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The Hindu privilege as a Joshi, on drugs

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AIB co-founder Rohan Joshi’s first stand-up special “Wake ‘n’ Bake” subtly touched upon two themes that the Right and the Left have polarizing views about- Hindu privilege and legalizing marijuana. Before I start, please understand that I’m not writing this with an intention to dissect Joshi’s jokes and frame them in a way where they compliment my narrative. The parts which I’m rebutting in this article mostly belonged to more of a serious segment of the show. I’m also not taking any offence at any of the jokes (that’s the Left’s job, not mine). Overall, leaving the below-mentioned fallacies aside, “Wake ‘n’ Bake” was a delight to watch.

So halfway around the show, Joshi started to measure his privilege. He took one step forward for every “privilege” he has; like being a Hindu, who was born in an affluent area, who went to an English medium school, who’s fair skinned and so on. By the time he was done taking the steps of privilege, he had covered a fair portion of the stage. He feels that as a privileged person, although he has had to work hard, he didn’t have to struggle. Dare I remind him that the kid who has an SC or ST or an OBC tag to back his “struggles” doesn’t even have to get a nearly decent score to get admission into most reputed colleges. While the Hindu general category kid with an above average score ends up having to study in a tier-3 college.

He further rubbed in his Hindu privilege by reciting an anecdote of the time he was 18. Joshi recalls that he was driving and happened to break a signal. A cop caught him but 18-year-old Rohan was let go because he too was an upper-class Hindu. Upon reaching home, he narrated this incident to his father who seemed to be accustomed to such happenings. Now, if this isn’t the worst way to make an argument against the so called unfair Hindu privilege, I don’t know what is. Here Joshi tries to highlight the advantage he has because he’s a Hindu. In doing so, he makes the mistake of holding Hindu privilege as a whole accountable for being released when in reality, the cop let him go because they belonged to the same religious group.

If you replace Hindu in this situation with any other religious group, the aftermath of this scene would be identical. Muslims tend to have a bias towards Muslims, Christians tend to have a bias towards Christians, Parsis tend to have a bias towards Parsis and the same applies for Hindus. Apart from this, I think one should not whine about his privileges while happily utilizing his privileges.

He is also seen advocating apolitical behavior. He insists that since he has a lot of privilege, he has no idea about what’s happening “below” him and thus should not have a say in those matters. Who’s going to tell Rohan privileged Joshi that he is simply encouraging and practicing an ignorant behavior. He feels people must check their privilege and simply say “I don’t know.” Uttering “I don’t know” is a privilege in itself when you’re so high on weed in your own zone that you don’t even bother to learn about what’s occurring outside. Please don’t use Hindu privilege as an excuse for your laziness and lack of interest in happenings outside of your Gaanja infused world.

Speaking of drugs- surprise, surprise- Joshi is all for legalization of Marijuana. I realize that Marijuana is usually consumed as a recreational drug and isn’t very damaging if taken in regulation. In fact, I’m all for the libertarian belief that the government should have little to no say in such matters. But buddy we live in India. Just because legalization “worked” in other countries, it doesn’t necessarily imply that it’ll work in India too. Legalization of drugs will definitely have different outcomes in the States and in India. The USA is not going to see high orphaned kids on the streets living miserable short lives; India is.

In a developed country, legalization simply turns the illegal consumers of drugs into legal consumers. While in India where drugs aren’t really mainstream in rural areas, legalization will have disastrous effects. Let’s try to contain the drug epidemic in the Bollywood circles and not let it reach a poor common-man who will inevitably fall prey to the drug’s harmful effects. That said, I think India has a future for legalization but that future is at-least 30 years away. Till then, legal or not, drugs are bad and so is alcohol.

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