A documentary on Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen, will not be released in Kolkata as filmmaker Suman Ghosh has objected to the Censor Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) order to mute words such as “Gujarat”, “cow”, “Hindutva view of India” and “Hindu India” spoken by the Nobel laureate, The Telegraph reported.
Ghosh confirmed to NDTV that he has been told by the CBFC that his documentary will be released with a UA certificate requiring parental guidance only if he agrees to these cuts.
“The attitude of the censor board just underlines the relevance of the documentary in which Sen highlights the growing intolerance in India. Such scrutiny of any criticism of the government in a democratic country is shocking. There is no way I would agree to beep or mute or change anything that one of the greatest minds of our times has said in the documentary,” Ghosh told The Telegraph on Tuesday.
In ‘The Argumentative Indian’, shot in two parts in 2002 and 2017, the word “Gujarat” comes up in a lecture Sen delivered at Cornell University: “…Why democracy works so well is that the government is not free to have its own stupidities, and in case of Gujarat its own criminalities, without the Opposition being howled down and booted out….”
Asked by economist Kaushik Basu about the context of his book, Sen said that it was “really based on my understanding of the country… (and) the country was now being interpreted sometimes as Hindu India and sometimes as other restricted visions of the country….”
As part of the same answer, Sen used the word “cow” once while explaining the need for debate and argument. “…There was a kind of grandness of vision there, and an integrated picture which hangs together in trying to embrace each other, not through chastising people for having mistreated a cow or some other thing, but dealing with people in terms of argument.”
Talking about the backlash to the airing of his views on the present state of the nation, Sen said, “Now a lot of people would disagree with my view of India…. Whenever I try to take this rather grand view of India, which is not the banal Hindutva view of India, whenever I make a statement, I know the next morning I will get 800 attacks on social media of four different kinds…. I can see there is an organised attack (by a particular political group)…. Now the main thing is not to be deterred by it.”
On Monday, a private screening of the film was held at Nandan III, after which Sen fielded a few questions on intolerance. “So many of our democratic rights are being violated but nothing much is happening…. I think we are not responding and that worries me,” he had said.
Commenting on the same, Harvard history professor Sugata Bose said, “It is a preposterous and unacceptable assault on the freedom of expression. The film ought to be given a certificate immediately. It is an academic film primarily where every word has been carefully weighed.”
According to Bose the censor board’s reaction is at one level puerile and at another reflects an atmosphere of unreason in the country today. Talking about their objections, a member of the censor board said: “I cannot comment on this.”
(Feature Image Source: PTI)