A couple days ago, comedian Abhineet Misra performed a unique set, during which he said, “Two days ago, an Indian minister said he wanted to put Indians into space to look for extra-terrestrial life. I am like, ‘Bro, why don’t you put Indians into that mine, to look for terrestrial life, 15 of them’.”
It’s been nearly a month since 15 people got trapped in an illegal rat-hole mine in Meghalaya on December 13. However, unlike the Thai boys from last year or the little Indian boy who got trapped in a borewell a couple of years ago, this tragedy hasn’t sparked the national or international outrage it deserves.
As we continue to coo over pictures of celebrity babies and rage on Twitter about the latest dimwitted thing to escape a public figure’s mouth, real human lives are being lost in a mad tussle for eyeballs, clicks and votes.
Fed up with the status quo, Abhineet Misra, a comedian from Meghalaya, has released a five-minute video, titled ‘Stand Up (Not Comedy)’. In it, Misra calls out friends and acquaintances for their casual ignorance about the state (there’s more to the north east than Assam); politicians, actors and the media for their callous treatment of the state and its people.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Misra wonders if Modi would be more interested in visiting Meghalaya if it was an international destination.
He goes on to ask what’s the use of boasting about bullet trains and massive statues if it took the government 15 days to get 10 high pressure water pumps from Delhi to Meghalaya to pump water out of the mine the people are trapped in.
Misra doesn’t spare the opposition either, calling out Rahul Gandhi for expressing sympathy but not mobilising any of the 20 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya’s assembly. As he put it, if Gandhi wanted to do something about the situation, he could have.
The final blow comes at the end, where Misra – who has been speaking on a stage, looking down at what we assume is the audience – swivels the camera to show an empty room. Because that’s how it feels when you’re from the northeast looking for the media’s attention and empathy.