In history, the elitist determines the obsolete. After the cathartic cacophony over stopping the broadcast of the BBC documentary India’s Daughter, perhaps the word ‘ban’ should be erased from all lexicons, since India’s liberal regiment is outraged that the ban interferes with the freedom of choice, taste, expression and the entertainment predilections of the social aristocrats. Hence ‘ban’ should be banned because it takes away the right to abuse, insult, humiliate and mutilate. Any ban on filming a perverted parent, who brutally raped his three-year-old daughter, should be lifted to enable the socially enlightened to understand the artistic freedom of this gory act.
The deafening din over telecasting India’s Daughter indicates that banning the maniacal monologue of a rapist humiliating womanhood through his savage statements is an unpardonable sin. Their rage is not because gang-rapist Mukesh Singh has put the blame on Nirbhaya and women’s conduct, but because his satanic sermons (paid ones) reflect the ugly face of Indian society. So did the venal verbosity of some legal eagles who spoke disparagingly about the modern Indian woman. Strangely, the elitist club of candle carriers and Anglophiles has forgotten its own mass protests in December 2012, when they bayed for the blood of the rapists and sought instant Old Testament justice. Now, they seem to be indirectly justifying the rapist’s right of expression. Strangely, none of them has so far uttered a word on the lynching of another rapist in Dimapur, Nagaland, perhaps because the demographic composition of the crowd and the alleged rapist doesn’t fit into the ideological moorings of our soldiers of freedom of expression.
The protest against the BBC ‘ban’ is aimed at painting the saffron government at the Centre as dictatorial, intolerant and crass even though permission to shoot was granted by the Congress-led UPA government. It is the court that has imposed the current ban. But a section of Indian society would like to dictate judicial verdicts according to its social yardsticks. It would oppose any court that ‘dares’ to take away its right to access uncensored porn sites, defile Indian deities, and demonise Indian icons. Ideally, it would like the government to lift the ban on the filming and broadcast of ruthless murders of innocent people, followed by panel discussions by them and their types. Rooftop orators demand bans and jail terms for fringe and loony elements, which use inflammatory language against a section of society. Ironically, they would film communal riots in which the same leaders would be fomenting communal violence. They would support separatist elements in Kashmir who speak the language of treason, while demanding the heads of those who want to abolish Article 370 and enforce a uniform civil code. They would fight for a total ban on the activities of those who encourage ‘ghar wapsi’, but abjure seeking a similar one on those who convert poor tribals in remote villages with allurements. They roar like drawingroom lions against those who question Mother Teresa’s charitable intentions, but become lambs when Akbaruddin Owaisi spouts hate speeches. They would pounce on any media organisation that supports the majority cause, but they are happy to create class-based social media platforms, which support foreign media outfits like the BBC. They are convinced that the Indian masses are living in some primitive age where age-old family traditions that have kept India and its families together are Stone Age habits. They exclusively borrow opinions of foreign authors and intellectuals to bolster their case for the Westernisation of India. For them, banning Professor Amartya Sen from holding a much-misused chair in the Nalanda University is a gross attempt to muzzle academic freedom because he is part of the Oxbridge elite that tutors the fight for the unbridled freedom of the individual, mores be damned. The ban on Sen, they argue, must be lifted because it is a government, which chooses nationalists over internationalist Indians, that imposed it.
The imperialist hangover has not dissipated from the BBC’s mindset because it is famous for making documentaries on the ugly side of India and other developing countries. It has never documented the social sores that infect Britain. Rapes recorded by the police in England and Wales have risen by 31 per cent to 24,043 in 2014—the highest ever for at least 10 years, according to the Office for National Statistics. In January 2013, the UK Ministry of Justice, the Office for National Statistics, and the Home Office released its first-ever joint official statistics bulletin on sexual violence, which claimed that approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales annually. Last week, Mail Online disclosed that daily more than 35 women are raped—a record high. A tiny country of just seven crore people tolerates the rape of about two women every hour while in India, a nation of 1.25 billion people, three women are reportedly raped every hour. The Western media, including the BBC, have rarely recorded the ugly side of their own societies. How many times has the BBC visited British prisons to film the humiliating existence of Britain’s Daughters who live in perennial fear of perverse predators?
The outcry against the ban of India’s Daughter exposes the escalating social confrontation between those who want to guard their individual voyeuristic privileges and those who are fighting to protect the Indian ethos. The elitist manifesto wants India’s poverty and social disabilities to become an excuse for imposing Western culture and commerce on the country. The caterwauling over the ban on India’s Daughter is not just about the freedom of expression but concerns the prestige of the Indian State and its constitutional duty. India’s daughter needs respect and security from an illuminated society rather than an ugly display of violations by the Western media reaping commercial gains from the poverty industry.
Follow him on Twitter @PrabhuChawla