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A banning spree..!
By Robert Clements
Since the present government of India is on a banning spree; banning films, books and authors, it was felt, I believe, by a section of the same rulers that instead of going through the gamut of bringing out a movie, seeing agitations, and then invoking a ban, it would be better to have guidelines regarding the type of books that could be published, films that could be produced and authors who could be invited to the country.

"It is better we do this at the beginning itself than to have people insulted," said a senior member of the government to the organizer of a literary festival, who looked a little concerned.

"What type of guidelines?" he asked the organizer.

"Well, it is about a ten thousand pages long, but…"

"Ten thousand pages?" asked the organizer of the literary festival in astonishment, "What guidelines would take ten thousand pages?"

"We have had our own authors pen down books that will be allowed. All you have to do is to change the name of the characters! No ban, no protests, no love lost, no hate gained, and our nation marches forward as one single unit of thought! Doesn't it sound wonderful?"

"And who are these authors?"

"Why we government leaders ourselves! We are the best judges of what will hurt the sentiments of the people, so we have authored the guideline books. Are you a writer?"


"Then take a copy from my car quickly, change the names of the characters and you have a best seller. Maybe, you will have to correct some spelling mistakes, like most of the five and six letter words, and some grammar too, but otherwise, no ban, no protests, no…"

"I know, I know," said the literary festival organizer, "and films?"

"Same formula! No problem like poor Kamal Hassan faces; no demonstrations, no High Court tensions. Those poor judges can spend evenings in a more relaxed way now, than having to go through private screenings, or read books to ban or not to ban! How relieved they will be!"

"And the public?"

"What about them?" asked the senior leader in the government looking at the literary festival organizer, "What about the public?"

"Don't you think they will react to this direct affront to their freedom of speech and expression?"

"Ha! Ha! Ha!"

"Why are you laughing?"

"Luckily, those who believe in such freedoms don't react. They will sit in coffee clubs and their homes and tell each other how unfair the government is, maybe they will have one candle light vigil, but who is bothered; they are a minority. It is the other minorities we are bothered about; our vote bank..!"
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News Updated at : Friday, February 1, 2013
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