The Censor Board under Pankaj Nihalani has now come up with words that cannot be used in a documentary made by Suman Ghosh, a professor of economics in Miami on Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen,called “The Argumentative Indian.” The movie is titled after Sen’s 2005 work, The Argumentative Indian, which was widely acknowledged for its deep and authentic explorations of India’s traditions of public debate.
The CBFC has reportedly demanded that certain words used by Sen and other scholars and public intellectuals interviewed in the film should be bleeped out if it is to be granted certification for public exhibition. These words include “cow”, “Hindutva view of India”, “Hindu India” and “Gujarat”.
Strong protest against the censorship
Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib , noted historians joined in a strong protest against the action and issued a statement condemning the action. “We are shocked and angered by the recent Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) demand that certain words be excised from a film based on the work of the Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen.”
“The CBFC’s exertions under its current chair have long crossed the line from farce to tragedy. Occasional efforts to bring it to its senses, such as the stern judicial reprimand handed down in the Udta Punjab case, seem to have no more than transient effect. With its diktat on The Argumentative Indian, the CBFC shows yet again that its anxiety to protect the sensitivities of the political regime, overwhelm any manner of commitment to the Constitution and the law. At risk in this plunge into absurdity, are our most valuable traditions of free speech and debate.”
The signatories include many stalwarts of India: Irfan Habib Ashok Mitra, Romila Thapar, Shyam Benegal, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Saeed Mirza, Anand Patwardhan, Prabhat Patnaik, Mihir Bhattacharya,Ram Rahman, Parthiv Shah, Madangopal Singh, Vivan Sundaram, Nilima Sheikh, Sohail Hashmi, Geeta Kapur and many more.