'Politicians are thick-skinned. Nothing affects them. NOTHING. Not the newspapers. Not bad publicity. They don't care about the common man's woes. The fact that humour affects them is damn good.'
Popular radio jockey Malishka Mendonca takes on politicians who seem to be missing their funny bone.
Politicians should watch porn. They should throw stuff at each other. They should misbehave. They should set a bad example for the country while expecting everyone else to be paragons of perfection.
That is what should happen.
Mrs Jaya Bachchan is absolutely right. Radio jockeys should not make fun of politicians. They do it themselves anyway...
On a serious note: Politicians are thick-skinned. Nothing affects them. NOTHING. Not the newspapers. Not bad publicity. They don't care about the common man's woes.
The fact that humour affects them is damn good.
You know that saying 'Har mazak ardh satya hota hai'. There's a smidgen of truth in every joke. When people laugh, it means they have caught onto that smidgen of truth.
Humour gives you power; that is not something our politicians want. Raaj to unhone raja maan liya hai (they think being given the right to govern means that they have become kings). They have forgotten they are the servants of the public.
Today, an MP thinks we should not make fun of them. Why should an MLA or a corporator not think that tomorrow?
Take the recent controversy about Sachin Tendulkar not attending Parliament. Do you really not want us to talk about it because he is the God of cricket? Why do we forget he is doing a different role now? He is an MP.
Politicians become targets of humour because they are supposed to be a certain way or do something for the country in a certain way. And they are not doing that!
Our netas talk such rubbish sometimes. If one asks if he should pee to fill up empty dams, another will say women should not own cell phones or should cover themselves up or not wear the colour red or whatever comes to their mind... It makes me wonder who gave then a mike.
Politicians with a sense of humour? Hahahahahahaha... Are you kidding me?
I don't think I know of a single politician who has a good sense of humour.
We make fun of them because they messed with something that was important.
Everybody knows that, at some point or the other, they have goofed up or they will goof up in the future by the sheer dint of the fact that they are Parliamentarians. So what the best ways to deal with it? To clamp down on what they see as dissent.
I don't understand why they want to sweep everything under the carpet. Aisa thodhi hoga bhai. Yeh jawan India, new India hai.
They have to remember that they are not the institution.
Humour is a big weapon to bring about change in society. You should, in a democracy, be able to pull up your leaders in whichever way possible.
If I am using the tool of humour to correct you, please take it well. Because otherwise we are going to be a country of can't say people who take themselves too seriously and just don't correct themselves.
It is very important to take it up when a politician goofs up, and not just because we can have fun with it. It is because we want to tell people that (a) this happened and (b) to know if they are aware of the way they should think if something like this happens.
Besides, you expect better from your politicians (even though you know it won't be better).
Politicians conveniently choose when they want to be considered important people and when they want to be considered ordinary.
When they goof up, they suddenly want to be 'normal people' and if they say something they believe is important then suddenly they become politicians.
Mrs Jaya Bachchan has used Parliament's amazing platform to raise this issue when there are so many other issues that need to be discussed. The Women's Bill is pending. Yet, she believes this issue was more important.
I don't think something like this has ever happened when someone has used precious Parliament time to tell the media how it should not be funny.
If you don't like a film or a television show, don't watch it (BTW, one of my favourites is Gustakhi Maaf, a hilarious take on politicians). Similarly, if you don't like the humour on radio, don't tune in.
When Mrs Jaya Bachchan says the language is not palatable. I don't know what that means.
We speak the language of the public, the public loves it and we speak the truth.
One of the highlights of my show is that I call up politicians -- mostly local netas -- and grill them.
I have even called the prime minister's office.
I have called Mayawati's office to ask why the elephant statues were covered and why she sent someone to buy shoes for her.
I called the Congress office in Madhya Pradesh when the elections were on to find out why they wanted to cover a pond that was blooming with lotuses.
Then, of course, we do stuff that's tongue-in-cheek. Like the time when Hina Rabbani was in India and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was, I called Mayawati's office to ask why our politicians don't use make-up.
Radio's greatest strength is how it says stuff without spelling it out. It is more like a kambal me lapetke maarna (hitting with a velvet covered fist).
Private radio is a spontaneous medium. We believe we have a ear to the ground. We comment on what going on in society. We don't have the permission to air news, but we do react to it because it affects us.
We react to what affects the public, but we will not do something that will incite violence. In that sense, we are self-regulatory; we follow certain self-imposed rules. We know -- especially after being on air for so long -- where to draw the line.
With great power comes great responsibility and we know we have great power even though you don't see us. We try and make you realise what's going on around you.
Our country really needs to loosen up.
Like we were told Swaraj is our birthright, India has decided that being offended is also my birthright.
I think it probably comes from being so fractionalised. When you are divided into so many little bits -- we are divided by race, caste, colour, creed, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai, every little thing -- how many things can you protect?
Yet, you are trying to be protective of every little thing in your life.
We are still on the fence when it comes to deciding whether we want to be this or to be that. We are still holding on to the past while we are trying to scramble into the future.
Even stand-up comedians in India for that matter are a fairly new phenomenon no? That why, occasionally, they too have gotten into trouble.
As a country, we pick and choose what humour we like and don't like based on convenience.
Want some free advice? When somebody mimics you, use it to look within yourself, understand the error of your ways and improve.
Photograph: Radio jockey Malishka Mendonca. Credit: Courtesy Colors TV