A VERY OPEN OPEN LETTER – Siona Ahuja

To – The Indian Administration

Dear Sirs and Ma’ams,

You aren’t unfamiliar with banning – or as you presume “safeguarding the nation”, over dozens of films, photos, books, documentaries – which somewhat strikes controversy with the citizens. However, it’s totally justifiable on your behalf, because according to you, the opinion of all 15 crore Indians is the same as yours, isn’t it? Quite commendable, that you have done the job of every Indian parent ever, to compel people into believing whatever you say is ethical.

 

From banning books like Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses to censoring films like Lipstick Under My Burkha, the only source of pure, unadulterated, satirical comedy are the jokes and memes uploaded on the social media (or so we thought). However, this idea turned out to be quite utopian when news about AIB’s Roast being removed spread like wildfire back in 2014. The cherry on top was removing a meme on the internet which showed a lookalike of PM Modi with the much-overused Snapchat dog filter at an airport. I could probably go on and on about the list of videos, movies, pictures that are slightly progressive for this country but not at all derogatory.

 

The fact that we say we live in a country where the freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed, is truly outrageous when we are simply denied access to anything deemed ‘controversial‘. Generally, in the comedy genre, black comedy movies are the ones which acquire the largest amount of attention and hostility. Experimental Bollywood movies like Delhi Belly and Peepli: Live show us the ugly side of the cinematic world. However repugnant they may be, they show the truth, and nobody can eradicate the truth. We all are living in a country of suicides, corruption, gender-related issues, among many others and anyone who thinks this is not true is just kidding themselves (or you’re a government official yourself, perhaps). On no Constitutional basis should the government ban all these forms of media and still, we call ourselves a liberal developing nation.

On (most of) the country’s behalf, I suggest that you withdraw these films and videos out of their forbidden territory and start censoring the slapstick and moronic films like Humshakals and De Dana Dan!

 

Thanking you,

About 70 percent of India’s population

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