Story of Caste Discrimination with a Side of Comedy
In India, where almost every day there are reports of Dalits — also known as untouchables — being beaten up or killed for drinking from a water tap used by the upper caste or sporting a moustache or even riding a horse, many stand-up comedians from the same untouchable community are breaking into elite stand-up comedy clubs, cracking some hard-hitting jokes and getting praises from the audience. One such stand-up comic, Manjeet Sarkar, is on an all-India tour performing his material, called Untouchables. Sarkar belongs to the Dalit community and comes from the Odisha-Chattisgarh border village. Sarkar’s comedy is rooted in his lived experience — the discriminations and biases he faced as a Dalit in a Naxalite region and outside of it. India's thriving stand-up comedy scene is dominated by the upper caste, but Dalit comedians like Sarkar are making their way into it and telling their stories of discrimination, with a punchline of course! These Dalit comedians also joke about what other upper caste comedians do, but they bring to the stage their identities — of being Dalit and discriminated against. And still, the audience erupts into laughter.
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