In a note uploaded on Facebook, the group describes its meeting with Bishop Agnelo Gracias, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, where the members accepted they had offended the religious sentiments of the community and that while they were free to make these jokes, the Christian community in turn had the right to be offended by their comments. The Archdiocese of Bombay accepted the apology and uploaded their letter addressed to Archbishop of Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias on their Facebook page, along with photos of the meeting.
All India Bakchod, a four-member comedy collective, had on December 20 conducted an event involving Bollywood stars Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, with the help of director Karan Johar, Raghu Ram, Rajeev Masand, Aditi Mittal and Abish Mathew. On January 28, the group uploaded a heavily edited version of the event, which was viewed eight million times before they had to pull it down on February 4 following protests from a range of conservative groups and complaints to the police.
The note is excessively polite and pointedly calls the archdiocese "kind" at every opportunity. The group also does not seem to have been able to resist taking a shot at others who have been calling for their immediate arrest for offending the sentiments of religions, cultures and India itself.
"It may be relevant to mention here that during our interaction with the archdiocese, both parties agreed on another important thing; these matters are best solved by frank, patient conversation, not by pointless rabble-rousing or politicization or by taking up adversarial positions for the sake of eyeballs," they wrote.
The subtext of the note did not save them from an all-round roasting on Twitter, where people have been criticising them for failing to stand up to the pressures of various communities.
Here is a sample:
I always apologize for the quality of my jokes. In fact, they are an apology in itself.
— Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt) February 9, 2015
AIB had to apologize for making jokes, no wonder why Obama said "Religious intolerance has been increased in India" on our face. — EngiNerd. (@mainbhiengineer) February 9, 2015
Looks like AIB did what they knew would piss off people, leveraged it, got publicity and finally took the easy way, setting bad precedents.
— Wildcard Vidyut (@Vidyut) February 9, 2015
AIB apologises 2 Christian community.Plis also apologise 2 every subcaste in th http://t.co/JjxtvCmrzJ cover all bases. Then give up comedy
— manjula narayan (@utterflea) February 9, 2015
#AIB isn't "pathetic." The people who pushed them into a corner & made them feel like they had no option but to apologize are.
— Sonia Faleiro (@soniafaleiro) February 9, 2015
This is the full statement by All India Bakchod.
Amidst the din over the AIB Knockout, we’ve had the opportunity to reach out to some groups who have had questions about the jokes and the taste they were made in. Our conversations with members of the government (and other political parties) have been civil and frank. Authorities at multiple levels have heard us out patiently and open-mindedly, and we thank them for that. In places where we expected hostility, we have found instead a heartening willingness to engage.
The same holds true for religious communities that the AIB Knockout may have offended. For example we’ve had extensive discussions with members of the Christian community. We also met with members of the Archdiocese of Mumbai. We explained that we didn’t set out to hurt or persecute the Christian community (or indeed any community) when we wrote and performed those jokes. We explained that while writing jokes, no matter the subject, we never intend to hurt anyone, though we now realize that as an unfortunate consequence of the nature of our profession, we sometimes do, and we’re sorry about that. In turn, the kind archdiocese graciously viewed that we have every right to make jokes and speak our mind in a democracy however, that exact same democracy also gives members of the Christian community the right to be offended or hurt by our comments, and more importantly to raise their voices to point that out.
We offered an unconditional apology to the archdiocese and the Christian community for any offence caused to religious sentiments as a result of our jokes. The kind archdiocese acknowledged the fact that we have never been against any community, nor do we bear any ill will towards any community.
AIB believes and supports with complete certainty the notion that every community has the right to live with dignity, honour, and freedom from any form of persecution. We would also like to reiterate that the jokes at the AIB Knockout were not intended as a form of persecution or malice towards any community, for that is not who we are, or what we stand for.
It may be relevant to mention here that during our interaction with the archdiocese, both parties agreed on another important thing; these matters are best solved by frank, patient conversation, not by pointless rabble-rousing or politicization or by taking up adversarial positions for the sake of eyeballs. So we’d like to thank members of the Christian community and the archdiocese for sitting down with us, and hearing us out, and giving us a chance to explain and apologize. It isn’t a courtesy people give each other nearly often enough.
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.