faruqui, wouldn’t be alive! Why is it that comedians, Vir Das or Faruqui to name just a couple, find humor in Hindu mythology? Is it Hinduism’s responsibility to ensure that “Hate Doesn’t Win” or that comedians get material for their jokes? Comedy is supposed to make everyone laugh, regardless of caste, creed, or religion! Granted some jokes are not understood by all, but it doesn’t mean one can make jokes about someone else’s faith!! We would have a riot in all cities in India, were someone to joke about Mohammed!! Why? Mr. Faruqui, could we agree that the rioting, mentioned above, also is a victory of Hate? No? All because he’s your prophet? Exactly what every Hindu feels about their gods and goddesses. Those Hindus that were in the audience, claiming they were enjoying the jokes, need to understand the difference between hate and comedy.
The Late Don Imus, who I had the pleasure of interacting with a few times, was a powerful and famous voice on the radio, here in the USA. I began listening to this irreverent radio show host, while in Cleveland Ohio. A friend of mine told me to listen to this funny guy who claimed to be “the chief of hate radio”. She claimed, Don would keep me in fits of laughter. And she was right! At his peak, Don had nearly as many listeners as Howard Stern. He was so popular that it was thought to be a feather in one’s hat to be mentioned or dissed in Don’s show, let alone be invited. With this kind of following, Don made millions laugh.
And then it happened. In April 2007, in what can only be termed as a serious lack of judgment and common sense, not to forget an extreme measure of misogyny, Imus called the women’s basketball players from a local university something that he shouldn’t have! I’d go so far as to say NO ONE SHOULD SAY WHAT HE DID!! Don’s 45 years, or more, in broadcasting had inadvertently come to an end! He could have then said what Faruqui did, Hate won. The truth is, there are certain lines, even though in the sand, that one is not expected to cross. Whether that person is as famous as Don or not as famous as Faruqui. Imus took full responsibility for his downfall, never complaining that Hate Won!! Learn, Faruqui, learn!!
Don’s career plummeted from the skies to earth, never to rise again. At least to the levels he had reached. Yes, he did have talk shows till the day he died, but it was never the same again. The one thing that became clear was that NO ONE is too big that he or she can get away with saying anything, even if it were initially intended as humor. Especially humor! Having hosted radio shows myself, at a local level, the one thing I quickly realized is self-deprecating humor sells far better than denigrating another person, sect, or community. While I can safely say that no one has had a problem with me denigrating myself, people will not be as forgiving as stand-up comedians or radio shock-jocks that put other people or communities down.
Faruqui should have learned his lesson the first time he was pulled up by the police. He didn’t learn his lesson and moved to other cities with a similar brand of humor. He faced similar situations in other cities as well. Someone said, “the mark of insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly expecting different results”. It’s difficult to fathom whether Faruqui is insane or just plain stupid to think he could pass through with this brand of comedy. In a way, it’s good that he “retired”. He could be doing something more constructive with his life. Like butchery!!!
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 ‘Hate won’: Indian Muslim comic says he’s ‘done’ after shows axed – Nov 29, 2021, Aljazeera
 India: Muslim comedian detained over anti-Hindu jokes he might crack – Jan 20, 2021, DW
 Sri Lankan killed in horrific mob lynching in Sialkot had ‘apologized for misunderstanding’ – Dec 05, 2021, PGurus Newsdesk
 Imus, who used slurs about Rutgers team, ends show – Jan 22, 2018, USA Today
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