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A Dialogue About The Ethical Dimensions Of The Tanmay Bhat Controversy

31/05/2016 2:21 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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I thought the video was terribly juvenile. What are my options?

Your options? Are you Lata Mangeshkar? Or Sachin Tendulkar? Or Vinod Kambli? Or Virat Kohli?

No, I'm not one of those four. I'm just a decent Indian and it pains me that national icons (not including Virat Kohli yet, and definitely not including Vinod Kambli ever) are being mocked and ridiculed in a public platform like this. So, now, what are my options?

You are totally entitled to thinking the video was terrible.

But I want to do something about it. I don't want to keep it locked within myself.

As a proud Indian, I'm deeply upset about the mockery he has subjected them to. Are they affected by this mockery? Do people think less of them...?

You may write about it online. You may tweet about it. Or update Facebook.

Look, I'm not good with words. Or, I may not be good enough to warrant attention if I write my views online. What else can I do?

You could think of making a Snapchat video where you Faceswap Tanmay and mock him.

I'm not on Snapchat. What else?

You can tell... that is, talk to others around you about how bad the video was.

Good idea. But I don't think that would give me a sense of closure in this controversy. I really want to do something about it.

Why?

Why? Well, it's simple. Lata didi is India's national icon. Sachin has played for India so long, so well. You can't go free after mocking people like them.

Define "go free."

Aw, c'mon. I mean, Tanmay should suffer for mocking these icons.

Define "suffer."

Hmmm... suffer, as in humiliation. Shame. He should repent what he did.

Have you seen social media and TV (particularly the vanguard of Indian news journalism, NewsX) recently? There is a lot of shame and humiliation heaped on Tanmay by them, it would seem.

But they are just discussing the topic. Tanmay hasn't apologized for what he did!

What exactly should he apologize for?

Are you being daft? He insulted two of our national icons! He must apologize to the nation, and them, for this.

Let's hold on to the apology for a bit. Which other national icons are beyond parody and "insult?"

All Bharat Ratnas, to start with. All the people who have worked for the country's freedom. People have given their lives for the country. Isn't that obvious?

Would you include Mahatma Gandhi in that list?

Of course.

You do know there are a lot of people who don't like Gandhi in India, right?

Possibly. But they are not going around insulting him, are they?

Do you think celebrating Gandhi's killer's death day isn't insult enough?

Not really. They are free to celebrate anybody's death day, whether he killed Gandhi or not.

Fair enough. So why is Tanmay not free enough to mock anybody he wants?

Because he's mocking living legends.

Can he mock them after their death? This subject did come up in that Snapchat video, incidentally.

No way. That would be even more morbid! He... nobody should be mocking our national icons!

Tanmay misrepresented them using Faceswap. But, it was not them. It was a parody. Yes, it was a disgusting and cheap parody. So, it was not them. Are we clear on that?

Are they, that is, Sachin and Lata, complaining about the mockery?

No, I hope they don't either. It's too low for them to even comment on.

So who are you to want Tanmay to repent?

I'm an Indian. I'm their fan. As a proud Indian, I'm deeply upset about the mockery he has subjected them to.

Are they affected by this mockery? Do people think less of them after this video?

No way. They are far above all this nonsense. People may only think more highly of them since they have maintained a dignified silence on all this.

So why do you, of all people, want Tanmay to repent?

Because it is wrong. There should be no disrespect to national icons like these.

But you just said that they are not bothered at all by this. And people won't think less of them either.

But imagine the mental trauma they'd be going through because of all this! Lata didi is age-challenged. This is not fair to her. And Sachin's kids would be going through hell in school because of this!

But they were not part of the video. It was a Snapchat Faceswap.

Yes, but Tanmay misrepresented them using Faceswap.

But, it was not them. It was a parody.

Yes, it was a disgusting and cheap parody.

So, it was not them. Are we clear on that?

Yes, yes. Not them. But people will talk about it when they see them on stage or the road, right?

You mean people will talk about Tanmay making a parody of them?

Yes, of course.

So how does it affect them?

It would not. But people are talking about it in their midst, and even when they are around.

I sure would like to threaten Tanmay that he will go to hell for this. That's an existential and figurative threat. Go ahead.

Don't people comment on Lata's singing (in a not-so-generous tone) already? And people do talk about Sachin too in that sense, right?

Yes, but that's their own making! They are public personalities. People always talk about them.

So, if people have always talked about Lata or Sachin, and this includes not-so-positive mentions too, why would a parody be treated differently?

Because Tanmay put words in their mouth, through the Faceswap!

But it's not them! It's clearly Tanmay and thanks to NewsX, we all know that now, right?

But the disrepute goes to Lata and Sachin, no?

How? They did not utter a word in that video. They did not utter a word after the controversy erupted. Why would they suffer disrepute because of what Tanmay did?

Tanmay made fun of them. That plants seeds of disrepute in people's mind.

About whom? Tanmay? Or Sachin and Lata?

Tanmay. And I see where you are going with this. So you are saying Lata and Sachin are not affected at all by this mockery?

Possibly. But, if they are, they should speak up and take appropriate action.

See, that's what MNS is doing, on their behalf. Taking legal action!

MNS people have also said that they will beat up Tanmay.

That is not right. I vehemently condemn that.

How? With your words?

That's what I can do, right? I cannot fight MNS goons on the road!

Of course, you cannot. In the same vein, why not use your words to condemn Tanmay's video?

I told you earlier. I'm not good with words. That's not my strength.

Then, move on. Let others who are better with words take up your cause against Tanmay.

But I'm personally outraged!! I have to show my outrage!

Sure. But if you are not good with words, what else can you do?

I can downvote products or apps associated with Tanmay and AIB!

Sure. Go ahead. That's totally legitimate!

I can make insulting comments on AIB videos. Tweet insults to them!

Sure. Go right ahead. No threats please, though.

Great. I sure would like to threaten Tanmay that he will go to hell for this.

That's an existential and figurative threat. Go ahead.

Will he apologize if we all do that?

I don't know. That's his prerogative. You go ahead and try your luck.

I feel better already!

Glad to have helped your thought process.

This post first appeared here.

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