Via 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 verdictIronically, Mathew and the protesters have one thing in common: they are both indefensible.

Lawrence Liang of Alternative Law Forum defended the students:

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.

abish mathew all india bakchod, nlu delhi girls, sexist comments
Think twice before going to a law school, Abish!

I am the Admin of Lawctopus. I am for law students, of law students and by law students. I am Torts and Contracts and moots and internships. I am your boyfriend! And your girlfriend too! Mentor. Friend. Junior. Senior. I am the footnote in your research paper. Foreword in your life. The jugaad for your internship. The side gig which earns you bucks. I am Maggi. Pocket money too.


  1. @ppratishruti.

    Such obstinate behavior creates the divide. Women have historically been happy and while some have been victims of domestic violence, etc it is not because of Patriarchy. It is because of some weeds which grow and spread. Even if you introduce Matriarchy instead of equality or whatever other radical idea you want in, it would have ZERO effect on any of these issues. I’ve not substantiated really but I don’t really see the point of it because I’d be better off talking to a wall than think you’ll understand my point.

    Read this if you want. With an open mind mind you.

  2. It is problematic to see how many of the above mentioned comments want to tell the protesters to have some humour in their life. It is problematic that they do not even realise that the butt of the jokes need not be women, their body or their looks. Such behaviour in which people are asked to have a funny bone and laugh at the sexist jokes — because “aarree yaar joke hai” furthers the internalisation of the stereotypes and sexism and makes it an integral part of the society. Our society is patriarchal in nature and such “jokes” only deepens the internalisation of violence and sexism faced by the women.
    As far as freedom of speech v. freedom to protest is concerned — neither can be denied. The protest was a spontaneous step/decision taken by the NLUD girls and the platform used was the same as used by Abish. Article 19(1)(a) which speaks about the freedom of speech is not an absolute right hence one should always look at the speech in question which is being debated. Abish had the right to “free” speech but not “reaction-free” speech.
    Further, even though Abish was called by the organisers of the university, that does not mean that one cannot be offended at the sexist jokes cracked by him and not protest. The statement “it is Hilarious, how they call him in the first place and then insult him” is saying something like “once she has married the person, then it is not rape.” (Please, do not respond back saying but they are two different things, because the principle is not).

    • What if I said that I’m a proponent of Patriarchy? And that women are not equal to men in some respects?

      I don’t believe in those views BTW but just asking out of curiosity. Doesn’t letting those people speak up and put forward their views part of free speech? On what basis did you prescribe that the standard for society should be that Patriarchy is BAD, sexist jokes are unacceptable, etc etc?

      From what I see, it is one group of people imposing their views on how society should be on others when in reality, quite a few (if not most) people’s perception is that Patriarchy should be the way of life, how society should function and all that. Call these views archaic, obsolete and whatever other stronger abuses come to your head, but if people want to air them, why stop them? (and can you stop them?)

      • You might be a proponent of patriarchy and those may be your personal beliefs and you have a right to lead your own life according to your own beliefs. The problem arises when you start imposing your opinion on others. For instance, if a staunch proponent of patriarchy imposes his/her views on the women of his/her family then it becomes a problem as such a perspective is harmful for them.

        As far as the jokes by Mathew are concerned, they are definitely NOT OK because they promote a harmful stereotype about women in a society which is extremely patriarchal and always puts women in a disadvantageous position. Jokes about Domestic Violence actually triviliase the issue; needless to say, it is not a trivial issue.
        And its not only about women, its about men who are also victims of patriarchy. If, for example, someone cracks jokes about ‘not-so-masculine men’ or men who don’t fulfill the standards laid down by patriarchy, that too is harmful, and therefore, not OK.

        Thus, while you may be a staunch supporter of patriarchy or terrorism or child pornography or communalism or casteism in the personal sphere, you definitely do not have a right to propagate the same because such ideologies put a large section of the already marginalised groups in an even more disadvanatgeous situation. Joking about the same is NOT OK too.

        • Just accept that women are not cut out for everything. Talks of equality may sound pretty but practically, they can never happen or be achieved. So just accept your place and chill. It would be so much of a less hassle.

  3. Feels good to know Lawctopus’s stand on the issue. What is disappointing however is the manner in which people are consuming any and every material available just for the sake of ‘humour’. The same is reflected in the comments on this post.
    Comedy, even though its supposed to be funny, should always be in good taste. The comdian duo Kannan Gill and Biswa Kalyan Rath are really doing a good job at it and other comedians should learn from them that you can be cool and respectful to these issues at the same time.You just cant make racist and/or sexist statements and get away with it in the name of ‘humour’.

    Proud of Nikita and the other girls who stood up against a ‘celebrity’ and criticised the system that they are a part of. You girls inspire the rest!

    @Bitchplease- Equality shit???? I mean, like, seriously????

    • Yes. The SHIT you guys are bent on spreading around more than is necessary. Go shout and stand for equality where you don’t get it and from those you don’t get it. We take it as an implicit you are equal and all the scenes created every time there’s even a mention of ‘sexism’ (as you construe it btw) is stupid and totally uncalled for. Have some humor in life and learn to take stuff in stride.
      And even if you don’t, it’s fine because you have the right to dissent. As have I to go and ask you to leave the lappy and go make a sandwich. 🙂

      • @bitchplease- That’s exactly what the NLU D girls did..asked for equality where they did not get it..
        And as far as the rest of your statements go , I just feel people like you are not worth debating with…I would say that I pity the family that has you for a member and I’m glad you are not a part of my life..

        • Shruti you pig. Get out!

          Hey, give me my equality yaar. That’s how we ask for it right?

          Also, you like Kannan’s humor. So that makes it the yardstick for everyone in the society for what is ‘good’ humor? I wonder what’d happen if you liked KRK… o.O

          • While we can keep debating endlessly on the correctness of the mode of protest what we should not forget to appreciate is the content that was being protested against. The content was offensive. Period. And offensive not because of its sexist nature..and that itself gives more than enough reason to the girls who stood up against it.
            Making fun of women’s issues and bodies and everythng surrounding their lives is in bad taste because it triviliases the struggle they face in their day to day lives. And the struggle is huge, whether you accept it or not.
            And when I say kannan n biswa do good comedy, I am not expressing a personal opinion, rather a genral statement about the kind of content they post. Hopefully you can distinguish between the two.
            We need more of women like these and am glad that law schools are producing such students, even though they are few in number.

  4. If this sexist pig can grunt something, and why not the students can protest against him. “Liberty” seems today just the freedom of destroying everything, whether its religious values or social fabric. Whenever someone says something against this destructive liberty, then he/she becomes autocrat.

  5. WTF!! Is there any sense of humor left in the field of law?

    Lossserrrrs like who protested seem to be the Chatur from 3 Idiots and are just bookworms and vomit everything only to get good grades in exams and have a corporate well paid job.
    Grow up and have a little humor and please please dont make this profession and field dull!!

    • Losers? Only losers laugh off everything, including issues that need ‘standing up’!

      These are girls who managed to shut up someone ‘famous’! ‘Winners’ for sure.

  6. How can you invite someone to perform when you don’t appreciate that humor. Cmon, the students must be well aware of the kind of humor AIB is famous for and still they paid him to perform. Depressing!

    • Were the 5 girls directly involved in ‘inviting’ the said comedian?

      Even if they were, how does being the ‘host’ prevent you from criticizing your ‘guest’ if he/she goes a bit too far?

      • I am assuming that these “brave” girls knew beforehand about the kind of humor this guy does. If they really detested or were against such kind of humor, they should not have attended such event at the first place. Atleast don’t ruin the show for those who can tolerate such humor.
        Everyone’s entitled to their opinions and so are these girls. If they didn’t like it, a simply walk out would have sufficed.

      • Even though they did not directly invited Abish to come and perform at Kairos, they did not register any form of protest when Abish was being finalized as one of the performers to come and perform at Kairos. Says something, no?

  7. WOW.

    sexism ? the point of humor is to break boundaries. seriously grow up. if youre going to be offended by what every TOM DICK or ABISH says in this case, go home.

    how many parents of the girls who protested ARE NOT SEXIST?
    such hypocricy. world without stereotypes is non existant

    • The point of ‘humour’ is to break boundaries, sometimes. Sometimes, humour ignores the boundaries and sometimes it accentuates it.

      Whatever humour might seek to do, it doesn’t prevent the right to protest against it.

      And even if the parents of the girls are ‘SEXIST’, that doesn’t STILL prevent them to protest against a comedian. Does it?

      • It’s his right to make jokes on women (or anyone he likes really) and everyone should know such jokes are only meant to pull girls’ legs and NOT really demean them. You all should take it in stride and move on. Fighting at even the slightest hint of ‘sexism’ (the definition of which has been twisted beyond recognition by some groups and people) is just plain stupid and shows you have a sad life. (Tip: you should’ve stayed in your room and googled ‘Santa Banta’ jokes! Oh wait, both of them are men. Sexism again! Women are not included in society! NOOOOOOO!!!)

        Also, something to ponder upon. We ARE different. And that is NOT a bad thing! And such unnecessary dramas only makes people laugh at you all and creates a divide when there is none. So chill out please. Have a little humor in life. And even if you don’t like it, we will still make fun of you all. As can you make fun of us.

  8. Are you kidding me?? and to think of it, a girl from NLU D was responsible to a certain extent in getting the infamous Section 66A removed! Hilarious how they should call him in the first place and then insult him for doing what he was called for!!!! Now we know where the Kapil Sibbals of the future are coming from! what a sad university to be at!

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