Via Scroll.in: A comedy performance by Abish Mathew at the National Law University in Delhi [for their fest, Kairos] on Sunday took a funny turn. Fifteen minutes into the act, a group of female protesters showed him the finger and walked out of the audience. Soon after, they returned with more people and a placard reading, “Get Out Sexist Pig”, ostensibly to protest against the sexist jokes that Mathew had cracked.
Nikita Agarwal’s Facebook post: The students protested against the various sexist, racist and casteist jokes made by Abish Mathew ranging from a mallu man’s ability to use 5 minutes in a manner where he can get drunk, beat his wife, kill and bury her and still have time to chill out to jokes on punjabi women putting on weight post marriage. He also made jokes on women being bad employees and bad drivers.
On this, NLU Delhi’s blog Glasnost said: Some of his jokes were sexist. People may have differing opinions on whether these were caricature and were meant to reflect, through humor, the inadequacies of society or whether such things should be the subject of humor at all. […]
Either way, Abish had a right to his expression. Within the framework of said expression comes the right not to be disrupted.
You critiqued it and it was great. But then you decided that he needed to shut up. That he must not be allowed to talk. And this is where the problem lies. Your response to his expression was to want to shut that avenue for him.
Nikita Agarwal’s Facebook post: The standing ovation that Abish Mathew solicited and the harassment that the protestors experienced both are indicative of a deeply sick and sexist community which condones and even celebrates sexism under the garb of free speech and expression and at the same time condemns forms of dissent by curbing the voice of the dissentor by using that which they are distancing themselves from, the Heckler’s veto. It is the student community which is a hypocrite in this situation and not the protestors themselves.
First Post’s verdict: Ironically, Mathew and the protesters have one thing in common: they are both indefensible.
Lawrence Liang of Alternative Law Forum defended the students:
— Lawrence Liang (@whatzisnehm) March 24, 2015
Kafila’s take: How might we deal with ‘sexist pigs’ indeed? Reflections on the feminist protest against AIB’s Avish Mathew at National Law University, Delhi. “We therefore hope that the university fraternity and other members of society will reflect deeply on the questions raised by the protest and determine how these can best addressed, and contribute to cultivating a ground where these questions and many others such will find a resolution in the interests of forming a more equitable, less discriminatory and violent collective.”
Lawctopus stands in full solidarity with the 5 students who protested.
UPDATE [2.21 PM, March 26]
Another blog post on NLU Delhi’s student newspaper Glasnost is here.
Here’s the open letter by NLUD protestors.Read More