Documentary on Amartya Sen faces ban by Censor Board over words like cow, others

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Kolkata, July 12: The scissor of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), also commonly known as the Censor Board, is growing sharper with each passing day.

Now, the board has stopped the screening of a documentary-- The Argumentative Indian--on Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen, who has also written the seminal book of the same name.

amartya sen

The board told the maker of the film, economist Suman Ghosh, that the film could not be screened unless and until he beeps out words like "cow", "Gujarat", "Hindu India" and "Hindutva view of India" to name a few from it.

The film was shown to board members in Kolkata on Tuesday. The board gave the documentary a U/A certificate.

"The attitude of the censor board just underlines the relevance of the documentary in which Sen highlights the growing intolerance in India. Such scrutiny of any criticism of the government in a democratic country is shocking. There 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," Ghosh told The Telegraph.

In the documentary, shot in two parts in 2002 and 2017, 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...."
All the banned words were spoken by Sen during his various talks and interviews which are part of the documentary.

Talking about the backlash to the airing of his views on the present state of the 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."

Recently, the Censor Board hit the headline after it removed the word "intercourse" from Shah Rukh Khan-starrer film, Jab Harry Met Sejal. Before that, films like Lipstick Under My Burkha faced the "ban" imposed by the board, delaying their releases.

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