Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Cultural terrorism

Kamal Haasan has termed the protests that led to the ban on his film Vishwaroopam as cultural terrorism. Some Muslims think it portrays them as terrorists. Before that Salman Rushdie had talked of cultural emergency in India.
There is CBFC for certifying films. Once it certifies the film should be allowed for exhibition. There should be no ban. If some people threaten protests they should be arrested. If they engage in violence law should take its course.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Freedom of speech and expression repeatedly comes under threat. It is no case that a film or book should not hurt anyone’s sentiments. Somebody or the other gets offended due to something or the other. In one city in Russia they wanted a ban on Bhagavadgita because they found it extremist literature. In India Dalits do not like Bhagavadgita because it propounds caste system and keeps them low. Dalits wanted beef and pork festival. Some people opposed it. Many people who speak of freedom of speech and expression are hypocrites. They defend Salman Rushdie, M. F. Husain, Taslima Nasreen, Ramanujam, Rohinton Mistry, Deepa Mehta, but want ban on item numbers. Khushboo as an actress used to speak of freedom of speech and expression and was against bans. She joined DMK and justified ban on Dam 999. Now she is against ban on Vishwaroopam.
Jaipur Literature Festival makes news for the wrong reasons. Last year it was about the presence of Salman Rushdie. This time it was about four authors who read from Rushdie’s book and Pakistani authors. Two different groups did not want their participation.
There was no ban on Vishwaroopam in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Yet police in Hyderabad and Bangalore asked some theatres not to show the film. In Hyderabad a show was stopped and viewers could not watch the complete film.
The state fails in its duty to provide security and hooligans get away with crime. Artists and authors pay the price. On 24/1/2013 Madras High Court should have lifted the ban on Vishwaroopam as it was due for release on 25/1/2013. Instead the judge said he will see the film on 26/1/2013 and decide. Same day came news that Supreme Court has upheld the ban on Dam 999 in Tamil Nadu. If courts do not revoke ban on films there is no hope for liberty in India.

Updated: January 26, 2013 — 7:48 am

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