121 crore (1.21 billion) souls call India their home. That's a sixth of the world's population, but only 2.3% of the total area. My beloved Bombay, I haven't taken well to the name Mumbai as yet, the most populous metropolitan area in India, and arguably second or third in the world, has a population of 2.19 crore (21.9 million) people, that's a population density of over 20,000 people per square kilometre!
You often wonder what's causing this population explosion in India? And you never need to go far to find the answers; it stares at you, right in the face, every second of every day - Illiteracy, the leading cause of our burgeoning masses. And what does the government do? Censor television and other media, the best medium to impart education of any sort, and especially sex education.
|[A busy Bombay Street (at Kalbadevi).]|
Do we really need a moral police? Can't we decide for ourselves whether the kind of exposure that we get is right or not? In recent times, instead of turning liberal, the Censor Board of Film and Certification and the Information and Broadcast Ministry has gotten all the more stern. They have been bleep censoring and blurring anything and everything on television and in films and preventing certain films and books from being released.
|[Two And A Half Men Episode 7.22 - This Is Not Gonna End Well]|
I was just watching a rerun of Two And A Half Men Season 7 on Star World yesterday, in fact the last episode, titled "This Is Not Gonna End Well", and what surprised me apart from Charlie's chutzpah, was the fact that the word 'condom' was beeped out, whereas 'sex' wasn't, not by any means implying thereby that it too ought to be! What else do you get when you scratch out condoms but not sex, except a litter of kids! So much for those "Jo Bola Wohi Sikandar" advertisements by the BBC World Service Trust encouraging people to say the word; it's not like saying You-Know-Who's name. Hope it doesn't become the case that we soon refer to condoms as You-Know-Whats.
And those big arse alerts and tickers, asking if any content is objectionable, flashing every now and then on every channel don't help!
|[Friends Episode 2.03 - The One Where Heckles Dies.]|
Again, as I was watching television yesterday afternoon, a rerun of Friends on Start World, for the umpteenth time and proudly miming dialogues, something struck me. It was the third episode of Season 2, "The One Where Heckles Dies", and as part of the last will and testament of the flaky Mr. Heckles he leaves all his earthly possessions to "the noisy girls" in the apartment above his apartment. Among the refuse, Rachel finds a 'girly' tacky clock, which was a clock attached with a female doll-like figurine (you can see it in the background in the picture), and it was bare. What do you think the channel did, or was made to do? Blur the entire thing! In a country where abject poverty forces hordes of people to go without clothes, where there's an open-to-air 'toilet' every few metres, where religion and cultural practices facilitate the shedding of clothes and tribal people, like their counterparts around the world, practise naturism, what we need is blurring of a teeny-tiny toy. No wonder most of our museums have no specimens of pre-human species or Greek and Roman nudes; but surprisingly they do contain Kama Sutra manuscripts!
When we could use such media to impart sex education, we do just the opposite. And this comes from leaders and legislators many of whom are themselves embroiled in sex scandals and casting couches. And then we complain about our population is shooting through the roof.
Hope some government agency doesn't swoop in here like an overgrown eagle, too big for its nest, and scratch out stuff at its discretion. We don't need another big brother watchdog; we already have Uncle Sam breathing down our necks and meddling in the affairs of every nation the world over.
(Not to mention films like Water and Indian Summer to be not filmed in India or banning films like The Da Vinci Code and books like The Satanic Verses and Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India for fear of sentiments being hurt. When are we gonna get up and smell the coffee? Why can't we face the truth? Does this censorship really achieve its purpose? It does just the contrary, by giving it excessive attention and footage, making it all the more famous and lighting up the faces of crooked faced pirates and copyright infringers. I know I'm digressing here, but I just wanted to say this.)