BENGALURU: It was a struggle for Vasu Primlani, one of the top three stand-up comedians in the country, an international inspirational speaker, and a world-renowned athlete, to get to the point where she is set to receive the Nari Shakti award for 2016 on March 8.
In an interview with The Beacon, Primlani spoke of how she implicated in a false case, put in prison and vilified by the state of Karnataka and Thimmakka, the famous ‘tree-woman’ and environmentalist.
“I lost 10 kgs in 7 days. I went through severe PTSD for three months, wasn’t able to work or support my elderly parents. My father is 95, my mother has just been through breast cancer. I couldn’t go for my Ironman triathlon for which I had trained 9 months. I have cried for three hours at a time, in despair. My friends know those times and had been praying for things to get better. They say it’s an inspirational story. I only saw despair then,” she said.
“Who is a hero today? One who uses state machinery to harass people you should be proud of? What kind of state breaks Indian national laws and goes in for a witch-hunt after one of the most exemplary Indians in the world?” she asked.
Thimakka had alleged that Primlani had misused her name to raise funds in the USA and embroiled the latter in a cheating case. About Thimakka, Primlani said “And this was a woman I had sought to honour. I am so sorry I tried to respect her. I never will do so again.”
“I was told that if I give them money, the threats and harassment will go away. I got threats from Thimmakka’s lawyer, I got threats from Ramanagara cops, I was defamed by the Times of India, the Hindu, the Bangalore Mirror, News9, and the whole of rural Karnataka,” she said. She noted that the High Court of Karnataka had vindicated her and even stated that her detractors had harassed her for money.
On her comedian act, she said: “I foster change through comedy as it is the most powerful tool of communication, and the most disarming. It holds up a mirror to society. Once I was doing a set on Delhi men in Delhi. An elderly Muslim man came up to me and said, ‘What you are saying about men is true. I am a grandfather today, and I admit I still look at women like this. After today, Allah kasam, I won’t anymore.’
Primlani, who is to participate in the Ironman Triathlon this July, is training again with a champion as her coach.