Indian Censor Board

After a few failed attempts to land on actual CBFC's website I got to this page. I don't know how accurate the clauses/criteria that have been listed are. On face value they do seem fairly consistent with what I've read about the censor board elsewhere.

What surprised me, however, is not so much they have such ridiculous regulations but the number of movies that have slipped under them. I can't think of more than a dozen movies that won't fit this clause alone: "anti social activities such as violence are not glorified or justified."

Either revise the regulations and amend them to reflect a more mature society -- or simply the social reality vis-à-vis the movies that have already come out with a CBFC certification -- or enforce every one of what already exists. It's not new for Indian burearacy to have something in paper and to practice the exact opposite. But the Censor Board of India seems to have reached new heights in this area.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Suresh,

While the indian censor board's lack of procedural adherence is definitely an (serious?) issue, I was hoping that you would share your thoughts on something that is far more relevant to the current political atmosphere.

Have you stopped caring or have you given up?

Suresh said...

If you're talking about the elections: democracy in India, especially the electoral process, has always been a farce. In the early years the electorate was mostly illiterate and now they are mostly corrupt. And those who contest haven't changed much at all.

Ramchandra Guha has often said that India's existence is a miracle. I think that the miracle is about to lose its charm. India is a few years away from the beginning of an era that's going to see perpetual degradation in every domain. It's soon going to be a police state where people are going to be crushed from all directions. People in turn are going to do their part in the ensuing turmoil (the Maoists and Naxals we have today would seem like nothing).

(Of course, as always, there will be a few strata that will still remain largely unaffected.)

You can see that even the farcical debates on television don't have any 'flavour' anymore. They've been bowled over by the fact the they are not able to make any reasonable prediction about election's outcomes, let alone the post-poll alliances. Politicians do not even try to cover up when they get exposed. People like Lalu and Jayalalitha have demonstrated it's of no use.

And yet some have the spunk to appear on screen and remind us of our 'duty'. Kiran Bedi is angry that not many have turned out to vote. She cries why should there be a holiday if nobody is going to vote. Is she for real?

The poor and oppressed have long given up on the polity. Their only interest in the election is the money they get for their votes. There will be a time when even that won't seem worth the silence. So it's just matter of when the Chinese made machine guns and explosives reach the black markets of India. That's probably the only variable missing in the transformation of India into Columbia or the nearer, Pakistan.

I don't follow elections even in Canada where there is some meaning left, let alone India.

Anonymous said...

My apologies for not being specific. I was thinking of two things:
1) Elections in India
2) The genocide in Sri Lanka

I will get to both of these in sequence.

Firstly, I would disagree with you when you claim that the electoral process has ALWAYS been a farce. This is not true at all, because if it were we would have seen no developments in almost any sphere, especially social justice.

I will not speak for the rest of the country, but in Tamil Nadu, if it weren't for the functioning, albeit, less than perfect electoral system we would see the entire government in the hands of "upper" castes. Thankfully, that's not the case. Of course, this is not to say that the "lower" castes will be ideal for society, but it will definitely be a better scenario.

While I have never heard of Ramachandra Guha (clearly, not as widely read as you), I will agree with him. India is like European Union in a manner of speaking but only worse. However, I don't believe India will soon become a police state for the only reason that for this to happen, you need a complacent populace. The examples you cite (Maoists and Naxals) are proof that people in India have not turned into sheep, yet. This future that you foretell of might happen someday, but I sincerely doubt that it will be in my lifetime.

I recently read an article on Hindu (maybe not the most credible source) on the differences between elections in India and the US. I can't seem to find a link to it online but I will post it if I find it. The article points out that the projected voter turnout for this (indian) election is around 65%. This is considered to be on the low side for India, however, if this were in the US, then it would be considered a very good turn out. The author reasoned that the difference in "normal" turnout is because the lower and middle classes in the US do not believe in the electoral process. Hence, the majority of the voters in the US are middle and upper classes. Furthermore, the author posits that the situation is "ulta" in India. In india, you find that lower and lower middle classes throng to the voting booths because their situation is desperate. As an e.g., if you looked at A.P, you will find that Chandrababu Naidu was a very promising CM. He was sending the right signals by attracting the IT sector to AP, an issue of concern for the upper middle, and upper classes. Naidu was defeated badly in the elections simply because he didn't address the issues concerning the poor.

Also, this is the reason you don't see (at least not any more) any national parties holding the majority. The ruling coalition has been, for the last few decades, an alliance of regional parties. Gone are the days of congress majorities. This clearly shows that electoral system in India is still functioning.

I do agree that the politicians in India are no better than the ones in North America (or for that matter any where). They are very unsavory creatures, and tend to discourage the confidence in the democratic system. I suppose the only reason people like Lalu and Jaya will get re-elected (and believe you me, they will) is because people hope that these idiots might still be able to do something for them or it could be because they are the lesser of two evils. Just as a side note, you gotta give credit to Lalu for revamping the Railways.

By the way, I do not know if you are aware of this but opinion polls have been banned in all media. So clearly, the predictions from 24-hr news networks such as NDTV, IBN are as meaningless as your 6 year old cousin's opinions on why sivaji was a good movie.

In comparison to Indian election and political scene, I submit that the canadian electoral process is as boring and bland as white bread (gives a whole new meaning to the true white north). I have had it with the conservatives, and I hope there is an election in june.

Now for the second issue. I understand that you might not feel as strongly about this issue as I do but I think you definitely have a strong opinion on this. I, among others who frequent your blog, would love to see more posts on this issue.
I find the silence on an issue so close to home and heart very painful. The mainstream media, as you pointed out in a previous post, has almost completely ignored it.

What I find really surprising is the indian govt's reaction. It is no longer a secret that the indian military is actively aiding the sri lankan army. It is rumored that the situation in sri lanka got worse after priyanka's visit to prison sometime last year. It appears that the gandhi family has taken the people of Tamil Nadu for fools. On the one hand, they denounce the genocide in sri lanka, but on the other, they are the primary facilitators of this mess. Do you really think that sri lanka would have had the courage to go forward with its genocide without the explicit consent of the indian political leadership? And not to mention, during a time when several dmk members hold plum jobs in the UPA.

And to add injury to insult we are subjected to this crap:
http://www.hindu.com/2009/05/09/stories/2009050953620400.htm
Just out of curiosity, how the f--k does a white boy like rahul maintain any credibility? I bet if rajeev had married a black woman, rahul would have been an outcast.

On a different note, I think karunanidhi, in his infinite wisdom, underestimated the reaction of the public to the genocide. His recent fast looked nothing short of a joke!
The only consolation is that this genocide is happening in an election year.

Suresh said...

Sigh!

I have already given why the elections are a farce. The election's outcome, as you've listed, is actually irrelevant from that perspective.

About India being/becoming a police state: you and I seem to live in different realities.

About Rahul Gandhi, MK etc.: I'm sorry, I don't feel like discussing Indian electoral politics right now. But I will say this much. Their political status and their stunts should not be viewed in isolation. After all, it's the land of the Ganges (where people eat corpses and so on).

Opinion polls are not banned outright. I saw some of them being discussed on both NDTV and CNN-IBN. The regulation is with regard to the time of their publication. FYI:
--quote--
No result of any opinion poll or exit poll conducted at any time shall be published, publicised or disseminated in any manner, whatsoever, by print, electronic or any other media, at any time during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for closing of poll in an election held in a single phase,” the EC notification said.
Ban on information
For elections held in multiple phases and in case of elections in different states being held simultaneously the notification banned dissemination of such information at any time during the period starting from 48 hours before the hour fixed for closing of poll in the first phase of the election and till the poll is concluded in all the phases in all states.
--end quote--

About SL:

India's role in the genocide is something only the elite and English media wouldn't see. For others it's been obvious for a long time (long time = decades).

Here's the breakup of what has been said elsewhere several times already:

1. First India -- RAW to be specific -- assisted the LTTE to destroy the organizations/people that wouldn't go the Indian way. But the LTTE was too fascist to be anyone's dog. Rajiv Gandhi's assassination underscored it.
2. SL remained quiet for sometime (as far India was concerned)
3. Then came a fascist to the helm at SL - Rajapakse(s). The timing couldn't have been better for the Chinese to step into the strategically important location. Pakistan's role is negligible compared to the Chinese.
4. Chinese funded and provided arms and ammunition to destroy the LTTE with inevitable "collateral damage". A mutually beneficial setup: the fascists have absolute control over the entire land mass (this include the Sinhalese people as well). The Chinese, for their part, have a new open market and possibly a military base.
5. India can't let that happen. So they tried to one-up the Chinese in assisting the SL govt. to incinerate Tamils. They provided arms and assistance too.

The current Sri Lankan arrogance is not necessarily fed by India; its source is more likely to be in Beijing. Even India cannot give them the power to snub England and France, and keep the US at a fair distance. Remember, it's China that's in the security council with a power to veto, not India.

India's hope is that SL will distance itself from China as India steps full time. If SL plays a double game and maintains its not-so-secret affair with the Chinese, India will try to grow a proxy, 'liberation' movement. A new bunch of people who would assassinate SL leaders until they bend over backwards, and still maintain their loyalty to India unlike the LTTE.

The scene will turn nastier if the Chinese decide to pursue their interests in Sri Lanka more aggressively. This is an era of shadow-wars. If India had the LTTE to 'check' the SL govt. of the 80s -- and someone else post-LTTE -- the Chinese may find some support from the Maoists in India.

What's common in all these equations is imperialism. To have a setup that will permit the exploitation of the region as a 'natural resource' and the people as servile consumers. Ethnicity and its politics are just a façade. So it's either the Tatas and Ambanis who will get to loot the most or some Chinese company (or the State itself). America and Europe may join in later when everything in 'peaceful'. As in Iraq.

Sudhir said...

I liked the fourth post. Especially the latter half. Thanks for that.
As for voting being my duty and all that dung, bullshit. I actually heard somebody at work tell me, "See, if you're not voting, you lose the right to criticise the government!" What the-! Who the hell are you to tell me when I lose the right to criticise the government? And who in the wide world do I vote for, anyway? DMK, ADMK or some 'suyecchai' who'll lose? Or even if elected, can't do jack-shit about anything? If an S Ve Shekher from the ADMK confesses to his inability to do anything 'constructive' because of him being in the minority, what could this little 'suyecchhai' fellow possibly do?
Anyway. Digressions aside, voting is pointless. As long as you're having to choose between time-tested evils.

Sudhir said...

"Democracy in India, especially the electoral process, has always been a farce." On target.
Minutes back, at the polling booth near my residence in Triplicane, about 15 people who jumped the queue once and voted, came back again and again and again to do the same. While civilians, some of whom were scared and some of whom were appalled, pleaded to the police, the policeman said, "We are waiting for extra security." When the goons came back again for the umpteenth time, the policeman looked at them, in an obvious imitation of pure pain, and said, "Don't disturb the civilians. Allow me to do my duty. Come back in a while and do it." What the-?! Anyway, relatives at other places, more or less, confirmed the same. Democracy. Hmm. Okay.

juvvi said...

true.

elections in India are a farce. If it weren't, BJP should have romped home this time.

it shows that all the parties sit on their asses as
the opposition and then work the last 2-3 months on winning the elections.

Sudhir said...

என்ன ஒரு மயான அமைதி!

Anonymous said...

Suresh, what do you think about this article?

http://jeyamohan.in/?p=2768

Suresh said...

I think most of us know where Jeyamohan comes from. He also has this really irritating way of answering questions in general; more so if he finds the need to detract someone/something. He starts building his own strawmen and starts punching them wildly. He thrives in this kind of non-sequitur, half-assed argumentation.

The initial question makes no mention of any kind of Marxists, but he goes on and on about how disconnected -- from the "people" -- and elitist they are.

Talking about Gandhi and his role in India's independence: this is a very vast and complex topic. Volumes and volumes have been written on this subject and they are re-analyzed in many cases (like, by the subaltern movement). Yet, people like him dare to present the whole picture in 500 words.

Just bring in Periyar and Ambedkar (who he wrote about a few days ago) to the equation and you start seeing unpleasant dimensions of the Gandhian movement. Add World War II and other things that were happening outside India and you have very complicated situation.

He also constructs a false dichotomy: either one mobilizes people for a non-violent struggle or gather a small percentage of the people and launch an armed struggle. Countries like Nepal have shown how people's mobilization can be augmented by an armed struggle. The key ingredient here is mobilizing the people and maintaining public support. Whether you go violent or non-violent after that point is based on the adversary. There are no perfect blueprints.

One cannot possibly discount the contributions made by Marx in this regard. (Not to mention the precursor Marxism has been for other literary/social discourses such as feminism and deconstruction.) Yet he denounces Marx whenever he has a remote chance.

He also talks about "people power", "static war" and all that. He says the British feared the people. Well? What they feared is the people's potential to turn violent (like they did during the civil disobedience movement). Again, it's rather complex, but we need to understand this basic dialectic. It's naive to suggest that an imperialistic power would become conscientious all of a sudden.

Also, non-violent struggles can never penetrate rigid ideologies. If the Chinese (and the people of China) think that Tibet belongs to them, Tibetans cannot overturn that simply by non-violent protests. Or Kashmir from India. Conflicts between factions don't arise out of clearly demarcated good and bad. So the notion of questioning one's conscience doesn't always work. What is conscience after all? It's cognitive dissonance. When all your beliefs are in sync, there's not weak-link to attack. (I've spoken about cognitive dissonance so much with my friends that they've almost started mocking me.)

Why doesn't he talk about how the Indian union came into being? How the "iron man" got Hyderabad to 'remain' a part of India? Or how Tamil nationalism was crushed by special legislatures?

Both Jeyamohan and Charu Nivedita seem to have finally converged on some opinion. But alas, even that has to be really stupid. They both talk about what has happened to all the countries that were born out of violence; well, let's take a look at those came out of supposedly non-violent means: India, South Africa? Are they for real? (If I didn't hate the American ethos so much, I would have probably posited America to contradict their opinion about violent means and all that.)

Anyway, this guy is not even worth reading, let alone responding.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Suresh. Your comment deserves to be a separate post. I have more or less same opinion as yours regarding non-violent struggle. Jeyamohan safely ignores the countries that got independece along with India in late 40s. Vietnam struggle, American freedom struggle were not non-violent at all. They succeeded and in fact within much shorter time than India. As you said , this is bit complicated situation. Good or bad debate is useless.

Prasad Venkataramana said...

Suresh,
Why not consider making a post/podcast on cognitive dissonance for the sake of non-friends?

Sudhir said...

Prasad,
Thanks for that last sentence. Read quite a bit, and found it interesting. Thanks again.

Suresh said...

Prasad,

The topic itself is fairly simple to understand (as you might know yourself), but yeah. I would like to talk about how it affected/affects me personally in various instances -- in a podcast, perhaps.

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