The Impediments of Voice


1. Censorship of books

The case of Rohinton Mistry's novel Such A Long Journey

A similar case occurred in India in September 2010, when Rohinton Mistry's novel Such A Long Journey was removed from the Mumbai University curriculum. The book, which was on the second-year Bachelor of Arts syllabus as an optional text, was shortlisted for the 1991 Booker Prize.

On September 14, 2010, Aditya Thackeray, the grandson of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, led a BVS protest, burning copies of the book in front of the University gate because of its alleged "derogatory" references to the Party, demanding that it be removed from the syllabus within 24 hours.

Vice-Chancellor Rajan Welukar responded to the protestors’ demands by exercising the emergency powers listed under Section 14 (7) of the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, and the book was dropped from the syllabus the following day.

NCERT books controversy

A panel of NCERT in 2004 under UPA government in 2004 reviewed books for CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and expressed serious concerns towards the poor contents of the books, especially History books. Janata Party (1977-1980), and Bhartiya Janata Party (1998-2004) have been alleged to influence NCERT for ‘saffronized’ rewriting of Indian History. At the same time UPA government has been accused of ‘de-saffornized’ history text books.

2. Censorship in the movies


Amu is a film that exposes the genocidal attacks on the Sikh community in Delhi in 1984. The film, directed and produced by Shonali Bose, faced censorship issues by the government censorship board, which originally required her to remove crucial lines in the film regarding the politically linked perpetrators of the genocide; the board also gave the movie an adult rating. Bose was forced to mute the voices in the movie in place of having to remove the lines. The following are Shonali Bose's comments regarding the film receiving an adult rating even though the film did not display any violence or sexual scenes.

"If ever there were doubts that a cover-up of history had taken place, they were set to rest when the Censor Board explained why they gave the film an 'A' certificate. They said: 'Why should young people know a history which is best buried and forgotten? We made the film because they need to know.'"

Deepa Mehta's film Water

While filming Water , Indian-born Canadian director Deepa Mehta was forced to temporarily stop the film's production when an angry mob stormed the production base and set fire to the sets. The filming of Water was eventually resumed in Sri Lanka five years later under a decoy title. Water is the third film in a controversial trilogy which also includes Fire, a film that came under heavy censorship through violence incited by the Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena.

3. Censorship of the Internet


Recently there has been concern regarding India following a path similar to China in censoring use of the internet. Reportedly, one method that was discussed by the Communications Minister, Kapil Sibal, in a meeting with leaders of social media networking sites was a pre-emptive censoring of objectionable material.


On a similar note, there's a strong eagerness in the United States political bodies and their army of lobbyists to censor the internet as they see fit. There will be no due process or judicial review, rather internet websites will simply be removed as they fancy on a whim without forewarning. Any corporation and judicial representative will have full control over removing and blocking IPs and domains. The bills are called SOPA and PIPA.

4. Censorship of video games


The recent release of the AAA title Battlefield 3 made by Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts was banned in Iran for depicting an invasion of Tehran. Copies of the game have been vehemently hunted down in properties throughout Iran by government security forces who confiscate all copies of the game.


The AAA title called Syndicate made by Starbreeze Studio and published by Electronic Arts was banned in Australia for its intense visual and audio effects of extreme body dismemberment and mutilation. In response to the Australian government, Electronic Arts proclaimed that the Australian government clings to "arcane laws" toward video games and ought to progress in its law-making.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto, a popular series created by Rockstar which is infamous for user-controlled violence in often populated areas, has often been the centerpiece of video game censorship across the world throughout it’s history. One more recent version of the video game, Grand Theft Auto IV, has been the subject of censorship in the United States, Europe, and Australia, where the graphic depictions of gore, violence, and illicit sexual activity have gone through many revisions. In Europe, for example, the use of blood and sexual activity with prostitutes has been greatly “toned down”, while gamers in Australia can enjoy as much blood and sex as their hearts contend.

"All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination."
~ Carl Jung