Kiku’s arrest: City folks say society should have space for humour | punjab$htcity | Hindustan Times
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Kiku’s arrest: City folks say society should have space for humour

The comedian, jester or fool has always had the right to laugh, mimic and poke fun. The Shakespearean fool had the licence to say just about anything. But with intolerance being the fad these days Kiku Sharda is arrested twice for mimicry which is his professional right. But in surcharged times such as this when all seem to be doing a tight-rope walk with fragile egos, it seems the government should start issuing licences to comedians.” So says Rana Nayar, professor of English in Panjab University, in response comedian Kiku Sharda’s double arrest for mimicking Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

punjab Updated: Jan 16, 2016 17:49 IST
Nirupama Dutt
File Photo of comedian Kiku Sharda
File Photo of comedian Kiku Sharda(YOGEN SHAH, FREELANCE /HT CAFE)

The comedian, jester or fool has always had the right to laugh, mimic and poke fun. The Shakespearean fool had the licence to say just about anything. But with intolerance being the fad these days Kiku Sharda is arrested twice for mimicry which is his professional right. But in surcharged times such as this when all seem to be doing a tight-rope walk with fragile egos, it seems the government should start issuing licences to comedians.” So says Rana Nayar, professor of English in Panjab University, in response comedian Kiku Sharda’s double arrest for mimicking Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

City folks feel that a society that cannot laugh at itself is ailing and needs to put its act together and regain its lost sense of humour. Ravinder Happy, a theatre actor and television producer, says, “We have always had a long tradition of the jester. Birbal could jest about the great Mughal emperor Akbar and the latter not just took it in his stride but relished it. Indian theatre has a long tradition of the ‘vidushak’ or clown who can make fun of just about anyone. The Kiku arrest was unnecessary but I feel comedians in general need to keep comedy in good taste.”

Arvinder Kaur, a poet and translator, says, “In the northern part of India mirasis had the right to mimic the feudal lords and kings who sustained them. In fact there are so many mirasi jokes about Maharaja Ranjit Singh. We should never lose the capacity to laugh. The arrests of Kiku have inspired only more jokes but it must have been a painful experience for him to be rounded up thus. There should be a check that such arrests are not made again.”

Writer and commentator Bardeep Bhattal says, “By the same logic these socalled ‘godmen’ should be put behind bars immediately as they are doing nothing but mimicking God. In fact Gurmeet Ram Rahim himself has set the ball rolling by dressing up like Guru Gobind Singh. I wonder what has happened to our sense of humour?”

Poet Atul Arora cautions, “If this keeps happening, people will forget to laugh.” He then adds a rhyme: ‘Ram ya Rahiim ... jaan le gaye haqeem.’

Meanwhile, jokes and cartoons about the arrest are all over social media and here is a sampler: “Kiku was arrested for mimicking Ram Raheem but if you stay silent for long you may be arrested for mimicking former PM Manmohan Singh!” So let the Shakespearean fool live long.