NEW DELHI: I noticed Tanmay Bhat was trending on Twitter a couple of days ago. Frankly, I don’t find All India Bakchod’s brand of comedy all that funny, but the fact that Tanmay soon made national news convinced me to check out his latest video.

In a Snapchat video -- Bhat uses the ‘Face Swap’ feature to mimic and mock cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and singer Lata Mangeshkar. Was the skit funny? Not really. Was it offensive? Sure. Did it deserve this hue and cry? A hugely categorical NO.

Since being posted, Tanmay’s Snapchat video has led to at least four political parties -- the Shiv Sena, BJP, NCP and MNS -- seeking action against the comedian. Everyone from the Maharashtra CM to the Mumbai Police’s Cyber Crime Cell has been roped in. The MNS’s spokesperson, Shalini Thackeray, called the video an “insult to national icons” in a letter addressed to the Cyber Crime Cell. A police complaint has been filed at the Shivaji Park Police Station in Mumbai. Heck, NCP party members even set fire to effigies of Tanmay Bhat.

At the time of writing, the Mumbai Police is hard at work removing links to the video off the internet.

The entire scenario is beyond ridiculous, but it also raises important questions on the kind of democracy India is developing into.

A video, where a man -- a comedian at that -- mocks two superstars is met with action from the highest levels, with the BJP, Mumbai police, the Crime Cell all sweeping in.

At the same time, video after video, speech after speech, of politically affiliated yes-men (often belonging to the same four parties that have raised such a hue and cry on Tanmay’s video) threatening minorities, women, students, and actually inciting violence are not just excused, but often condoned by the political elite.

A few months ago, BJP MPs openly equated Muslims with “demons.” Union Minister of State, HRD, and BJP Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria as well as the BJP’s Fatehpur Sikri MP Babu Lal, along with several others, were present at a meet in Agra, as speaker after speaker urged Hindus to “corner Muslims and destroy the demons (rakshas)”, while declaring that “all preparations” had been made to effect “badla (revenge)” before the 13th-day death rituals for Mahaur. “Human skulls would be offered to his martyrdom,” VHP district secretary Ashok Lavania, who has been jailed earlier for assaults on Muslims, said.

Where was the hue and cry?

Or take the open threats made by BJP affiliates to students -- Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and others. Just to use one example, in March, Sanjay Rathod, IT cell convener of BJP’s Junagadh unit, took to Twitter to make an open threat and offer a bizarre “solution” to the controversy over the arrest of several Jawaharlal Nehru University students. “Shoot Anti National JNU students & Proff and close the chapter. But the problem is that Our Govt doesn’t allow to kill Dogs #WakeUpIndia,” Rathod tweeted. No one called in the Cyber Crime Cell then.

Where was the hue and cry?

And this is not even the tip of the iceberg. They are just two recent examples used to illustrate my larger point. The sort of comments Indians -- politicians, police officers, ministers, common folk alike -- often make that target women, people from the northeast, Kashmir, tribals or adivasis, dalits, muslims, christians (the list goes on), are reprehensible and entirely condemnable.

Yet, we don’t see those getting the kind of attention Tanmay’s rather idiotic Snapchat video has gotten. Tanmay’s video could be offensive to some, granted -- but does it incite violence? No. Does it target minorities? No. Is it divisive? No. Does it target women? No. All it does is poke fun at two superstars.

Remember, all of those who are opposing Tanmay’s video are doing so on the grounds that it is an “insult to India.”

The tragic realisation is that India -- as we are coming to understand her -- can be ‘insulted’ by poking fun at a cricketer and a music icon, but all the comments and statements made against her minorities, her women, her poor, are not just excused, but defended in the name of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai.’

(PS: I am against anything being censored. Even if I disagree with it at all fundamental levels. As Voltaire said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” This stops short at the incitement or abetment of violence).