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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.

  • 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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Don’t Play Politics With Rape Incidents

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Now even the rape case is taken as a mean for those political ends. Therefore, any incidents of rape are interpreted and handled in unethical ways.
Bollywood actresses showing their anger against the Kathua Rape Case victim

– Salil Gewali, Shillong

Most of the political moves in the world are guided by self-interest. Here the human prudence is just trampled over and thus many hearts are hurt.  This fact is true to the letter in the Indian political sphere. Yes, our leaders easily trade their souls to meet their ends.  National interests are just bet — even with the enemy fold. Media and celebrities are often used for the job.  What more, even education is politicized, radically distorted to fit in with the “mission”.

Now even the rape case is taken as a mean for those political ends. Therefore, any incidents of rape are interpreted and handled in unethical ways. The moment a rape occurs, the political leaders take sides accordingly, so also the media. The Kathua rape had become a case of crises for the ruling party. It was a low point between the opposition parties and the government. The opposition leaders hurled the criticism against the BJP.  But it’s becoming much clearer now that the case was specifically “used” as a tool to sever the bond between the Hindu and the Muslim for the political gain. All available methods were tactfully employed then to defame the government, nay even the nation. What harm it has done is beyond the mental calculation.

Now even the rape case is taken as a mean for those political ends. Therefore, any incidents of rape are interpreted and handled in unethical ways.
Media is not highlighting the rape cases properly. Pixabay

Please look at the following cases which did not prompt such drama, though much more serious then the Kathus’s case. Very recently a gruesome rape was committed in Nadia district, West Bengal by a TMC activist Sheikh Bappa where a six-month pregnant relative of a BJP candidate was the victim. But no such uproar heard. In another appalling case, a Maulavi sexually abused “six children” at a Madrassa in Telangana.  But can you believe, this case totally failed to evoke the sympathy of so-called great people, nor did the media carry the news? All columnists went into hibernation. But why? Again, in Jharkhand, one dairy owner Ashif Iqbal raped his employee, tried to convert her to Islam by forcefully making her eat beef. He also threatened to kill her girl child. It never became an issue. Have you heard that another Kathua-like case happened in Khajuraho at Rajnagar about two weeks back? But no media thought it is worth the tears of the country’s citizens as an Asifa’s case.  This sadistic crime on a 3-year-old girl was committed by 19-year-old Tauhid Khan. Police have filed a case against Tauhid Khan.  Why are this time Bollywood stars not beating the breast and condemning the crime? Why are there “different prisms” to look at the same kind of crimes? Is this not a very dangerous trend? Please book the criminals who are raping the society.