CBFC does it again: Words like Cow, Gujarat, Hindu India censored in Amartya Sen documentary


No ‘Cow’, ‘Gujarat’, ‘Hindu India’, and ‘Hindutva view of India’ allowed by CBFC for upcoming documentary on Amartya Sen.

The documentary on Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen “The Argumentative India” by Suman Ghosh is denied to be filmed in Kolkata due to his rejection of Central Board of Film Certification’s penalty of beeping out the words spoken by the Nobel laureate like “Gujarat”, “hindu india”, “cow”, and “hindutva view of india” and adding to it he was being informed that the movie could be only released with a U/A certificate only if he beeps out those words.


Ghosh told The Telegraph that “The attitude of the censor board just underlines the relevance of the documentary in which Sen highlights the growing intolerance in India. Such inspection of any criticism of the government in a democratic country is shocking and tere 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,“.

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….” and this documentary was shot into two parts i.e. 2002 and 2017.

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.”

Asked by economist Kaushik Basu about the context of his book, The Argumentative Indian, 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….”

On the present state of 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.

The private screening of “The Argumentative Indian” was done on Monday in Nandan III, after that Sen put on some questions on intolerance and descending of freedom of debate or expression in India. He said “So many of our democratic rights are being violated but nothing much is happening…. I think we are not responding and that worries me,


In the screening programme the Harvard history professor Sugata Bose, who features prominently in the documentary was present at Nandan. When he was informed about the censor board issue on “The Argumentative Indian” documentary by The Telegraph he 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 boards reaction to this was really “childish and silly” and at another it was “an atmosphere of unreason“.

When The Telegraph journalists contacted about their objections, a member of the censor board said: “I cannot comment on this.”

Filmmaker Suman Ghosh, who divides his time between teaching economics at Miami and making films in Bengal, is yet to decide on his next course of action.

Sources  :- The Telegraph



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