Governments usually ban books and movies when they think it has or can upset religious sentiments resulting in a break down in law and order. While that may be the official reason, the ground reality is that it is connected to politics. The Communists became a pot among kettles when they banned Taslima Nasreen’s book Dwikhandito in West Bengal and when Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya ordered the cancellation of the screening of “Taurus”, a film which showed Lenin in a less admirable light. With all these bans, the governments made it clear that they would rather appease than take an honorable stand.
As usual there will be mob violence and selective outrage, but let not the Iranian Ayatollahs and Bangladeshi fundamentalists be our role models. Instead, it is illuminating to read these lines which Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul wrote in the M.F. Hussain verdict, “A liberal tolerance of a different point of view causes no damage. It means only a greater self restraint. Diversity in expression of views whether in writings, paintings or visual media encourages debate. A debate should never be shut out.”[JPG/PDF]
Governments usually ban books and movies when they think that it has or can upset religious sentiments resulting in a break down in law and order. While that may be the official reason, the ground reality is that it is connected to politics. Thus by banning The Da Vinci Code and The Satanic Verses, the governments made it clear that they can sacrifice liberalism. On finding that James Laine’s Shivaji: Hindu King in Muslim India had remarks that were deemed derogatory to the Maratha hero, the Maharashtra state government banned the book, showing that it is not just minority appeasement at work. Maharashtra’s ban also showed that laws made by local authorities might not be an obvious cure, but opportunities for customised pandering.
Our constitution writers were clear that democracy is meaningless without freedom of speech, and that people should live in a social environment that permits maximum personal and cultural freedom.
Our politicians though, play petty politics with this right. Our governments, independent of their ideology, have indulged in communal and regional politics to satisfy vocal groups. Liberals must oppose such bans and question the judgement behind maintaining such lists
You might be interested in the following as well:
- Epic Problems: My article in Pragati In an affidavit pertaining to the Sethusamudram project, the Central government told the Supreme Court that there was no historical evidence to establish the existence of Lord Rama or the...
- Announcing Pragati The National Interest web site has announced the publication of Pragati, a monthly publication consisting of the issues discussed at the national interest blogs. The community edition is available for...
- Democracy — Whore, Judiciary — Meaningless I have always wondered why Arundhati Roy is against democracy and prefers dictators like Musharraf, Saddam Hussein etc. I got my answer in her speech at Centre for Economic and...
In “A battle about history” (Mint,23 May), T.R. Ramaswami said certain dates for the Mahabharat war were suppressed and the Pandavs and Kauravs were outsiders, and even suggested that the Mahabharat and Ramayan took place outside India. Mint has published an article by me which uses genetic evidence to claim that the Aryan Invasion, which even historians like Romila Thapar reject, did not happen.
On the ancestry of Indian populations, research says there is no need to look beyond the borders of South Asia for the paternal heritage of a majority of Indians since the time agriculture began. Also, there is no evidence of people coming through the north-west corridor in massive numbers, indicating a South Asian origin for the Indian caste communities (and not a Central Asian one). And, there is recent shared ancestry between Central Asians and Indians, but it is explained by diffusion of Indian lineages northwards, which means some Indians went to Central Asia and got lucky.[Genetic data refutes theory]
Here are the two papers mentioned in the article
- A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: Evaluating demic diffusion scenarios by Sanghamitra Sahoo, Anamika Singh et. al.
- Deep common ancestry of Indian and western-Eurasian mitochondrial DNA lineages by T. Kivisild et al.
You might be interested in the following as well:
- The Genetic Distance between Karunanidhi and Mallika Sherawat Some Aryan invasion/migration theories are highly entertaining. One fascinating version originates in Central Asia around the middle of the fourth millennium B.C.E when an “unknown disturbance” triggered a cluster of...
- What Aryan Invasion – II “The perennial concept of people, language and agriculture arriving in India together through the northwest corridor does not hold up to close scrutiny,” The proponents of the Aryan Invasion/Migration theory...
- Ethinic India: A Genomic View A new paper titled Ethnic India: A genomic view with special reference to peopling and structure (via India Archaeology) reports on some interesting facts. The results are based on statistical...
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About The Author
This blog is written by Jayakrishnan. I am not a historian, but a history enthusiast. I am not an insider and so I am not bound by the politics and preconceptions in the field. I spend lot of time reading about the topics I write about and most of the information comes from books or papers. I also run a history carnival in the 15th of every month. You can contact me at varnam.blog @gmail or @varnam_blog on Twitter Unless mentioned otherwise, all images are from Wikipedia
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