EDINBURGH, Scotland — Hardeep Singh Kohli may have been born in London, the son of immigrants from India. But it would be hard to find a more passionate Scot.
“I’d rather die hungry and free than be part of something that has no f***ing interest in my future and my people,” he told a recent Scottish nationalist gathering here. “Because you are my f***ing people whether you like it or not.”
A well-known face on British television, the comedian and writer has emerged as a leading spokesman for the “Yes” campaign ahead of Scotland’s September referendum on independence from the United Kingdom.
In an interview, Kohli explained why politics, economics, history and a better sense of rhythm mean his homeland can’t miss the opportunity to break from British rule.
“Scotland has had a right-wing government imposed on what is fundamentally a left-wing country,” he says of Britain’s Conservative government in London. “Plus I believe in the self determination of people, and our ability to dance really ought [to] get us independence if nothing else.”
Taking a break from touring his current show, “Hardeep is your Love,” Kohli spoke in an Edinburgh pub before addressing a campaign dinner with local pro-independence activists.
The 45-year-old Sikh delivered an expletive-laden talk — part standup routine, part political broadside — wearing a shockingly pink turban and a T-shirt asking “What does a Scotsman have under his kilt?” The answer was provided on the back: an image of the mythical creature from Loch Ness, with the caption, “a monster.”
Despite the jokes, Kohli is deadly serious about independence. Successive governments in London have neglected Scotland, he says, imposing unwanted policies from austerity economics to stationing nuclear-armed submarines in Scottish ports… see more