Blasphemy Case in India: Absence of Humor

This one is for @Ashwin_s

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The case involved a Facebook post comparing Lord Parshuram (an avatar of the god Vishnu, seen in the center of the image above) to a character from the Indian blockbuster film Sairat . It wasn’t even offensive. It just compared a supernatural being to a mortal fictional character.

Still, one man posted the image, four others “Liked” it (and made critical comments about Parshuram), and all of them got in trouble for what’s essentially considered blasphemy.

But the judges weren’t buying it. They noted that the men in question didn’t necessarily believe all the Hindu superstitions and there was nothing wrong with that . Then — and this will put a smile on your face — they mocked the person who complained for not having a sense of humor . They also blamed similar complaints on the thin skin of Hindus who treat all criticism of their beliefs as persecution.

The Complainant could have taken the aforesaid post in humor like all others who believe in God did. Here only it needs to be observed that in India due to absence of humor the tolerance level has gone to shocking down. Those “few” who want to get political advantage by raising such issue or who want to create rift in the society or those who are oversensitive and take such posts seriously, have created problems for our society .

That is glorious…

It is a truly entertaining ruling. It is a good reminder why we want a secular society, that is fair to everyone. Christians are not the majority in the parts of the world with some of the largest human rights abuses. Rather than grasping for power to protect us, we need confident ways of engaging with a diverse society.


I think the article is missing the Indian context.

In Hinduism, there is no fixed scripture, nor is there a concept of blasphemy. The idea of the law is to prevent causing offence in order to prevent rioting/disturbance of the peace. Recently such laws are being misused by a section of society.
The article mentioned the judges using a loophole to dismiss the case. I don’t think that’s accurate.
The law also deals with an intent to cause hatred between communities, deliberate attempts to provoke peoples religious sentiments and so on.
The judge is well within the legal framework to dismiss the case citing that there was no intention to provoke and that most people were not provoked as shown by the examples of people who took the comments in the right spirit.

There was a supreme court ruling Recently against frivolous misuse of this law by claiming offence for small issues. So the judgement is nothing new.

However if someone deliberately tries to provoke/insult any religion in public or tries to incite hatred against and religion. The law does apply.


Thank you for providing that context.