Will India Bow to Censorship by Fatwa?

Two events occurred here last week that could foreshadow India's future -- and perhaps ours as well. In one, Indian film star and filmmaker, Kamal Hassan bowed to Muslim groups in the South India state of Tamil Nadu after they claimed his film Vishwaroopam "targets Muslims and their beliefs." The state responded by banning the film; and although Hassan was initially defiant (the film was well-received elsewhere in India), he eventually agreed to delete seven scenes that the groups deemed offensive. The action was even more egregious since the film had been approved by India's Board of Film Certification, which screens all films for possible offense, primarily to Muslims, and cleared Vishwaroopam. Indian activist Amitabh Tripathi told me that the groups' action was part of an effort "to test us [and] determine how we will react." Others echoed his remarks and attribute the situation to a decades-long pattern of "appeasing Muslims" in an effort to secure their political support. Things...(Read Full Post)