Vantage point

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More Catholic Than The Pope

That's our I&B Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi. He has put the screening of The Da Vinci Code on hold until a bunch of Catholic organisations watch it and give their nod. Mind you, the Censor Board has already cleared the movie. No country in the predominantly Christian world, not even the Vatican itself has spoken of a ban or such a sanctimonious screening process.

I had written a few days back about TDVC not being banned because Christians aren't as big a votebank as Muslims. Looks like I was wrong. You don't have to be a votebank to get anything banned in India.

But the Indian state is unique. It bends over backwards to not offend communities, carelessly brushing aside the piffling matter of fredom of expression. Thus Dasmunshi and his ilk will be more catholic than the pope, more shia than the Ayatollah, more Bangladeshi than Mujibur Rehman, and more soviet than the politburo.

Incidentally, I remember someone telling me that Tintin in the Land of the Soviets which was banned in left-leaning India because it poked fun at USSR, is still not available in India because no one has cared to lift the ban. I tried to google around and confirm this but didn't find any references. But I have never seen the comic being sold in any bookshop in India. Does anyone know about this for sure?

Are we still banning a book for poking fun at an entity which ceased to exist 16 years ago? Given the past record of our government, I wouldn't be surprised.

Update: Turns out Tintin in the Land of the Soviets IS actually available in India. It is stocked in Landmark and is also sold online.