December 1, 2005Public Policy

Kissing is kosher

An absurd justification to change an absurd rule.

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

If at all a case can be made for keeping displays of affection’ off the silver screen then it should be in the interests of public morality. While this still comes with a big assumption that it is desirable, correct and possible for a government to be the guardian of public morality, discussing censorship policy on such grounds is much more sensible than this:

(Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan) Dasmunshi was categorical in his statement: I would like to inform members that kissing in films was earlier prohibited. But due to growing emergence of electronic media throughout the world, especially in the subcontinent, after careful consideration it has been admitted and permitted.” [DNA]

The point is not that kissing should be allowed on screen because it is not possible to prevent the electronic media from showing it. The point is that even if it were believed that Indians were not prepared to see each other kissing on screen in the past — and this is another dubious assumption — they are prepared for it now. Referring to the emergence of electronic media is neither here nor there.

Arjun Sethi, MP from Orissa, expressed doubts about such a liberal approach, but Dasmunshi stood firm, citing ancient Indian heritage in his defence. He pointed out that Konark, in Orissa, is considered a great example of Indian heritage and art. But if someone were to make a film on the same theme, it is likely to be denounced as obscenity.[DNA]

Such contradictions are unsurprising, since it is absurdity that the government is attempting to justify. Unless the Indian government discovered ancient Indian heritage just recently, it is hard to explain why such prudishness was imposed upon the country in the first place.

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