The controversy surrounding the anti-Hindu Amazon Prime web series Tandav has hit a crescendo as the makers have been forced to wilt under pressure and issue an unconditional apology. With that, they have also been ordered by the I&B ministry to make certain changes in the series. While this news may come as a relief to those whose sentiments have been insulted, it is worth noting that these ‘changes’ are nothing but an eyewash, only attempting to dissuade the very vocal section of people. The people are demanding that the show should be taken down from Amazon Prime, along with penal action. However, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, in a soft stance, is unwilling to take the concrete step and has come off with this meagre plan to nullify the people.
Ali Abbas Zafar, the director of Tandav, issued a statement which said, “The cast & crew of Tandav have made the decision to implement the changes to the web series to address the concerns raised towards the same. We thank the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the guidance & support in the matter. We once again apologise if the series has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments.”
It is pertinent to note that the show is being criticised for its utter lack of sensitivity towards Hinduism. It seems that smashing Brahmanism, idolatry, and cussing the Hindu gods are the only ingredients which the makers of Tandav believed were required to churn out this drama.
What has been observed is that anti-Hindu content has been flourishing on OTT platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix for the past seven years and it is the need of the hour that Prakash Javadekar, the current Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister gets his act together. The Minister must rein in the content of OTT platforms, and send a resounding message that defamatory anti-Hindu content, replete with insults to our deities is no longer something which will be let to pass.
However, what has been established by precedent is that fact that the I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar has once again failed to initiate any action against such web series, OTT platforms and their creators. His inaction is certainly uncalled for, as many BJP leaders themselves had made calls, seeking action against the makers of Tandav. Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij had demanded that the show should be removed from the digital platform and urged the government to make a provision for censoring web series before they are screened. Similarly, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that they will file a case against the makers of Tandav, adding, “I condemn the way Zeeshan Ayyub, Saif Ali Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar reacted to our religion and hurt sentiments.”
A befitting action on this would have been not only to ban the show but to also penalise Amazon. The platform’s penchant for showcasing anti-Hindu series has reached an all-time high. From Pataal Lok to now Tandav, the only common thread between such shows seems to be insulting and degrading the Hindu community. More importantly, such shows have a major impact on the ground reality. An analysis of the repercussions of airing anti-Hindu content on unfiltered OTT platforms will reveal that such animosity is turned into real-time hatred, which subsequently leads to the conduct of life-endangering hate crimes against Hindus.
There is only little that so many ordinary citizens can do. At most, they can uninstall/unsubscribe the OTT platforms, outrage on social media and call for the boycott of anti-Hindu and anti-national content. The government, meanwhile, has a greater role to play in ensuring that such content is nipped in the bud. What seems to be unexplainable is the I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar’s meek response. What is stopping him from initiating action against elements seeking to spread communal disharmony in India under the garb of artistic freedom?