I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

India Censors disenting voices

I read this morning in the New York Times that Penguin Books of India had caved to censorship.  Evidently an 84 year old Hindu Conservative, Dina Nath Batra, had filed a lawsuit against Penguin charging a book they had published in 2011 attacked Hinduism with its vulgarity, among other things. I only know a little bit about Hinduism and have never read the book so I don't know if it's an attack on the religion or not.  I do suspect, however, that in his 84 year old brain Batra's little, grey cells are as pleased as little pigs in shit at their ability to control what the country can read.  If you take a look at those countries who do censor and those who do not you'll see there is quite a difference.  Those that do tend to be either communistic or run by dictators, those that don't tend to be democracies.  I suspect that if Batra had his way he would take India down the road towards dictatorship.  A comment of his in the Chicago Tribune went something like this "we believe in freedom of speech to a certain extent."  That's not a good sign.  I searched through Google images for a picture of Mr. Batra in which he didn't look like a prick.  Couldn't find one.  Nope.  In every single one his visage defined dourness.

A prick by any other name would still be a prick

Here is where it turns into old fool stupidity.  The legal decision was scanned and posted on the Internet so anybody who is even slightly curious now knows that Penguin has 6 months to stop selling the book in India.  So, if you have any interest in reading it's hateful, vulgarities in their fullness you have until July to buy it legally, at that point it needs to be off of the shelves.  Hey, Mr. Batra, have you any idea how long it takes to scan a book into a computer?  I hope he understands that banned books tend to become popular.  People want to read the nasty stuff.  And, once it is no longer available for purchase, copies will get passed around.  It's a good thing Mr. Batra doesn't have any real political clout, other wise we might see police squads bursting into homes searching for illegal volumes. Censorship always fails. The only way to truly enforce censorship is militarily and I don't think the Indian government would want to go that far.  Of course, I don't think it would bother Mr. Batra one bit as long as they were following his beliefs. 

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