However, banning the release of any form of media, whether it is a book or a movie, is almost the worst kind of a political move. It gives free and massive publicity to the venture in focus, it makes indifferent people curious and makes them wonder if those in power have hidden skeletons in their closet. And don’t even ask about those people whose favourite past time is to blame the mysterious ‘system’ for all the ills that eat the world. Banning an artistic endeavour is one more point in favour of the argument these ‘system-bashers’ relish. The question here is then, why does the government ban in any case?
Years ago, the Iranian government had banned The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. There is no doubt that Rushdie is a brilliant writer, but that ban catapulted the book to a fame it might not have known otherwise. The book sold a million copies even before the debate about whether the book was demeaning to the Islamic faith or not could even begin.
Then there was the issue of Taslima Nasreen’s Lajja, which faced a similar fate.
In another book titled, The Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen has contended that traditionally Indian culture has been defined by a spirit of debates and arguments.
But today, at least in terms of what is politically allowed to be said outright, the space for serious debate has shrunk. ‘Politically correct’ is the buzzword.
Anything one might have to say, offends somebody or the other. But a democratically elected government of a diverse country such as India cannot afford to be so sensitive.
It cannot walk on eggshells and try to muffle any small voice of dissent. The more a go
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