Home > India, Indian media, Politics > Rohinton Mistry should be thankful to Sena, V-C for banning his book

Rohinton Mistry should be thankful to Sena, V-C for banning his book


Shiv Sena has been ‘persuaded’, in the past, by artists and creators, to ban their own books and films – it is whispered.

   

Bal Thackeray (Cartoon courtesy by outlook.com).

Bal Thackeray (Cartoon courtesy by outlook.com). Click for larger image.

Media blows its own trumpet

There has been much talk of how Shiv Sena led by Bal Thackeray’s grandson ‘forced’ Mumbai University to withdraw a book from University syllabus. Now this story actually is a political comedy – and not anything about censorship, freedom, et al.

Mistry says that Thackeray’s action is in keeping with the Sena’s history of trampling on freedom of speech. “In this sorry spectacle of book-burning and book-banning, the Shiv Sena has followed its depressingly familiar, tediously predictable script of threats and intimidation that Mumbai has endured since the organisation’s founding in 1966. But it is the expeditious decision by Mumbai University which causes profound dismay.

Mass media has hyped up Bla Thackeray-Shiv Sena. (Cartoon courtesy - deccanherald.com). Click for larger image.

Mass media has hyped up Bla Thackeray-Shiv Sena. (Cartoon courtesy - deccanherald.com). Click for larger image.

After his long silence, the vice-chancellor has now stated that he, in fact, followed correct procedures, and the decision was taken by the Board of Studies. The outgoing Board of Studies, to be precise. But one thing remains: a political party demanded an immediate change in syllabus, and Mumbai University provided de luxe service via express delivery. The University, in the person of the vice-chancellor, occupies an exalted position in civil society, the champion of academic independence and freedom of expression. Instead, Mumbai University has come perilously close to institutionalising the ugly notion of self-censorship. The vice-chancellor knows what he must do to remove the stain.” (Read more via Rohinton Mistry hits back at Sena, V-C for banning his book – The Times of India).

Shiv Sena supports Congress in the Presidential election!

Shiv Sena supports Congress in the Presidential election! Click for larger image.

Mass media builds up the likes of Bal Thackeray-Shiv Sena types into larger than life figures because it suits them. This larger-than-life-portrayal helps mass media to portray itself as a victim, brave opposition to rightist stormtroopers, protector of freedom, etc.

Collusive democracy

2ndlook has always maintained that democracy breeds politics of collusion. Democracy creates a collusive polity where bad rulers conspire with each other, against us. There is no better example than this.

First, Mumbai University VC passes an express order removing book from the syllabus. Two- Soon after the book is withdrawn from the syllabus, the Maharashtra CM, Ashok Chavan finds the book objectionable.

The Congress has been playing off Shiv Sena and MNS against each other. Nett, nett - it keeps the BJP out of power in Maharashtra. (cartoon by Satish acharya; courtesy - cartoonistsatish.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

The Congress has been playing off Shiv Sena and MNS against each other. Nett, nett - it keeps the BJP out of power in Maharashtra. (cartoon by Satish acharya; courtesy - cartoonistsatish.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

“There is objectionable language in Rohinton Mistry’s book and we wouldn’t approve his book for students,” he said.

“Just because somebody asked the book to be introduced, without following procedure and formalities, it was just introduced at somebody’s behest,” Chavan told a TV channel.

The Chief Minister however said these were his personal views and that he would not like to interfere in the affairs of the Mumbai University, which has received flak from several quarters for withdrawing the book after the Shiv Sena made a demand. He also made it clear he was not siding with anyone.

“I have not gone through the entire book. Whatever paras were shown to me, I read that, the language is highly abusive…Do we expect our students to go through such books and use them in the educational curriculum,” Chavan told reporters in Mumbai. “However, I am not interfering into the affairs of the university. I leave it to the university to decide whether they would approve or endorse such a book,” the chief minister said.

The Congress immediately rushed in to distance itself from the Chief Minister’s views of the book, calling them personal and said the University was free to do what it wanted but that the party’s stand could not be the same as the Shiv Sena’s. In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the Chief Minister is obviously entitled to his views.

Tiwari said Mumbai University is an autonomous university and that it is not under the Maharashtra government. “If anyone has objections to the book, there are appropriate fora,” he said. “Shiv Sena and Congress can never be on the same page. Our idea of India is very different from their sectarian approach.”

Common wisdom - Shiv Sena bans help the victims many a time. (Cartoon courtesy - cartoonistsatish.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

Common wisdom - Shiv Sena bans help the victims many a time. (Cartoon courtesy - cartoonistsatish.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

Welcoming Chavan’s remarks, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “If the CM of the state is with us, then you have to understand that we are right.”(read more via news.outlookindia.com | Ashok Chavan Agrees With Shiv Sena on Mistry Book).

Simple answers don’t sell

The media, author and intellectuals dive into censorship, freedom debate. This seems like simple collusion. Congress is cutting MNS down to size by creating ready made issues for Shiv Sena. Earlier Congress had tried to cut down Shiv Sena by propping up MNS.

"Ban-nees' have paid Shiv Sena to ban their books and films - it is whispered. (Cartoon courtesy - kajalkumar.wordpress.com.). Click for larger image.

"Ban-nees' have paid Shiv Sena to ban their books and films - it is whispered. (Cartoon courtesy - kajalkumar.wordpress.com.). Click for larger image.

Congress doing this is par for the course. MNS and Shiv Sena taking part in the collusion is surprisingly not being identified, seen, understood, discussed. Is it a wonder that these English-speaking, reading, writing, ‘intellectuals’ get such scant respect from lay public.

How Shiv Sena uses its image

If Shiv Sena is the ‘ban-ner’ and the victim is the ‘ban-nee’, it has been common wisdom that many a time Shiv Sena bans have been ‘arranged’ by the ‘ban-nee’. This immediately gets national media attention, government action, courts to come into play, politicians of all hues to start giving sound bites and a probable dud becomes a success.

Rohinton Mistry may have to thank Shiv Sena for their graceful attention – in case his books start selling more.

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