Nalin Yadav, a co-accused comedian in the case of standup comedian Munawar Faruqui, has quit his passion to make people laugh and now works as a daily wage labourer earning ₹200 per day.
Yadav, who recently came out on interim bail, was arrested along with Faruqui and five others for allegedly "insulting Hindu deities" during a show in Indore on the night of January 1. The police action came after Eklavya Singh Gaur, son of local BJP MLA Malini Laxman Singh Gaur, filed a complaint against them.
The 25-year-old was released on bail on February 26. The 57 days which he spent in jail turned his life upside down. He went from being a famous comedian in Indore to working as a labourer in an industrial area in Pithampur of Dhar district, reported Hindustan Times.
Yadav said that his friends and family recognised his talent and encouraged him to pursue a career in comedy.
''I took these words very seriously and decided to become a comedian. I didn't feel bad when I used to receive appreciation of one or two people on my jokes, but now, after doing hard work, today I am left with nothing but to do petty jobs to make ends meet,'' he said.
While talking about the hardships he faced in life, Yadav said that he lost his father a few years back and his mother four months ago. However, he said his friends, family, neighbours, and his 17-year-old brother Akash loved and took care of him.
"Even when I was in jail, I didn't feel bad and depressed because of the support of people and four friends - Prakhar Vyas, Edwin, Sadaqat Pathan - and a minor, who used to support me in organising the comedy shows," he said.
Yadav said that when he was released from jail, he expected people to sympathise with him and support him, but instead, several people severed all relations with him and his brother.
He added that nobody contacted him after returning from jail in the past 25 days. "Neighbours saw me as if I am a dreaded criminal or some obscene person. A few friends, who helped my brother with collecting money for my bail, don't want to support me anymore."
Yadav contacted some café owners in Indore where he previously performed as a comedian, but the owners requested him not to reach out to them again. "Three days a week, I spend convincing people that I didn't do anything wrong and four days I work as a labourer at an industry. My younger brother is also doing a private job to restart life," he added.
When people asked him to post the video of the whole incident, he declined. "I don't want to take advantage of a situation that has just taken something away from me," Yadav said.
"My entire hard work went in vain because a few people got confused and lodged a 'fake' 'complaint without any proof," Yadav said, remembering his arrest with five others on January 1.
Yadav recalled that he gave a five-minute opening performance for Faruqui, and when he appeared on the stage, an uproar erupted, and people attacked them. Many people fled the venue, but the five of them decided to stand by Faruqui in an attempt to uphold the city's honour and keep the comedy show tradition alive.
Yadav said they thought they were the victims. Late at night, they found that they were the accused and would be sent to jail.
"I don't know whether I will continue in this city or not. But I am afraid of losing my confidence, facing people and having doubt on my words that spread smiles on the faces of people for five years," he added.