This time, it is not the hoax of article-233 of IPC passed by Modi government that is doing the rounds. Rather it is the recent ban on viewing or downloading torrent contents that has left me baffled. The warning visible on blocked torrent websites reads that ‘viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents shall be punishable under Sections-63, 63A, 65 and 65A of the Copyright Act, 1957’. It is thus punishable with a maximum jail term of 3 years and a maximum fine of 3 lakh rupees.
Now, we can find 2 probable reasons for this course of action – the first one being prevention of piracy. However if a certain act is considered a breach of copyright, the offender should be punished instead of blocking or banning the sites altogether. But perhaps the government lacks the time or means to charge individual offenders and thus took the easy way out. If such is the mentality, I dare say very soon there will be a ban on wearing knee-length or short sleeved dresses to prevent rapes? Also, torrent is used by a lot of independent film-makers to upload their works which will be unavailable to them forthwith. Is this to be considered ‘collateral damage’?
Here we come to the 2nd reason, which in the light of recent attitude of the government seems more probable. This reason being nothing other than a desperate urge to control and mould the mindset of the people by regulating the kind of artistic works which influence them. The question which haunts me at this point is whether this is the Govt. of India or the Moral Guardian of India?
This mentality of putting a ban on things the government disagrees with came to the forefront during the beef ban. It might be considered a direct infringement of ‘right to live’ as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. For the ones grimacing at the thought of ‘eating beef’, it is always the geographical conditions and availability of resources that dictate the food habits of inhabitants of a particular area. If there’s a problem with loss of lives, the fish-eating population of Bengal, Orissa and other coastal states may also be castigated. Also, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose proved that plants have life and can even feel. Will there soon be a ban on eating spinach? Let’s recall that India was under the Muslim rule for about 500 years prior to the advent of the British. If they would have followed the same path and killed off the ones deviating from their eating habits, how many vegetarians would’ve survived the era? In recent times, many innocent lives have been lost due to beef ban and related controversy. Is a cow more important than a human?
The government had promised to bring back the black money and now we’ve got GST. Inflation graphs have gone up where daal is priced at Rs. 200 per kg, making it unaffordable for the mass constituted by the poorer classes. Now we also have torrent ban and beef ban to snatch away the small pleasures of life. Is this our government or just the moral police?
Is government running a purgatory? India prides itself on being the largest democracy whereas such attitudes points at autocracy. North Korea considers it a democracy as well. Are we moving in the same direction?