'Was Part of Anti-Mandal Protests in 90s': Anurag Kashyap Apologises for 'Casteist' Comment
Stoking controversy? Amid anti-CAA protests on Twitter, Anurag Kashyap apologised for tone-deaf "casteist" comment | Image credit: News18
Amid rife debate regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Registrar of Citizens on social media and off it, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has stoked controversy on Twitter after announcing he supported anti-Mandal Commission protests in the 1990s. Kashyap has since apologised for the comment after anti-caste activist Tejas Harad called out his casteist comment on the microblogging site.
Even as the several parts of the country witnesses burning protests against CAA and NRC, Kashyap has been vocal on social media in his protests against the Narendra Modi government's decision to implement the same. While Kashyap was not the only one to protest the Act, his tweets went extremely viral and fetched thousands of responses from supporters as well as detractors.
It all started with a tweet by a Twitter user by the name of Lt Cdr Gokul, who took to the micro blogging site to call out the alleged armchair activism of Kashyap and others protesting CAA on social media. "Did Anurag Kashyap or Shivam Vij ever join any protest? They are afraid of being killed?" the user wrote.
Did Anurag Kashyap or Shivam Vij ever join any protest? They are afraid of being killed? You can pull someone. But don't push— Lt Cdr Gokul (R) (@gokulchan) December 22, 2019
In response, Kashyap tweeted that he had actively been part of protests in Mumbai's August Kranti Marg (a probable allusion to the anti-CAA protests that took place on the venue last week) and also took to the streets as Anna Hazar's anti-corruption movement in 2011. However, Kashyap also mentioned that in the 90s, he also participated in anti-Mandal Commission protests.
जी हाँ । अगस्त क्रांति मैदान में भी था , और अन्ना हज़ारे के पीछे anti- corruption विरोध में भी था, और २७ साल पहले मंडल कमिशन का भी विरोध करने सड़क पर उतरा था। https://t.co/6stpIOnrFk— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) December 22, 2019
Set up in 1979, the Mandal Commission, or the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission, came into effect to study and analyse the socially and educationally backward classes of India. In its final report, the Commission recommended a 27 percent reservation quota for Other Backward Classes in India, resulting in a total of 49.5% quota in government jobs and public universities in the country. The Commission formed the basis of reservations for the upliftment of backward populations in the country and has since been hailed as giant and systemic step against casteism.
It wasn't surprising, therefor, that Kashyap's tone deaf comment about supporting anti-Mandal protests in the 90s irked a few. Responding to the Gangs of Wasseypur director's comment, Oxford University fellow and anti-caste commentator Tejas Harad wrote, "Liberals are incoherent khichdi. They will support whatever the coolest thing is there to support at any moment. Also, thanks for telling us you are a casteist prick, @anuragkashyap72". Not just Harad, others also called Kashyap out for his comment.
Liberals are incoherent khichdi. They will support whatever the coolest thing is there to support at any moment. Also, thanks for telling us you are a casteist prick, @anuragkashyap72 https://t.co/RsG2LdE9JU— Tejas Harad (@h_tejas) December 22, 2019
He proudly saying protested against Mandal commission. He setting himself an example how savarna liberal behave when it's a matter of caste and reservations.— Sridhar Jeripothula. (@Sridhar_Jeri) December 22, 2019
Mr. Kashyap doesn't realize that all the three protests are mutually exclusive. This is about equality, Mandal was about continuing inequity and Anna was about enabling a fascist takeover.— Shujaat Mirza (@Shujaat_Mirza) December 22, 2019
Meanwhile, Kashyap was quick to respond with an apology, claiming that he had only been responding to accusations made against him by Lt Cdr Gokul about never participating in protests. He also added that he was only 19-years-old at the time of the Mandal protests and that now he knew better. He further clarified in several tweets and responses that he was not casteist (anymore) and that there was no doubt about his support for the SC/ST/OBC reservation.
Well Tejas I was a 19 year old then and what I was then and what I am now are two different people .. wasn’t a casteist even then.. just had no idea what I was out for .. anyways— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) December 22, 2019
Tejas I absolutely will apologise for it . I wrote the tweet in an answer to the accusation . I do not oppose SC/ST/OBC reservations . But what I was part of, is a truth I can’t hide for someone to dig it out and throw it at me .— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) December 23, 2019
I apologise ..— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) December 23, 2019
The responses were retweeted by popular anti-caste writer and diversity advocate Ravi Ratan who praised Kashyap for his admission.
This is good to know Anurag. What will help is you tweeting (not replying to tweets) that you stand for SC ST OBC reservations now, and your views have changed since your fierce opposition to Mandal. Coz Replies on twitter do not have same reach as tweets. Thanks https://t.co/YcVDQrCSJf— Ravi Ratan (@scribe_it) December 23, 2019
In the end, Kashyap tweeted yet another "unconditional apology" for his misguided teenage stance against Mandal, adding he "totally (stood) for the rights and reservations for SC/ST/OBC". He also wrote, "To expand on that - then I was a lot of things I am not today, I have not been that man for the longest time,but today I know what I am fighting for and I want to focus on that.I am not always politically correct and I don’t claim I understand everything. But this fight I do know".
My tweet in response to an accusation about me, where I talked about having participated in Mandal commission protests has offended a lot of people. I unconditionally apologise for the teenager that I was and I totally stand for the rights and reservations forSC/ST/OBC https://t.co/BPE8tqewvG— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) December 23, 2019
To expand on that - then I was a lot of things I am not today, I have not been that man for the longest time,but today I know what I am fighting for and I want to focus on that.I am not always politically correct &I don’t claim I understand everything. But this fight I do know.— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) December 23, 2019
After the profuse apologies, several people ended up praising Kashyap for his unabashed will to admit and apologise for problematic aspects of his past.
Its human to grow and its a great human to accept your wrongdoings. Hota hai aap higher caste hindu hain usi mahaul me pale badhe hain nafrat natural thi but usko pyar me badalna apki mahanta aur achhai hai— Donut (@stutstar) December 23, 2019
Shukriya and 👏👏.— वरुण (@varungrover) December 23, 2019
This is so important. Almost all of us have a past when we knew less and were complacent in perpetuating the oppressive structures around us. It’s okay to allow people the space to recognise they were unaware and that they are better now.— SM (@sajalm19) December 23, 2019
There Tejas. We aren't incoherent khichdi. We make mistakes but we learn from them, and we'll continue to learn from them.— Anuya Jakatdar (@anuyeaah) December 23, 2019
Ever since Kashyap started criticizing the Bharatiya Janata Party on Twitter regarding the implementation of CAA, his followers on Twitter have drastically reduced. He earlier took to the site to reveal that since his criticism, his 500k+ strong followers have reduced to just over 75,000.