The 'Humans of Hindutva' Facebook page is a popular hub for people who love satire and are critical of right wing politics in the country. If you're one of them, you must have chuckled at the funny jibes and tagged friends to read the posts on the page.
TNM managed to reach the man behind the page who takes on the right wing with his distinct sense of humour.
Admitting that he’s a beef-eater, the page admin says that he's “old enough not to ignore ads of insurance policies and Dr Batra’s treatments like he used to."
Without divulging details about his city/state, the "anti-national" admin says that he manages the page by himself.
"I’m into business, but writing stories for my page doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes. I usually write stories when I’m stuck in traffic or having an easy day at the office," he says.
It was a heated argument with one of his "nationalist" friends which prompted him to create the page. Currently, HoH has over 70,000 followers.
“I wanted to frame his (the friend's) arguments in order to make him realise how ridiculous they sounded. We now laugh about how the argument led to creating the page," he shares.
Some good news for his anti-national fans/followers - he is planning to launch a satire website in the near future, and has also has been writing a book Humans of Hindutva: Volume 1.
While comedians in India have increasingly been taking jibes at politicians, there have also been instances of backlash.
When asked if he fears being booked by the BJP or anyone else who takes offence at his satire, the admin says, "It was unfortunate what happened to Tanmay (Tanmay Bhat of AIB), but I’m sure it isn’t going to change his approach to comedy. The right wing came out looking like a loser in this whole episode, as there’s nothing objectionable in putting a Snapchat filter. Narendra Modi isn’t god. Even if he was, I would still find nothing objectionable in using a filter.”
With his typical dose of sarcasm, he goes on to add: "As for me, I don’t think I have anything on my page which is objectionable. I back everything with data to support it. Mine is just a parody page and my aim is to make some jokes and make myself laugh. If the police think they want to arrest me for it, they are welcome. But if they actually do that, it will reveal what are their priorities in a country where absolutely no crimes occur."
So is he a leftist or is he just anti-BJP? The "leftist" accusation is one that the HoH admin commonly hears, so he responds tongue-in-cheek, “Not only am I a leftist, but I also eat beef every Tuesday and go to China once a year when I get homesick."
The admin regrets that he couldn’t start a political party - the CSP (Common Sense Party) - as he has never killed anyone nor has any criminal case against him.
Asked if his family and friends are aware that he’s the admin of the HoH page, he says, "Some people know. Many don’t. I often get messages from friends to check out the HoH page. I initially felt weird, but I now take comfort in the fact that it has grown beyond me and has become an entity of sorts. Even my parents know about it. They stand by me, but I want to remain anonymous because I don’t want them to be brought into it. When you get hundreds of death threats, you may laugh it off, but a part of you always looks over your shoulder."
Asked if he feels Indians get offended too easily, he says, “Yes, India is definitely one of the worst countries to do political satire. The problem is, since religion is inextricably connected to politics here, any criticism of a political party has to include criticism of its religious vote bank. These political parties don’t want to be criticised, so they have created an environment in which their vote banks feign offence on their behalf."
Has there been any troll attack unleashed on him?
"My inbox is about 80 % abuse from trolls and 20 % (of messages) from those who support me. I focus on the 20 %. If someone annoys me with abusive comments, I block them. I used to engage with them earlier to make my position clear, but it’s a waste of time. My page got blocked twice since it started. All my posts were restored, after I appealed to Facebook. However, FB has limited my audience. My followers don’t see my posts on their newsfeed, despite making changes. Several of them wrote to me about it. It is disheartening to know, because I thought that Facebook was going to stand by me and let me grow organically," he laments.
What if BJP loses the 2019 General Elections and doesn't come back to power? The HoH admin responds to the hypothetical question thus: "My page focuses on Hindutva, not BJP. I think Hindutva is going to be there for a while, because you just can’t make people jobless and spread communal hatred and expect everything to go back to normal. Hindutva is going to be there even after 2019 and so is my page. I will be following them and would be documenting Indian society’s collapse."
Speaking about his forthcoming book, he says, “People read The Diary of Anne Frank, Schindler’s List to understand the Holocaust. Indians of the future will read Humans of Hindutva: Volume 1 to understand why they are being ruled by cows".