Do bans make you curious?

When we stop children from reading something it is because they are not yet adults– but when adults are stopped from reading something, some suspicions are justified.

What don’t some adults want all other adults to find out?

If they have read a book and they have decided others should not read it because the book hurt their sentiments, one might wonder if that is an easy excuse… What if they are biased?

Couldn’t they have selfish motives? … Or they might fear being proven wrong? Could it be just an attempt to show, ‘Yes we can! Impose a ban!’ ?

I have reasons for my doubts.

Lajja was banned. Totally inoffensive.

Da Vinci Code is amongst my favorite books.

Jodha Akbar was entertaining, and Water was brilliant.

The Film Censor Board allowed violence and vulgar rape scenes but covered a simple kiss with doves, umbrellas and flowers.

Question: Do those who ban have better judgment than you and me?

Answer: Errr…


55 thoughts on “Do bans make you curious?

  1. he he he 🙂

    i agree they do i put all my efforts to grab the Satanic Verses… and the ones u have mentioned I have read all

    sometimes i feel that bans are way of gaining good publicity

    I did the same, went out of the way to check the banned out 😉


    • I watched the first Indiana Jones movies when I learnt that the TEMPLE OF DOOM was banned in India… !!!!

      thank god for the BAN i discovered one of my most favourite characters !!!!!!!!!

      😉 Like I read Lajja and watched Water only because of the bans 🙂


  2. Oh yeah, they do really make me curious. And these stupid guys do not realize they are giving more publicity to those they want to ban 🙂
    Many would not have even known about the book/film/whatever till there is a controversy surrounding it. Sometimes I feel it is a cook – up between the two concerned parties

    I suspect that too Bindu 🙂


  3. reminds me of billu minus barber, chaos after reference to mochis in an aaja nachle song.. i have not read lajja, but da vinci and water were nice. this ban ruckus has a lot to do with people being more and more thin-skinned / hyper these days..

    True Gauri, or maybe they pretend to be thin skinned? Billu minus Barber was so silly, I saw the movie… and the recent apology by Saif…


  4. Like the supreme court said in its rare display of common sense “If you don’t like what you see, switch off the TV!”

    And isn’t it easier to switch of our TV than to go around forcing the neighbors and strangers to switch off theirs… or setting TV offices on fire 🙂


  5. This is one of the strangest thing in this world or in our country which says its everybody’s right to express what they feel…
    For example, If I say I dont like some actors acting and it hurts my sentiments when I see them, will they wont approve that film. what makes them to qualify to do that job..? all they can do best is, just classify the film or book, on the basis of ages… we are as good as them to decide whether it is good or not… if it hurts ones sentiment, they can better sit in home and dont get hurt…

    I agree Kanagu! Some of us want all the freedom to dictate what the rest of us should read, watch and even how we recreate! They want everybody’s share of freedom. They also want us to stop thinking for ourselves… 😦 We better watch!


  6. It is supremely silly! I remember when Bandit Queen was banned for almost an year! And when it was released.. I saw it.. it wasnt that bad. Gruesome yes but not really vulgar.. way less vulgar than Mamta kulkarni at that time!!

    I agree. Serves no purpose except providing publicity…


  7. Such madness ! If anything banning just ensures that even people who had no plans to pick up a book will now probably queue up to get it 🙂

    So yes, if we want a book to be popular, easy peasy, just ban it 🙂


  8. i haven’t seen Ram ke Naam, but there was a huge debate about whether it was right to have shown such a ‘sensitive’ film on doordarshan.
    when they screened it in our college recently, almost everyone i know rushed to go see it. movies and books can be downloaded from the internet anytime!
    and what right does any one adult have to decide what is good or bad for another adult?


  9. You can’t please everyone . And the ban on Jaswant’s book makes me wonder whether Jinnah is like Hitler . How do you define , what comes under freedom of expression , and what does not ? Do you draw one line , or do you draw different lines for different kinds ?

    Banning a differing point of view unless instigating violence should be seriously debated – if the claim for banning is ‘hurt sentiments’ than it is too easy and too open to misuse. Also I would be very vary of any ban demanded with threat of violence . Infact vioelnce against innocent civilians is what we need to ban.


  10. Your post reminded me of the movie “The Name of the Rose” that I had watched a couple of days ago. Do watch it if you have the time.

    Here is the wikipedia link of the movie.


    I clicked on the link… am going to watch it just now…

    I guess sometimes the reasons can be genuine given that the cultural differences prevents one country to have the same view as held by other countries. The same can be told about individuals especially when books deal on issues like religion.

    But who is in the position to decide what should or should not be banned… Like I feel a lot of regressive serials and dialogues like ‘mera suhag’ etc should be banned. I know many others feel this way too…

    In an open minded society (which is considered to be a myth) banning books does not make any sense as it prevents one to indulge in mindful discussions, and the extend to debate what the book says holds true and if that should be considered as a time for change.

    If you are referring to the current fiasco of Jaswant Singh’s book being banned in Gujrat, well what can one say…

    Poor chap paid the price of becoming the scapegoat for the party (who apparently are doing chintan bhaitak and are not discussing the poll debacle) and the media is too responsible for the way it has talked about the book.

    They have said No to Jaswant Singh and they had said Yes to Varun Gandhi! Shows which way their priorities, and goals are directed.


  11. Bans are the easiest way to wash your hands off responsibility. By banning, the govt becomes a part of a mob just that its a legal mobster.

    Anyway with the internet, does bans work? I have seen the books/movies etc banned in India on the net. So, the internet is showing the middle finger to the govt for trying to ban things.

    Now so long as the internet is free! But I feel even without the internet, when did bans really work Philip? People always found the means to read/watch what they really wanted to!


  12. Lajja was one scary movie!
    It still affects me in a way no other movie has till date!

    Pixie it was based on a real story of a woman in Kanpur… Ram Dulari was I think her real name… it upset me so much, I hated it… Just like ‘Sophie’s Choice’… both haunted me for a long time. Truth it seems is much worse than fiction.


  13. They had banned Black Friday too which meant all the campus was buzzing with an illegal copy of the CD which was watched late at night.I loved the movie.I loved Water too.

    And yea, when someone bans something it makes me want to see why those so-called moral guradians think is not good for our society/culture and how can they make that decision for me

    SMM, exactly my feelings! 🙂


  14. One of my pet peeves! Yes, ban Lajja because it is offensive to Muslims, Water because it is offensive to Hindus, Jo Bole So Nihal because it is offensive to Sikhs and the Da Vinci Code because the Catholics don’t like it. Then start objecting to the term Barber, as well as Teli. Next, call for a bandh over terms like Driver, Carpenter and Cook.

    We need to be sensitive to these things……and since we don’t know better we should let the Class-10-fail politicians decide for us.

    Quirky Indian

    And then those who can, watch it, others continue to vote for tenth fail, jail returned 😦


  15. IHM it is a common tendency in human beings to go for forbidden things, to do what is forbidden is more exciting more adventours.
    a simple example although it is not so relevant to this particular context. to see a woman in bikni will not excite others so much than to see a woman with slight show of cleavage or slight peeping leg. what is hidden excites more
    and a thing which is banned makes us curious to find out why was it banned? and then ofcourse to boost to have seen, done or read something which is banned gives a different high and special status in front of others.
    it is definetly a publicity propoganda. I remember when qurbani was released in late 70s there was so much publicity that both the hit numbers of the movie aap jaise koi and laila mein laila were removed from the movie.
    people just rushed to see these two songs

    the children make it a point to see adult movies,adult books becasue they have been told not to.
    so i think banning doesnt help. what matters is self determination and self control.
    if something doesn’t appeal to me I should not favour it but why deny the oppurtunity to others who may not find it repulsive or against their values.

    “if something doesn’t appeal to me I should not favour it but why deny the opportunity to others who may not find it repulsive or against their values!!!” I agree!!


  16. I am a little apprehensive about posting my views here as that would slightly different from all the comments published above, but I hope if I am right i would be able put my point and if I am wrong, I will be rectified, true blogging spirit 🙂

    So, I would agree with you I don’t support banning of books, movies or any other art for that matter for nudity,vulgarity but when it comes to anything that might have an impact, we should think little deeper. Now, let’s not forget that we all who are commenting here are educated, cultured and rationale people. But that is nor true for everyone else, and outside there is an another society where people are uneducated, don’t have their independent thoughts, easily vulnerable to the tricks of political leaders, who just needs anything, any damn issue to gain their own interest.

    Now, when Satanic Verses is released, it is very much easier for a Muslim political leader to agitate a group of people (even though they are minor, now here I am not talking about the minor Muslim community, I am saying the number of Muslim people who gets agitated are minor among the greater Muslim community ) and cause social disturbance, be it burning down the shop who was selling the books, or may be road blocks or even causing or at least triggering a Hindu-Muslim fight in his locality and same is true for M F Husain’s painting about Hindu Goddess, where the Hindu political leaders try to exploit the situation. Now, ideally in such situation, the law & order should take control of the situation and if it takes, not much harm is happened. But what happens in our country, the people at the top, the people making the decisions are politically/religiously biased and so true democracy is never established. So, in such cases if we decide to ban the books or paintings, it is not the right thing to do, but probably keeping the society in mind to avoid unnecessary disturbance, to keep the harmony, it is the best thing to do.

    I agree Mustaf but bans don’t create peace, once the political leaders taste blood they become greedier, they create more issues, from books and movies about religion, now they are even objecting to Billoo Barber, they need some excuse to create a controversy. If we continue to pander to their whims they will go on bringing the standards of tolerance even lower… see what happened in Mangalore? And I as watching on the TV, how crime has risen in Mangalore.
    There is no end to the demands of those who wish to claim hurt sentiments. It’s true that poor people are sometimes gullible, but they should also see that this country does not tolerate intolerance. Just think Mustaf, if we keep banning, will this not keep getting worse?


    • With due respect, I would still like to differ from your opinion. I agree with you that ban don’t create peace, may be but in certain cases it helps preventing a massive chaos, the worst a religious clash.

      Now let’s go little deep and think who would decide what to ban and what not.As some one said in the comments that the jury should be a mixed bag of people who are responsible decision like this . Isn’t that an utterly generalized statement, can you think of how do we practically implement this? Now, the other alternative left to us as I see is we ban “banning” itself i.e. everything is available. Do you think it will make the situation better than we are today?

      On a slightly different context, think you have gone for morning walk with your kids to a nearby park and you find two young people in love making, quite intensely.Would you feel comfortable? Would it better to ban it inside the park? If we do, who decides and what if those young people don’t agree to the ban? The problem is who will decide, then what to ban, then what if people don’t accept those deciding people?It is a complex issue, and I am doubtful if any solution, practical solution is possible!!


      • Mustaf, Sorry to say but I disagree with you. If a couple is making love in their garden we should not object as they are doing it in their private property and you always have the choice of not looking. If a couple is making love in a public park then they can be prosecuted as public parks are not meant for such an intensely private activity and you cannot do what you want in a public place . If you do not like a book write a bigger book critizising it. You can even do a peaceful demonstration before the book shops selling the book. Fundamentalists and fascists use the threat of violence to attain power. Giving into their threat means end of liberty, freedom and democracy. I think more than the illiterate poor masses it is the educated but insecure middle classes who are taken in by the political propaganda of religion in danger.


        • Hi Chakran,

          You need not be sorry to disagree, everyone has their opinion and that’s the power of democracy:-)

          Righting a bigger book is not a practical solution at all, not everyone can write a book. what will they do?

          Now, you mentioned about peaceful demonstration. Let’s say we do it, then what next? some people are demonstrating against it because they find it objectionable. So, what shd the administration do now, they have to act right because people are objecting it?So, then are we not back to square one that again it goes to a group of people who decides what to do.and the moment, they decide something(may not be banning, something else let’s say ), I am sure there will be hell lot of people raising their voice like “who are these people? how can they decide what right and what not?” etc etc..

          I want to emphasize again that I am not in support of ban, I am saying in some present context banning might be the best solution, not necessarily the right one, but what I am arguing most is that, I don’t see any practical solution for this problem, at least in Indian context. If any one has the solution ( a practical one, not theoretical bookish ideal solution), I am happy to agree and shut my mouth!!


        • Mustaf, What I said is the only practical solution. If we all have the guts to stand up for the personal liberty and freedom of our artists and authors regardless of their religion and political views we can change things. When the politicians see that a large majority are for personal liberty and artistic freedom they will definitely act against the goons who are against freedom of expression. First you should have clear view about it yourself. That is the theory part. Then you should try to convince your friends. IHM is doing that with posts like this. If each one of us do that in our own way then we can make the world a better place.


  17. Yeah definitely, I’ve been thinking since last night whether to buy this book Jinnah or not. Or else, I wouldn’t have given a damn…

    But seriously, why ban books / movies??? A book is not a statement, it is just an opinion, how can we ban people from airing their opinions? I definitely want to see what every person’s opinion is about history which I wasn’t a part of.

    Modi is getting stupider by the day. ‘sathiya gaya hai’ seriously.

    Rakesh I wonder (and this is also just an opinion) if these guys teamed up to create a controversy, to ensure the book sells internationally?


  18. Yes those which are banned will definitely make us curious…
    these days its understood that if a book is banned it should have something in it which is not understood by narrow minded politicians people..

    I agree Mystery


  19. I have never ever understood this concept of banning things/people/books..whatever…even for that matter strikes and bandhs that are so everywhere..
    I mean if you dont like something/somebody…move on buddy…there maybe other people who like it. Just becuase you have a loud voice and have the means to make yourself heard or vsiisble doesnt mean that you will enforce your views and opinions on junta. Cmon, gimme a breather. Hope we as a country someday become more mature and tolerant.

    Loved your words Maria, highlighted them.


  20. Bans definitely get people curious… and that’s why such controversial bans are used as publicity stunts in bollywood pretty often.
    Who knows if the ban on the book is actually a planned publicity stunt only ?
    Anything and everything is possible when opticians / celebs are involved.
    I also agree with you point that while they are allowing total nonsense to be picturised…why to raise issues against simple kiss or love making scenes.

    It seems they think it is okay to show rape scenes, but kissing and love making scenes might harm the Indian culture. I feel a lot of Indian adolescents have learnt about sex from these vulgarly depicted scenes, naturally they think sexual assaults are a normal reaction to feeling attracted to women.


  21. 😀 what will you say about billu without barber and aaja nachle without mochi 🙂

    That song in that movie sounds so weird… there is a blank after every Billoo!


  22. I dare these people to ban Caste and Religion.

    Ban against caste is the best thing that can happen to Hinduism, I join you in that dare Silva. But they will fight to to save the castes discrimination !


  23. Frankly speaking, I feel that bans are not the result of good or bad judgement but it is the result of absence of any judgement at all absence of intelect on the part of the self styled judges banning some book or a movie. It is the result of mindlessness.

    I agree Mr Balvinder Singh!


  24. ban makes it more attractive … not interesting .. but the thing is, a ban means there is something “REALLY” interesting in there …. so, most of them become huge successes ..

    ban means u have something ‘rare’ in there, something u cant find anywhere else … etc … that makes it interesting too

    I agree Dinu, that is exactly what happens… and plenty of free publicity! 🙂


  25. Bans are nothing but promotional stunts to get free footage and promotion. If you see the trend, all the movies or books which were controversial and banned, ended up doing good, if not better, business. Thanks to piracy as well for that.

    They may do some good but I’m actually not sure. Our country is an emotionally charged nation. Small triggers lead to big chaos. People hold religion, culture, sexism etc etc very close to heart. Maybe thats why some think banning is a good idea.

    Just trying to see both sides of the coin.

    But don’t you think most of these emotions are charged only afrter there’s instigation by our political leaders? If we keep banning they will keep creating controversies? …. who decides what to ban? Not aam aadmi but the politicians. What do you think of the Billoo Barber controversy…? I think these people should learn differing opinions must coexist…


  26. Free world… free cinema… and a whole lot of people have no concept of this…
    Ideally the jury should be a mixed bag of people who are responsible for decisions like these…


  27. I think it must be a sign of the times … every time I read about a book or film (especially, a film) being banned, I automatically think that it must be a publicity stunt! Which automatically puts me off viewing that movie.
    When I’m more or less convinced that its a bonafide ban,however, it makes me angry. Because the authorities are assuming that I dont have the brains to think things through myself. And that they’re more capable of knowing what is right and what is wrong. And because they’re treating me like a baby.
    Curious? Definitely that too, but usually it’s to find out just what it is they found objectionable and how on earth they’re going to justify a ban this time.

    I feel the same Sunita!’Because the authorities are assuming that I dont have the brains to think things through myself. And that they’re more capable of knowing what is right and what is wrong’ …and I am suspicious of all their claims 😦


  28. You know IHM there is a hilarious book by PG Wodehouse called”Cocktail Time” about a book which becomes very popular when a bishop denounces it. A lot of the books you referred to- including the Da Vinci were read entirely because of their banning. Somehow the ban has the reverse effect. So also the Satanic Verses, though I am still to find someone who read it and was not more caught up in its politico social message that they found those passages “so offensive”. I think bans are ridiculous. and Book bans too. Speech should be free. If people dont approve of a view they may read what they like, not try to censor it.

    I must get this book Allytude! Recently Jaswant Singh said, “Banning a book is like banning a thought” 🙂


  29. Just saw a report – Jaswant Singh’s book is selling like hot cakes…flying off the shelves even in smaller cities. Bookstores are ordering advance copies!
    See, it worked! …bans are wonderful way to earn some money in this recession 🙂 we never have anything just like that in India…everything serves a purpose. Jai ho bans!

    LOL 🙂 Now I am not going to buy this banned book 🙂


  30. i’d say banning has the reverse effect…
    when u suppress something, ppl are even more curious to know about it! much like sex education hidden by a curtain in today’s (india’s) education system! 😛

    as they say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. what u may applicable to u need not be applicable to others.
    i found both Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons brilliantly written books, irrespective of the controversies…


  31. A ban is a form of “terror” created by the official or unofficial power- they can be appropriate or not – context is impt.

    A decade ago the movie fire was banned in some cities — ?


  32. the only solution that ppl have to their fear of facin he truth is a ban! 😛
    state of denial!!!

    not like if u ban it, the truth ceases to exist!!!

    and the sensitivity varies, and that must be noted i feel, before making a decision on what is “appropraite”

    damn IHM, “appropraite” also is such a subjective thought!!!!

    i find ill-treatin animals very offensive …. when are they banning that??

    i love Da Vinci Code, i did not even see any logic in the arguments for the ban….

    we are still living in the trap mentality of “earth is flat..if galelio says its round…arrest him and kill him!!!”

    if questioning, logic, seeking and sharing truth are seen as offensive and derogatory…. like wow… how mature are we?!!!

    IHM: Well said Craft Shines, we are still living in the trap mentality of “earth is flat..if galelio says its round…arrest him and kill him!!!


  33. I so agree IHM! This ‘ban’ on books and movies has had me confused for years! Who are these people to tell us what is or is not good for us!? How dare they judge our capacity to judge for ourselves!

    The graphic rapes in Hindi and regional movies are fine, but a movie like Water isn’t? Come on!!

    The ‘ManuSmriti’ and Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ are still in circulation, but we’re supposed to sit back and keep quiet about ‘Lajja’, ‘Satanic Verses’ and the ‘DaVinci Code’?


  34. Absolutely. I believe that;s what made Salman Rushdie and Tasleema.
    It goes without saying the harrowing times they have faced. But bans DID make them.

    We still remember M. F. Hussain for those nudes; Danish cartoonist came to be known all over world due to it.

    Today any publicity is good publicity.


  35. Yes. In general when something is forbidden our human mind is always curious. 😉
    Even on blog-o-sphere we see the controversial posts getting high hits. People keep coming back to read the heated arguments.

    That is why some very shrewd people in entertainment industry plays this card and often succeeds. Now the motto is ‘any publicity is good publicity’.

    BTW Jaswant Singh’s previous book was also controversial though I am still laughing at BJP VP Naqvi’s statement “banning is the sole prerogative of the state governments.”

    And what about a common man’s prerogative? 😀

    Naqvi makes interesting statements… !! I always think of lipi-stik and powder when I hear his name. 🙄 😡


    • Off topic: As someone tweeted, BJP should split. All intellects should make a new party and others should go back to their Hindutva roots and merry make with RSS.

      OMG Solilo! I thought I was the only one hoping for this! I do hope this happens!


    • Ha..ha..ha.. Lipstick and Powder. These politicians come up with gems. I think it was Sharad Yadav who said women in city are ‘par-kati auraten’ (women with short hair).

      I remember ‘par kati’ Solilo ) Many of us would fall in that category 😆 ha ha ha


  36. Why is Hindutva bashing so attractive? I rarely if at all see any intellectual argument made against Hindutva. I don’t see it here too…but bashing is important.

    IHM: This post is not about any bashing! This post is to cheer for our judicial system. Keeping an eye is important, a democracy is successful when we value our freedom and our right to choose and our right to reject, and very importantly our right to QUESTION

    This speaks of a mindset that assumes superiority. “I say, therefore it is.” Btw, I don’t think you’d root for an intellectual BJP that has Arun Shourie in it 🙂 but I would.

    IHM: Don’t know much to root or to hoot, but I was hoping he and Jaswant would make another party so that we will have an opposition that does it’s job of keeping the powers of the ruling party in check, sadly my hopes are lost like Alice in Blunderland. 😦

    There lies a huge lack of understanding of issues that confront the party, but that’s another thread.

    IHM: They need to think India, and stop thinking Hindutva.

    This brings me to another ban that’s rarely spoken against – the suppresio veri suggestio falsi kind of ban. It’s indulged in by our mainstream media regularly. Let’s talk about that too.

    IHM: I find the media is showing too many shows that glorify superstitions, traditions, sas bahu and big patriarchal families with bahus as ghar ki izzat ( I disapprove). We have many religious channels too. I read in a magazine that they make us conscious of our religious identity, that just might tilt the balance towards any political party wanting votes based on our religious identity.

    I noticed your for a ban on caste? Why?

    IHM: I am for everybody choosing their own caste and religion, specially in remote villages.


  37. Pingback: So how will banning cabs make public transport safer for women? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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