Written by: Ashi Chaturvedi
Editor: Ritika Rana
The biggest virtue we humans possess is the ability to express what we think, it distinguishes humankind from all other life forms. But what if our right for expression is snatched away from us? What if we no longer can freely express the fabrics of our thoughts that our mind sews?
Well, exactly that happens when the Censor Boards impedes an artist to expound himself/herself in front of their audiences. We live in a country which entitles it every citizen the right to express freely, then why do Censor Boards even exists?
First of all, we need to be crystal clear in comprehending the meaning of censorship; in layman’s language, we can call censorship as supervision and control of information and ideas that are being circulated in public. Censorship is always portrayed bad but it offers many pros too. It was initiated to reduce the impact of hate speech among the masses and to protect children from unhealthy content. It also acts as a vehicle to stop false content and concomitantly protects the rights of artists, creators and inventors.
But the problem begins when arts get censored for political motives when censor boards start supporting certain political agenda, and this is not a new phenomenon it has happened time and again in our nation. Back in 1975, the film Andhi got ‘banned’ by Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India without being explicit about her actions. Critics called it ‘a move to protect the power over nation’. Likewise, the release of Tamil film Kuttarapathirikai got postponed for 14 years because the film showed Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination as a backdrop. History depicts us many more similar examples where books, articles and movies have suffered huge loss by hurting certain political sentiments.
Along with politics, religious beliefs and heteronormativity pose many impediments in the path of arts and artists. Films depicting homosexuality suffer a huge backlash from certain groups of people.
Censorship of art and artists is acceptable up to a specific extent but if the art doesn’t get recognition because of some people who believe in imposing their own political or moral values on artists then it makes the world ‘breathless’. It becomes destructive for artistic representation. Artists are supposed to be seen with love and respect. Democracy does not allow rulers or the whole system to demolish one’s creativity for its own sake.