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On Valentine's Day, artists and stand-up comics perform at JNU


On Valentine's Day, artists and stand-up comics perform at JNU

Stand-up comics and Bollywood actors took jabs at various political issues, including the sensitive situation in Jawaharlal Nehru University and the new citizenship law, at an event organised at the varsity on Valentine's Day. At the event titled 'India, my Valentine' organised by Bollywood actor Swara Bhaskar, stand up comics spoke about the current political situation in the country in humorous and sarcastic ways.

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap also came to JNU campus after paying visits to the Jamia Millia Islamia and Shaheen Bagh in the city. Veteran actor Ratna Pathak Shah performed the play 'Hindustan Chhod Do' by Ismat Chugtai, something which she said is "apt for the times".

Talking about the event, she said it was different from the whole idea of a protest and that there is more to India than the "troubles". "Today for me is the celebration of India after the unhappy times we have seen in the last few months," Shah said. "It is time to think of the nicer parts of our existence in this country. We still have the right to speak, we can stand at 9 o' clock in the night on the road without any worries, these are big strengths we have...," she said on the sidelines of the event.

The actor also said artistes should find ways to reflect what is going on around them. When questioned about the backlash faced by artists, Shah said, "I guess if you speak up, you should be prepared for a reaction. Not everyone has to like what you say. To me, a civilised person is one who can listen to an opposing thought. I don't have to be shaken by that thought or accept that thought. I must listen to it and find my counter and do it in a civilised way".

Shah said she had last visited the university decades ago when she was at the National School of Drama. Stand-up comedian Sanjay Rajoura, who was also present at the event, expressed concern about the contentious situation in the country and said it is the duty of every citizen to improve it.

Rajoura, who has been part of the ongoing protests against the new citizenship law outside Jamia Millia Islamia and at Shaheen Bagh, said the "idea of India is actually coming out to defend itself" and should be supported. "If I don't speak up, I don't have any right to call myself an Indian. I am not an Indian if I don't protect my Constitution. This country's soul is still alive. People are protesting in a united way... Those who wanted to break them have united them," he said on the sidelines of the event.

Comedian Varun Thakur, who visited the JNU for the first time, began his act by saying he was happy to come to the varsity, see so much greenery, people jogging around and "no police entering illegally". "I told my cab driver after seeing all this, 'have we come to the right university'," he said, receiving a huge round of applause.

Thakur also took jabs at the "supreme leader of the country" for not addressing a press conference. After his act, he said it was nice to see people from different walks of life coming together against the new citizenship law. Thakur had participated in a protest against the CAA at the Gateway of India and said there are problems with the law and the voices that have risen against it should be heard.

Comedienne Aditi Mittal sang a satirical song, wherein she took a dig at the falling economy, JNU students taking exams on WhatsApp and demonetisation. After the event, she said she has been to Shaheen Bagh and called it a wonderful place to be at.

"For so long we have been consumers, we have not been citizens. For the first time we are being citizens," she said about the protests. Some students gathered at the varsity on Friday held placards with messages calling for the release from police custody of JNU research scholar Sharjeel Imam who has been charged with sedition for giving an allegedly inflammatory speech against the CAA.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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