Monday November 19, 2018
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Ban on BBC documentary India’s Daughter: Why is it not surprising at all

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By Harshmeet Singh

The Government seems to be developing a special liking for the word ‘ban’. The latest in the series of absurd bans is the one on BBC’s documentary India’s Daughter, based on the Nirbhaya gang rape case.

Government’s argument on ban

What government has to say– Since one of the accused in the case said in an interview (which is a part of the documentary), “a girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy” and “A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. … Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes”, it would tarnish the image of India worldwide.

Banning a documentary in India to save India’s image outside India is a funny thought in itself. It reminds us when Slumdog Millionaire invited outrage from a number of patriotic Indians because they thought that the movie is showing India in the bad light by highlighting its slums, the very slums which really and home to over 50 million people!

Keeping aside the debate on what Mukesh Singh or his lawyers said or the quality of documentary itself, the decision to ban it from airing certainly doesn’t augur well for a supposedly liberal society, if we are one.

Did the Government’s decision help?

As with most cases, the ban on the documentary only enhanced the urge of masses to watch it. Notwithstanding government’s stern stand against the documentary, BBC went ahead to pre-pone the release and uploaded it online.

Considering that the filmmaker would have needed a string of official permissions to conduct the interviews at the first place, Government’s sudden decision to ban the film, after giving the required permissions, looks all the more surprising and hurried.

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Something bad happened? Ban it!

If Government’s reactions to ‘tough situations’ are seen collectively, the decision to ban ‘India’s daughter’ wouldn’t seem surprising at all. In December 2014, a 27 year old woman was raped by a cab driver in Delhi while she was returning home. Government’s action?  Ban the company’s operations!  Surprisingly, this decision came after the company showed all the authority-signed character certificates it had collected from the driver while hiring him. With theever deteriorating law and order situation, one wonders what would be the Government’s stance if it happens in a train? Ban the entire railways? We hope not!

Censor this, Censor that, Censor it all!

The list of recent farcical bans doesn’t limit itself to the Central Government only. The ban on ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ despite removal of all the scenes containing nudity is another example of the authorities imposing their wisdom upon the entire society.

The independent.co.uk termed India as an ‘ultra conservative country’ following the ban on the movie. Considering that the censor board asked the makers of ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ to remove the word ‘lesbian’ from the movie, ban on Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Such retrospective steps and doubts on the wisdom of society certainly don’t fall in line with the plans of making India a world force.

The recent beef ban in Maharashtra which drew some sharp reactions from all sections of the society also makes it to the list. From ‘trying to breach people’s freedom of choice’ to ‘trying to press the Hindutava agenda’, several allegations were thrown at the state Government. While some reactions could be termed as coming out of an emotional burst, the short sightedness of the bill can’t be overlooked. It highlights one of the several instances where the Government has levied its opinion over millions of people who may have held a contrasting point of view.

The Government’s decision to ban the documentary gave rise to International headlines such as ‘India bans film in which rapist blames the victim’ – Al Jazeera. It is for the Government to decide what actually brought a ‘bad name’ to the country.

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  • First of all who the hell is BBC to tell us what we should ban or not. Europeans always have a superiority.
    Secondly i give you reasons y it was banned.
    Violation 1- permission was to make a documentary and show it on a social service platform and it was premiered on “BBC”.
    Violation 2- the original footage was not submitted to Indian government which is an rule BTW.
    Violation 3- India demanded a stay on the release of documentary and they disrespected Indian sentiments by still going on an releasing the documentary.
    Violation 4- Name of the Victim was released worldwide.

    moral violations.
    Rape is an global curse the why India was only covered.
    i don’t think you are aware abt the bad effects of this Rape thinking. i belong to family who earn their livelihood through tourism. Not even a single tour passes when my father or uncle don’t have to answer this rape question by Europeans.
    latest German professor statement is an true example.

    As far as bans are concerned we are still living in an environment jaha ek prisioner aisa statement de sakta hai n claim Freedom of speech. Toh pls Some bans are important in dis diversity.

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  • First of all who the hell is BBC to tell us what we should ban or not. Europeans always have a superiority.
    Secondly i give you reasons y it was banned.
    Violation 1- permission was to make a documentary and show it on a social service platform and it was premiered on “BBC”.
    Violation 2- the original footage was not submitted to Indian government which is an rule BTW.
    Violation 3- India demanded a stay on the release of documentary and they disrespected Indian sentiments by still going on an releasing the documentary.
    Violation 4- Name of the Victim was released worldwide.

    moral violations.
    Rape is an global curse the why India was only covered.
    i don’t think you are aware abt the bad effects of this Rape thinking. i belong to family who earn their livelihood through tourism. Not even a single tour passes when my father or uncle don’t have to answer this rape question by Europeans.
    latest German professor statement is an true example.

    As far as bans are concerned we are still living in an environment jaha ek prisioner aisa statement de sakta hai n claim Freedom of speech. Toh pls Some bans are important in dis diversity.

Next Story

India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)