When Mamata Banerjee Met Her Meme: Woman arrested for posting Didi's meme. Where's the free speech lobby now?

Deepansh Duggal
Deepansh DuggalMay 12, 2019 | 15:36

When Mamata Banerjee Met Her Meme: Woman arrested for posting Didi's meme. Where's the free speech lobby now?

Why is Mamata Banerjee against Photoshop? Was her in PeeCee’s Met Gala look funny enough, or should we go for the ‘aunty gormint’ meme? Will we all end up behind bars now?

Let me start by giving Arvind Kejriwal credit where it’s due — the man has been slapped, trolled and memed the hell out of, but rarely have I seen him lose his cool over trolls — or worse, file an FIR against them.

Say what you want about him, but Kejriwal takes all the jokes targeting him with a pinch of salt — be it remixed songs of him getting slapped, or scathing memes that critique him for his over-dramatic speeches.


The butt of all jokes: Arvind Kejriwal is often a target for trolls and memes, which he takes fairly well. (Source: India Today)

The man has a sense of humor and is pretty self-aware too.

Mamata Didi, are you listening?

In contrast, politicians like Mamata Banerjee not only lack a sense of humour, but are clearly super-uptight and can’t take a joke, especially if it's cracked at their expense. Perhaps, in Mamata’s head, she is the queen bee of Bengal who is above criticism and dissent from all. Perhaps she's so surrounded by ‘yes-men’ and 'nodders' who rarely speak a word against her that she's grown a tad delusional with a false sense of self-worth?

Perhaps this is why she appears to have got a BJP youth worker arrested allegedly for making a harmless meme — which wasn’t even offensive to begin with.

Priyanka Sharma, the Howrah District Club Converner for BJYM (Bhartiya Janta Party Yuva Morcha), reportedly photoshopped Mamata Banerjee’s face on Priyanka Chopra’s Met Gala look, which recently set the Internet ablaze with hilarious memes.

Locked up: Priyanka Sharma is in police custody for 14 days — because of a meme on Mamata Banerjee. (Source: PTI)


In a shocking turn of events, the woman has been placed in police custody for 14 days.

Her crime? Making a harmless, funny meme.

Whatever happened to the free speech activists now? Why are the ones who apparently stand for ‘absolute freedom of speech’ not condemning the arrest of Priyanka Sharma? Oh, and where are the liberals? Just because this time, a BJP leader has landed in troubled waters, the left wing cannot get away with not strongly condemning this arrest.

PM Modi himself is very often a target of memes that are way more offensive than the one Priyanka got arrested for — and that's part and parcel of democracy.

Why is it though that some of our politicians have a clearly inflated sense of self-worth? Why do they consider themselves divine beings, sitting somewhere high above us in heavenly realms, beyond human criticism and, yes, mocking as well? Have they forgotten that they are public servants and this goes with the territory?

Mamata Banerjee: Silencing haters, one FIR at a time. (Source: India Today)

TMC workers though apparently felt that photoshopping Didi was a grave crime and insulted the CM of the state. TMC leader Vibhas Hazra is said to have filed the complaint against Priyanka Sharma.


I can only imagine what would happen if Arvind Kejriwal — or, say, Narendra Modi — decided to file an FIR against each and every person who makes memes on him.

Seeing Mamata Banerjee’s reaction now reminds me of a time when Jaya Bachchan in the Rajya Sabha attacked radio jockeys for mimicking Parliamentarians and apparently using ‘double meaning’ jokes. Both Jaya Bachchan and Mamata Banerjee are clearly elitist, entitled minds — that have never been told ‘no’. Despite being in public life, they seemingly believe they can always have things their own way. And, in addition, Didi seems to think that every voice that criticises her must be silenced — and muscle power can be used to do this.

Mock Us? Are you serious? Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan attacked RJs for making fun of politicians. (Source: India Today)

Dear Mamata Banerjee, please learn a thing or two from Arvind Kejriwal and try to take memes and jokes with a pinch of salt. Not everyone who makes fun of you is against you — and even if they are, last I checked, it’s a democracy and everyone has the fundamental right to dissent and free speech!

Personally, I think the ‘aunty gormint’ meme could have been better. Or maybe, ‘chai pee lo fraands’ would have done justice. Since I don’t want to end up behind bars now, I won’t make these memes.

But Ms Banerjee — you really need to lighten up and not be so uptight.

There are bigger issues in life than one mocking meme. 

Last updated: May 12, 2019 | 17:14
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