“When I heard about the documentary I was hurt. Under no circumstances should this be telecast. So we got a restraining order from the court.” Rajnath Singh.
We cannot ever define a criteria for a ban. There is no direct rule that tells us to ban something. But do we have one in India? Is there a ban on anything that depicts the reality or the truth behind the most grotesque happenings in this country? Are we only banning things that we want to hide? That’s a question many people want to ask our Government. There is another question that not only goes to the Government but to the people of India as a whole. WHY do we get offended SO easily? What is the reason? If there is a person in this country who gets offended with the kind of films Salman Khan acts in, repeatedly, he or she does not go and watch it anymore. They may think it is a waste of their time. But if there are people who do not appreciate AIB roast or are offended by it, there is no “I don’t like it, I won’t watch it” for them. Immediately, all those people, most of whom probably abuse in their daily lives as well, have their morals hurt. They turn into saints and start having a problem with what other people like. We constantly try to portray our society as a beautiful little flower with not a spec of dirt on it. This inference is either gained by walking around the streets blindly, not watching a single news channel or reading a single newspaper or just plain “I cannot accept the shit that’s around me” attitude.
We have a member of the censor board who I won’t name, comes on Arnab Goswami’s dramatic showdown one night and tells us about how even if there is a film depicting the underworld, the characters are supposed to speak in socially acceptable language. Who are we kidding? Has this gentleman ever walked in the street? Has this gentleman ever sat in a bus? In a train? Has he even gotten out of his house? This is the denial that is costing us on a daily basis. Does he live in his self crafted reality in which he walks around the country with every body speaking socially and morally acceptable language and every unmarried person roaming on the streets as a virgin? If not, why should the artist be constrained to tell his or her stories in not only an unrealistic way but in a stupid, senseless, baseless, and irrelevant way only because a group of members of a body that has the right to call shots on somethings is not willing to accept the reality?
Leslee Udwin’s “India’s daughter” is an exceptional take on the current happenings in India with a strong universal emotional value. It pierces minds of it’s audiences by generating an insight into psyche of the rapists and the people defending them on the national stage. But no. We cannot allow our citizens to know what kind of a society they live in. We need them to believe that everything around them is safe and beautiful. We cannot let the people realise what they know already. We need to hide our identity and believe that we are a gorgeous society with problems being a thing of the past. Let us ban it.
What is it that brings out this Saint in some of us all of a sudden? It is the blanket we use to cover ourselves and tell ourselves that our surroundings are unpolluted, clean and every activity that happens around us is socially acceptable. The ones that are not socially acceptable are being taken care of “by the law”. This is the India we think we live in. We gain some kind of a satisfaction when we ban something that is nothing but a landscape view of only SOME of the intolerably grotesque incidents that have happened in this country. We get hurt. We get offended. But do we get hurt and offended by these portrayals of reality as much as we got offended when they actually happened? If that is the case, nothing more can even be said. If that is not the case, no ban on a reality portraying art form is justified.
No speech on development is acceptable when the Country is living in denial of some of it’s most disturbing problems. The Ban fever needs a very serious medication. It not only makes us feel ashamed about the fact that we are running away from reality, it also says a lot about our Government on a global stage. Are we trying to say that no body has heard about the disturbing rape incidents in India? Well, the entire World reads and watches everything reported about every rape incident taking place in India. Banning a documentary made on the same is not going to help but it’s going to show how we are hiding from our problems, to the whole World. Just like how banning “Curse Words”or AIB Roast, or something as small as trying to ban a song from a film for a line or a phrase or a word that offended a few people is not going to “make the society better”. It is only going to add to the list of examples of how India, as a country, is running away from it’s problems, failing to accept what goes on and is hiding from most of the disturbing aspects of reality and also the ones that are not disturbing but are just, plain real.