Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers from Volume Two Episode 5 of “Patriot Act”.
Hasan Minhaj takes the focus of his show to Southeast Asia this week, discussing the upcoming Indian elections. However, he opens the episode with snippets of conversations he has with older Indians, who strongly advised him not to discuss the topic of Indian politics. Many of them stated that Indian politics is not something to be discussed out in the open. “There is a lot of garbage outside, and that garbage is going to come on your face if you open your mouth on Indian politics,” one man warned. The different groups of men and women tell him to bring up other topics, saying he will be endangered if he dares to talk about this topic without the power of a leader or the gritty courageousness of a gang. For those of you who don’t know, Minhaj is both Indian and Muslim. “It’s very weird to be something that people love, and then also be something that people do not like,” he jokes. This is an important detail to this particular episode because he’s exploring a topic that he’s been warned not to on the show — the political climate where he films in the United States puts him in danger because he’s Muslim. Minhaj, by choosing this topic, proves that he is willing to take risks in order to educate viewers which is so important. What would this show be if not informative?
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) March 18, 2019
Minhaj focuses on the tension between Pakistan and India, noting the deadly attack that occurred in the much disputed over the area of Kashmir last week was caused by a Pakistan-based terror group. This was pointed out by Minhaj to show that when you live in either of the two countries, loyalty and ethnicity is key. Living in India, one must have a large amount of Indian background and commitment to the country — same with Pakistan. He transitions, however, into the Indian elections. Narendra Modi is the current Prime Minister, and since he rose in power India has become more hostile toward minorities, strayed away from secularism in government, increased in unemployment, and become about 30% more violent. “Of course Hasan Minhaj would say that about Mother India. After all, we know he’s a spy… for Pakistan,” Minhaj quips, intensely looking at the camera.
Since India is the largest democracy on earth and has every major religion represented in its country, its politics can be really confusing. However, Minhaj clears it up pretty well. Since the country has hundreds of political parties and thousands of candidates, parties have to form a coalition to obtain power. The first person to win independently in years was Modi in 2014. Modi is the only Prime Minister who doesn’t have press conferences in India because he doesn’t want to be questioned on his controversies. “It’s like posting on Instagram but disabling the comments,” Minhaj says, making the audience laugh. “India first,” is commonly stated by Modi in public statements, which is something Donald Trump often repeats himself about America. Modi and Trump, as Minhaj points out, are very similar leaders. However, Minhaj also states that comparing them is “way too reductive”. Modi has a much stronger character and asserts himself much better through his speeches. As noted before though, he does not like to be questioned, like Trump.
Towards the end of the show, Minhaj shows an interview with him and Shashi Tharoor, one of the candidates running against Modi and a senior member of the country’s main opposition party. Tharoor is currently the president of the Indian National Congress, one of India’s government parties. Minhaj had also wanted to conduct an interview with a representative from the Bharatiya Janata Party (the ruling party0 but nobody from that party responded to his request.
“They left me on read, you guys,” Minhaj tells the audience disappointedly. The interview with Tharoor, a centre-left politician, was informative and helpful for the show. He informs viewers on the right shift in Indian politics as well as the 2G Spectrum case, which was the forty billion dollars mobile phone scandal that recently occurred in India. “Just to put that number in perspective, for that amount of money, Aunt Becky from Full House could have gotten 80k kids into USC,” Minhaj states, not joking this time. In addition to corruption, people in both parties of the Indian government have committed crimes and democracy is evidently backsliding. Minhaj handles this episode eloquently and without fear. I personally was in awe with his confidence to give information on a topic he was warned about to so many viewers. I would absolutely recommend this episode, especially to anyone with a hunger for more knowledge on the Indian government. New episodes of Patriot Act can be streamed on Youtube and Netflix every Sunday.
Featured Image Via Youtube