Nowhere is this more apparent than in the censor board, which has anyway far outlived its usefulness.
The depths to which censorship has sunk is shocking. Even extreme right-wing populism wouldn’t dictate such a course — excising common words and events out of history. Pahalaj Nihalani’s censors appear to have outdone themselves in bowing to their master’s voice, cutting out “cow”, “Gujarat”, “Hindu” and “Hindutva” from a documentary on celebrated Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen. Not since the Emergency days 40 years ago have we heard of officials cringing before authority like this. Maybe the new definitions of political correctness are driving officialdom towards this fear psychosis — having to second-guess the rulers seems to have induced utter servility. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the censor board, which has anyway far outlived its usefulness.
What makes censoring Suman Ghosh’s documentary more laughable is that this is taking place in an open Indian society in a modern era of social awareness where there are few secrets left beyond politicians’ darkest shenanigans. Given the many alternatives to submitting such films for censorship in this open media age, it’s fair to expect the entire film will soon surface in its original form. There’s a limit to pandering to the political sensitivities of Right or Left. It shouldn’t matter what opinion someone holds or whether we agree with him/her; but it’s only right we support his/her right to a viewpoint. Even great Hindu king Krishnadevaraya’s empire was far more enlightened than our 21st century. Nihalani and his censors are plumbing the depths of hypocrisy to try and deny that the Gujarat riots occurred or that cow vigilantism is a major social problem.