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Censorship Serves a Minority

By Manvika Gupta

Living in India, we often encounter instances of our government censoring dialogues and lyrics that are meant for entertainment purposes. Some people may think it for the best that certain ideas are kept at bay, however, this article illustrates a few of the many reasons why censorship actually causes an imbalance and is not justified in areas of entertainment.

First of all, what we are dealing with here is a form of art, as well the subjective perception of that art in the minds of various people across different age groups and time zones.

Everyone has a personalized concept about art, and similarly everyone has a different idea about what is offending, explicit, vulgar and inappropriate.

If the team behind a particular song or a movie thinks that it is necessary for their piece of work to have a word like ‘fuck’ or ‘sex’ and the targeted audience understands and accepts this, then I do not think there is anything wrong with that.

Five, ten or fifty people cannot, and should not, decide what might offend or be inappropriate for the masses.

People are their own judges and it is up to them to decide whether they want to listen to a song in the same spirit in which it was intended to heard and the spirit in which it was created.

For example, there is a song with the lyrics, ‘mumbai ki na delhi wallo ko pinki hai paisowalo ki;’ which has the potential of four groups of people being offended in just two lines. However, if any of the mumbaiwalas, delhiwalas, paisewalas or people named pinki for that matter do not like the song and they think it offends them, they can just press a button on their T.V. remotes and voila! The channel changes, and they no longer have to watch or hear the thing that offends them.

I think it is very discouraging to the creators if they are unable to voice their opinions in the language and the kind of expression that they see fit.

One day I can wake up and decide that, ‘I am offended by people wearing neon coloured clothes.’ Does it make the job of the government to ban them? Do they have to stop production of neon coloured clothes just because it is offending me, or a fraction of the population? Or rather, is it my job to live with it as other people continue to live their own lives and make their own choices?

To the people that may say that lyrics like ‘I swear chhoti dress mein bomb lagdi mainu’ have the potential to instigate eve teasing, molestation and even rape, I will say that only two kinds of people form the reason behind crime – the people with the kind of sick mentality to carry out deeds like these and people who blame it on things other than the perpetrator of the crime itself. A kind of person who commits crimes like these isn’t really waiting for a song to bring that thought into his/her mind.

Another argument for censorship is that it protects the rights of the people who find such content explicit and demeaning. However, I will counter argue by asking whether it isn’t equally the governments duty to provide people with the right to voice their view in whichever manner they think is appropriate? Doesn’t censorship attempt to place everyone in the same basket in regards to something as subjective as art? What about the people who like to experience this form of expression? Isn’t it the government’s duty to protect the choice of these people?

Letting a group of people decide what you can create or what you can view is like saying ‘I don’t really give a fuck about my freedom of speech and my right to make my own choices.’

I would like to end by saying that ‘censorship’ is just ‘protecting’ a ‘minority,’ but as we know, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.

Manvika Gupta is an EcoHons Student in her first year from Delhi University. In the future, she sees herself as an Economist and wants to pursue MA in Economics as higher studies.

Edited by Nandita Singh

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