Every day, I check the reader for the blogs I follow. Today, the Daily Prompt was Banned. and it tickled me.
In India, there are plenty of reasons for a ban. Bans can be official or unofficial. The most recent chaos being the one surrounding Karan Johar‘s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. And bans extend to everything, from books, movies to porn.
Porn was banned in India for a few days. The government banned it and then relaxed the ban in a matter of a few days. Read about it here. And another write up on it here. Interestingly, some of our elected representatives have been seen watching porn in the assembly. God forbid an average man gets caught watching porn at work! but if you are elected you can get away with it.
As for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the chaos around it seems a little too unnecessary. So what if the movie has an actor from the neighbouring country? Does this mean that we are going to stop imports and exports as well? For all those claiming that they are patriotic and there for they stand with this sort of a thing, please pay your taxes honestly, and “Make Your Country Great Again!”
Banning anything seems meaningless. We banned books, but not cigarettes. We ban movies but we don’t ban littering on our streets. One good example would be 50 Shades of Grey. The movie was banned in India, but not the book. That does say a lot about our people, doesn’t it? If anything, it means we don’t read enough books. And that is a sad thing. Going by that standard, the ban on books like Satanic Verses is a good thing and must be taken as an acknowledgement of good work.
Where does this habit of banning things come from? In India, I think the most influential name can be Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi and his Swadeshi Movement come to mind. At that time, the artisans of India were suffering and so, it was decided to boycott foreign goods and embrace Indian made or Swadeshi goods. This, in turn, benefitted the local artisans and helped the people of the country. What do bans today do? Are they meaningful? What are they meant to achieve? Do they benefit anyone? And importantly, why are we not asking these questions anymore?
And importantly, why are we not asking these questions anymore?