A member of the Congress party has registered a complaint against the Sacred Games TV Series. The complaint was registered in reference to a comment in the show referring to late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as a “Fattu” (translated as ‘pussy’ in subtitles) in a scene. Sacred Games is a web television series directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. The first episode of the series in which the comment related to Rajiv Gandhi was made was aired on 6th July on Netflix. The series is based on the novel of the same name by Author Vikram Chandra, which was published in 2006.
The FIR was registered in Kolkata by a man named Rajeev Kumar Sinha who claims to be a candidate of the Congress Party in municipal elections. The complaint names Nawazuddin Siddique, producers of the serial and Netflix, the online platform which offers streaming of films and television programs. The complaint highlights the hypocrisy within the Congress party which keeps talking about the lack of freedom of expression in the nation. Its leaders like Shashi Tharoor and Jyotiraditya Scindia keep making a hue and cry that freedom of expression is in danger under the Modi government.
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) July 10, 2018
The Congress party, despite all its posturing about being the defenders of freedom of expression, has always suppressed free thinking and free speech. It started a process of myth building through school textbooks, manipulation of the history of the country and false depictions of leaders who were ideologically opposed to the Congress. The process of myth-building and curbs on freedom of speech and expression started from the very first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. He awarded himself the Bharat Ratna and started the celebration of Children’s Day on his birthday. The first amendment to the constitution brought by his government in 1951 made several changes including a clause against the abuse of freedom of speech and expression.
The curb against freedom of speech and expression reached its zenith under the regime of Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi. She imposed an emergency in the country for 19 months. The leaders of the opposition were jailed, the newspapers were not allowed to publish anything against the government, and the fundamental rights of citizens were snatched. Her government was behaving much like the British Raj against which the country fought for 200 long years. The next member of the Nehru-Gandhi family, Rajiv Gandhi who became the prime minister on the death of his mother was also not very tolerant with regard to freedom of expression. He banned the book Satanic Verses by acclaimed author Salman Rushdie, because it depicted some features of Islam in a bad light.
The same happened with the Shah Bano case in which the Congress party with its full majority brought a law to reverse the Supreme Court judgment directing the granting of alimony to a divorced Muslim woman. The law was brought because Rajiv Gandhi wanted to appease Muslim society at the cost of the basic rights of Muslim women. Sonia Gandhi, who controlled the reins of the Congress party for almost two decades, also falls in the same category. When the Director of Rajiv Gandhi Institute Bibek Debroy called Seshadri Chari for a seminar, he got a call from the residence of Sonia Gandhi to send the text of the speech. Seshadri Chari was being stopped because he was editor of RSS affiliate magazine ‘Organizer’.
Such is the history of the Congress party and the Nehru-Gandhi family when it comes to curbs on freedom of expression. The latest FIR lodged against Sacred Games and Netflix by a Congress member is only part of a trend set by the party’s predecessors. So much for standing for freedom of expression.