raising the bar

It is only Thursday and India has already imposed six bans this week

You can't eat beef in Maharashtra, listen to the word 'lesbian' in a film, watch a documentary on the Delhi rape on TV...

First came the ban on beef in Maharashtra on Monday, after the President gave his assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, almost two decades after the state assembly had passed it under the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government in 1995. Under the new law, anyone found to be selling beef or in possession of it can be jailed for five years and fined Rs 10,000.


Meanwhile, the Central Board of Film Certification, which had failed in its attempt to push through a list of 28 banned swear words, decided that it could still contribute to keeping the moral fibre of the country strong by asking the makers of Dum Laga Ke Haisha to mute the word “lesbian” and ensuring that four other words – Ghanta, haramipana, haram ke pille and haramkhor – would also not be heard by the audiences:

The blog moiflightclub explained how precariously close the nation had come to be corrupted till the censors stepped in:
Well, nothing surprising there. But “lesbian”? What’s wrong with the word? or in what context is it wrong? We called up one of the Board members who was against it and we got to know the exact scene.

When the female lawyer is consoling Sandhya at the court and touches her face lovingly, her younger brother says – ‘Mummy…didi lesbian toh na hoti jaari..‘ Mummy says ‘Ye kya hota hai?‘ and then the brother says ‘Bade shehron ki bimaari hai..


On Tuesday, as the Times of India reported, the Patna High Court had banned the release of the film Dirty Politics in Bihar over allegedly objectionable scenes. Ironically, the censor board also got put on notice as the petitioner "informed the court that the film's lead actress Mallika Sherawat has draped India's national flag on her body, thereby insulting and dishonouring the national flag".  On Wednesday, however, the ban was lifted after the director and producer of the film submitted a written petition informing the court that "there was no objectionable scene in the movie and that the Central Board of Film Certification has given it a certificate without a cut".


On Wednesday came the ban on a BBC documentary, India's Daughter, featuring an interview with one of the convicts in the December 2012 gangrape-murder case, with the government promising to even prevent its broadcast abroad. The government cited technical grounds, claiming the filmmaker didn't obtain the proper clearances, and also on grounds of national honour, arguing that the film would end up hurting India's image. As a political slug-fest ensued, with the current government blaming the previous administration for giving the film crew permission, the BBC decided to advance its telecast.


And as we were putting this list together, came reports that Fifty Shades of Grey has been banned for screening in Indian cinemas. Said The Times of India:
A Universal Pictures source familiar with the review process said the board had objected to some of the film's dialogue, even after the studio made voluntary edits to the film to tone down its sex scenes and removed all nudity.

At the time of writing, Universal India had not got a written order yet from the censor board and therefore it was not sure if they would appeal the decision or not.



Video grab of Spring Zouk 2012, organised by a private company with the Karnataka government at St Mary’s Island, where foreigners were allegedly caught indulging in 'inappropriate behaviour'. 


In Karnataka, as it turns out, the government has moved to ban all parties where foreigners are invited unless it is under police vigil and the following rules are complied with, the Bangalore Mirror reports:
All parties and music shows should end by 10 pm; organisers should provide all details of foreigners who will be participating in the event at the time of obtaining permission; officials from the tourism and police departments should be allowed to videograph and photograph the show/party. The rules also prohibit tourists from staying back/sleeping at the venue after the event is over.


In other news, the European Union has lifted its ban on import of mangoes from India. That's good news for mango traders but not so good for consumers. After all, more good quality mangoes willl get exported, leaving us with the left overs.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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