March 05, 2008


The Indian Premier League is awash with people eager to run an enterprise and make money. Yet the IPL also wants a monopoly on cricket in this country, so much so that it is busy enforcing bans on players who sign with the competing Indian Cricket League.

Whatever happened to the virtues of the free market? Why are the entrepreneurs associated with the IPL not objecting to this trampling on the very essence of their entrepreneurial spirit?

The film Jodhaa Akbar makes no claims to being historically accurate (how a film about Akbar that has songs can be historically accurate is only one question to ask, but never mind). For various reasons -- sometimes disguised as the lack of historical accuracy -- it is banned in state after state.

Whatever happened to the virtues of free expression?

In an apparently bygone era, we had a car industry in India that was free of encumbrances like competition. We had a telephone service in India that was similarly free. We had governments that were glad to ban "Jesus Christ Superstar" or "Satanic Verses" or any number of other works for various reasons, sometimes disguised.

Result: for decades we produced about the world's worst cars. We suffered about the world's worst telephone service. We raised legions of people to whom "freedom of speech" means nothing, instead of the fundamental life precept it is.

You remember that era, don't you? We now like to scorn it with that dreaded phrase, "Nehruvian socialism".

So with the shining examples of IPL and Jodhaa Akbar placed before us, I have to ask: is that era really bygone?


Sriram said...

The IPL is just as monopolistic and standards based as a software company like Microsoft or Apple.
Jodhaa Akbar was a piece of shit & Freedom of Expression is alien to India because we champion multiculturalism instead of liberalism.

Sriram said...

Basically, our constitution is broken and there's nothing we can do about it.

"Where a multiculturalist prizes the rights of religious groups, a liberal favours the rights of the individual. So if you want to preach that the Archangel Gabriel revealed the word of God to an illiterate nomad two millennia ago, you can do it as much as you like. You can write books and hold rallies and make your case. What you cannot do is argue that since this angel supposedly said women are worth half of a man when it comes to inheritance, and that gay people should be killed, you can ditch the rules of liberalism and act on it.

The job of a liberal state is not to stamp The True National Essence on its citizens, nor to promote "difference" for its own sake. It is to uphold the equal rights of every individual – whether they are white men or Muslim women. It has one liberal culture, with freedoms used differently by different people."

Over Rated said...

Freedom of expression is a concept in our country which never really took off. It's like saying "You can say what to want as long as you don't offend every other living being". To say that our whole concept of freedom is flawed would be an understatement. Our nation may be 60, but our sensibilities are still enslaved.

R. said...

Isn't most things big ole boys' club in this country?

Destination Infinity said...

Among so many things that were not there in the bygone era, please add one more - There was no match fixing back then too!

Destination Infinity.

Anonymous said...

You er,.. don't mention the ban on screening the movie, Da Vinci Code- a film that was screened all over the world but in India?

Patrix said...

In a country of a billion-plus, someone is bound to be offended by anything that is said every day. When you start stamping out free speech to pacify every complaint, you head down the proverbial slippery slope. But I still think these are pangs of change; economic sensibilities will eventually triumph. Hopefully :)

Rahul said...

Dear Dilip, what is that funda about the obvious irony of the historical wrongness of the movie because it has songs?
What is the relation of having songs with Akbar or any other mughal for that matter, not able to find it online because most links are now referring to the movie rather than to the historical great one.

Unknown said...

Its we who make the constitution so we make make all necessary changes only when we get into we the youngsters should prepare ourselves and get into civil services ....

here we can bring out lots of difference and getting into politics will be much better option... we should venture into it boldly

gk thiyagasundaram

Sidhusaaheb said...

I wonder why no one ever protested Mughal-e-Azam or the Amar Chitra Katha comic books, which also depicted Jodha as Akbar's wife.

Unknown Indian said...

Of course the era of Nehruvian Socialism is alive and kicking. Sonia Gaandi is out to outdo her mother-in-law in screwing the Indian economy - and Chiddu and Man-mo-ham are determined to act as her cheerleaders and "Mukhotas" in this process - if you read today's ET (April 4), you will find that the government of India proposes to use to IDR Act to control prices of steel and cement for the first time since the 1970s - so how can you expect anything different from the Sharad Pawar run IPL.