Rizwan Manji

Indian American actor/comedian Rizwan Manji in a still from the video, which he created with actor Huse Mandvji as a rebuke to FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s new video promoting repeal of net neutrality. (video screen grab)

The ‘Battle for the Net’ has begun. In retaliation to FCC Indian American chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to repeal Obama-era “net neutrality” rules Dec. 14, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to control what users can see and do online with new fees, throttling, and censorship, “Team Internet” is pulling out all stops to overturn the rule.

Team Internet comprises of net neutrality supporters like startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, and YouTube stars, among others. Joining this long list of supporters of Internet freedom are actors Rizwan Manji and Huse Madhavji, who released a hilarious but poignant video Dec. 15 explaining how the new rules will shape everyone’s lives, and how they can still use the Congressional Review Act to vote on a “Resolution of Disapproval” that overrules the FCC vote.

The video stars Manji as FCC U Chairman Ajit Pai, who opens the minute-long act talking about how there has been a lot of “discussion about my plan to restore Internet freedom.”

“Just a few things you’ll still be able to do,” Manji says on an optimistic note. “You’ll still be able to grab your food.” And the order is marred by slow internet speed as suddenly you are staring at the buffer sign, “And your internet speed is slow.”

And as another example, Manji as Pai says, “You’ll still be able to post photos of cute animals like puppies.” Again, the video is obstructed by the warning: “Brown person detected on screen verifying immigration status.”

Making his sarcasm more apparent, Manji says, “And if you are watching this on the Internet,” stops midway and breaks into a dance.

The short but powerful and effective video directs the viewers to www.battleforthenet.com to learn how this decision affects them, and what they can do to save it.

The purpose of the video, Manji told India-West, was to issue a stern rebuke to Pai’s new video promoting the repeal of net neutrality rules. In a new video Dec. 14, Pai, in a Santa Claus suit, and wielding a fidget spinner and a toy gun, was shown making a case for repealing net neutrality.

In the video, Pai insists that the FCC’s goal is to “restore internet freedom” and that after the ending of the “Obama-era regulations” you’ll still be able to shop online, upload photos of your dog, binge-watch your favorite shows, shop for Christmas gifts, and do the Harlem Shake.

“83 percent of the U.S. population is FOR net neutrality including three fourth Republicans,” Manji told India-West. “A five-member panel voted three to two to get rid of Obama-era regulations. This is insane and Ajit Pai’s horribly unfunny video has the most ridiculous point ever, “that you can still ‘gram your food???’”

“He either doesn’t know the implications of this or he is talking to us like we are idiots,” Manji said. “We wanted to make the video to show how dumb his video was.”

“The decision to reject net neutrality was a big announcement that will potentially affect every Internet user in the country,” Madhavji told India-West. “So, when FCC Chairman Ajit Pai came out with his attempt to provide comfort to Americans, we thought, hmm… He should’ve filmed something like our video!”

Manji’s video ends with the message: “There’s still time to save net neutrality.”

Watch the video here:

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