Monday, August 06, 2007

India bans ads

Before I tell you what it is, let me make my stand clear. Government should not ban any ads. It should not ban any books. It should not ban any movies. It should set up bodies that monitor these medium of communications – like censor board for movies. If the censor board has deemed it right for the Indian audience, the government has no role to play there. It cannot and should not ban it once it is approved by this board. However, if someone deems that the content (which is already approved by the board) to be distasteful, malignant or harmful to the society, they can take it to the court. And that someone includes the government as well. If the Government of India doesn’t like something, it should take that something to court and fight its battles there. And after that battle is over, only the court’s decision has to followed, not government’s diktat.

We have seen many such incidents in the recent past where the Government of India decided to ban things it didn't like.

1. A book detailing the riots that happened in New Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi where thousands of Sikhs were killed in a single massacre was banned by the Government of India.
2. Government of AP banned Da Vinci Code because it felt its viewers (Christians) would be offended by it.
3. Government of India banned FTV and AXN (TV channels) because they supposedly aired inappropriate content. [I want to know if the same government has ever watched the regional channels where the content is closer to soft pornography- relayed day after day during prime time to everyone, including kids].

4. Now, the Government of India banned two ads, one of which it termed ‘racist’. Though I do agree that this ad may have been racist, I do NOT approve of government's decision.

Distasteful Ad

What was this distasteful ad that Indian government banned? According to Times of India,

The advertisements were found to be “racist” and in poor taste.

The ads showed a man of Caribbean descent being served chillies at an Indian dhaba but being denied drinking water by not just the waiters but also other customers.

Of course it sounds racist. I am against all such ads which show certain races inferior, certain colors inferior, and naturally occurring physical attributes inferior. I think Indians should grow up, as audience, as advertisers, and as movies makers. ‘Fair and Lovely’ ad is one such campaign which undermines confidence level of millions of Indian girls who think they are dark (and therefore inferior). Now, it started to undermine the confidence level of millions of Indian guys too with their new products that targets dark men.

This ad that the government banned, I am quite sure, might be really distasteful, and I am quite sure, most Indians may have not even thought about it. That’s how most of our ads, TV shows and movies work- they inculcate these prejudices against dark people, handicapped people, other ethnicities, all in the name of jest and comedy.

There are many Telugu movies where a handicapped person meets with a misadventure bringing in hilarity, mirth and laughter from the audience. In one movie, a black woman is married to an Indian comedian, and the very appearance of that black woman on the screen is seen as comical and funny- because she represents two inferior things – one, that she is really dark, and second, that she is very fat. Both things are seen as objects of ridicule and this is what this black woman represents in this movie.

Indian audience is really quite immature, and so are the movie makers, the ad makers, and of course the journalists. The list also includes the government leaders, the teachers, the professors and businessmen.

Immaturity is no excuse for deepening the ills of our society.


  1. hi,you have a very entertaining blog here... but what are u actually trying to say here?? dat it was wrong for the government to ban an add which u yourself have found distasteful?? I think dat the government has a right to ban stuff because most of the indian population are immature viewers as u yourself have implied in dis blog.

    BTW i really enjoyed your linda goodman gets debunked blog!! really cool!!

  2. Anonymous:

    but what are u actually trying to say here?? dat it was wrong for the government to ban an add which u yourself have found distasteful??

    Yes! That's what I am saying here. Just because I find it distasteful, and govt goes ahead and bans it, I should not celebrate.

    Tomorrow the same government may ban something else which I find useful.

    The whole thing of government intervening in to ban things is something I find more distasteful than the ad itself!

    Immaturity of the viewers should not be controlled by the government. There are bodies which are constituted for this purpose- they should be the ones doing this- not the government.

  3. The best thing I appreciated, without any ambiguity in my mind is that the India viewers are immature. I feel it applies more to Telugu audience than their Hindi, Tamil and Malayaly counter part. They see the same kind of movies with a story line that is going around since the time of Ramayana-Hero with abnormal power and physical abilities, villain with predictable awkwardness, cruelty and plans, heroins with extra body show and empty action.


Dear Commenters:
Please identify yourself. At least use a pseudonym. Otherwise there will be too many *Anonymous*; making it confusing.

Do NOT write personal information or whereabouts about the author or other commenters. You are free to write about yourself. Please do not use abusive language. Do not indulge in personal attacks and insults.

Write comments which are relevant and make sense so that the debate remains healthy.