Bollywood Blockbuster Banned over Fears of Inter-Caste Violence

Dean Nelson, Telegraph (London), August 12, 2011

The film, “Aarakshan” or Reservation, starring Bollywood’s biggest star Amithabh Bachchan, has been accused of being “anti-Dalit” by groups which represent India’s estimated 500 million people of Untouchable and Backward castes.

Despite being approved by India’s censors for unrestricted release, it has been banned in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. There have also been calls for the film to be banned in Bihar and Maharashtra.

The film touches a raw nerve among India’s higher caste middle classes whose children must reach pass rates higher than 90 per cent to win college places, while a 49 per cent quota means “backward caste” pupils can secure places on much lower grades.

In the film, a private college principal, played by Amithabh Bachchan, is forced to resign over his support for reservations and is replaced by his high-caste, anti-quota deputy. He establishes a free tuition centre for poor students opposite the college, and the debate on one of India’s most divisive issues rages between them.

Low-caste groups have protested at dialogue they regard as offensive and the casting of major Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan as a bright Dalit boy because he is the son of a nabob, an Indian aristocrat, the legendary former cricket captain Tiger Pataudi.

They objected to one scene where an upper caste vice principal tells Mr Khan’s character: “Our kids study day and night and you people get the maximum seats,” and another where an upper caste student complains: “Now we have to do their work, we have to polish shoes.”

Resentment among higher castes has increased since 2006 when the government increased reservations to 49.5 per cent to include the so-called “Other Backward Castes.” It has coincided with increasingly high pass requirements for India’s most sought-after universities. In June one Delhi University college demanded pass rates of 100 per cent for the first time.

The attempt to ban the film however has caused outrage throughout India’s film industry. Amitabh Bachchan, India’s most celebrated actor, said a ban on the film would undermine India’s democracy and mean its people were living in “a most unfortunate fascist conditioning.”

Leading Indian film director Jag Mundra said the film had been exploited for political reasons by those who oppose a debate on caste reservations.

“I would like to ask these people: ‘If you loved one was in a hospital and needed a life-saving operation, and you knew the surgeon came in on a reservation, would you want that person to operate? How long do we make people suffer now to right the wrongs of the past?” he asked.

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  • Jeddermann.

    Possibly thousands dead if this movie is seen.

    Years ago now there was the TV series, “The Last Viceroy”.

    Showed scenes of folks being set afire and killed during the displacements – – the partition of British India. Pakistan and India trading populations of Muslim and Hindu.

    Scenes that could not be seen in India as it would provoke violence. The same with the movie “Ghandi”. Merely to show the violence in a movie or on TV is asking for big time trouble, lots of folks dead.

  • Jeddermann.

    That combat between the communities of Muslim and Hindu during the partition of British India is considered to be the last war fought with primitive weaponry. Swords, knives, hoes, hatchets, axes. Any edged weapon or blunt instrument that can kill was used!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds just like America.

  • Blaak Obongo

    My God, the familiarity of it all. Change a few names, and this story could have taken place right here in the US.

    With one exception: Hollywood would never produce a film that cast doubts on the wisdom of Affirmative Action. And even if they did, no Hollywood actor would dare defend them.

    “Amitabh Bachchan, India’s most celebrated actor, said a ban on the film would undermine India’s democracy and mean its people were living in “a most unfortunate fascist conditioning.””

    So, then, Amitabh, you’ve visited the United States, have you?

  • Anonymous

    This is the kind of discrimination Sowell exposes. Did you know a major early platform of Nazis was to give workplace and educational “equal opportunity” to under-qualified Aryan brownshirts against Jews? Of course not, that bit of history is quietly suppressed.

  • highduke

    India will ruin itself in 25 years. As its new secular individualism breaks down castes and lowers birthrates for upper caste Hindus, the Dalit caste is getting educated enough to spawn an activist elite who will lead the fecund uneducated Dalit masses to overwhelm the upper castes more easily than the Blacks did to Whites in the 60s since the Dalits are 1/3 of the population. Their morale is at the level of the early 20th century US Blacks except Dalits can already vote to hasten the process.

  • Fabius

    “I would like to ask these people: ‘If you loved one was in a hospital and needed a life-saving operation, and you knew the surgeon came in on a reservation, would you want that person to operate? How long do we make people suffer now to right the wrongs of the past?”

    OMG–almost word-for-word what any one of us would say! Affirmative action provokes the same reaction, in a completely different cultural context. Guess that means we are motivated by something a bit deeper than our White cultural preconceptions, doesn’t it?

  • nokangaroos

    Interesting … I had heard about it but never thought it was that bad. If it cannot even be discussed that´s not a good sign.

    But take it in perspective: Actually, 49.5% is not too bad. In the US, the Protected Classes now outnumber the productive one by well over 2-to-1, and it´s getting worse. I too am wont to assume that every black professional is incompetent (and really, not all of them are).

    – I hold that “Der Wille zur Macht” should be required reading in every high school (in the original, please; Newspeak does not lend itself to precise thought). Nietzsche neatly explains all problems with blacks, feminists, Jews and what have you, right down to their bumper sticker slogans.

  • Anonymous

    Shows that the so called discrimination in the USA looks pretty darn liberal compared to some other countries.

  • Madison Grant

    Though I have no interest in watching their films, I still give Bollywood respect because these films are starting to undermine the Religion Of Peace.

    http://tinyurl.com/3ewgowc

  • Daniel

    100% pass requirement! Just shows you shamelessness and insanity CAN, and so probably will, get worse.

    Indian IQ

    Southern Brahmin, 1% @ 120 IQ

    Northern Brahmin, 4% @ 115 IQ

    Southern Merchant, 3% @ 110 IQ

    Northern Merchant, 12% @ 105 IQ

    Southern Peasant, 8% @ 93 IQ

    Northern Peasant, 32% @ 88 IQ

    Muslim, 15% @ 75 iQ

    Southern Dalit, 5% @ 75 IQ

    Northern Dalit, 20% @ 75IQ

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/06/indias-average-iq-in-2100.html

  • Jason

    So that’s why the Indian immigrants who come to the U.S. seem so smart and well behaved despite India’s low average IQ. They all come from the caste whose average IQ is 120 and they are escaping India where they are being held back by the same socialist policies that are holding whites back in the U.S.

    It’s ironic that both countries will fall down the tubes within 20 years. I predict China will take over the world!

  • Krueger

    #11:

    It would be fair to say that upper caste Indians ( Brahmins/ Merchants) of southern India have the highest IQ of any ethnic group. So far, the highest IQ ethnic group in the bell curve as a nation are the Ashkhenaz Jewry at 112. But since southern Indian Brahmins & merchants both have IQs exceeding that figure, they would have to be the highest IQ people in the world. That explains the bulk of really smart scientists and academics here in the USA from these very ethnic castes of India that you describe.