Recently, the ministry of information and broadcasting, headed by Arun Jaitley, refused to grant clearance to Caste on the Menu Card, a documentary film made by the students of the Tata Institute Of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The reason for rejection? The film dealt with the politics of caste and beef consumption.
The film was selected to be screened at the Jeevika Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival 2015, held in New Delhi.
Festival director Manoj Matthew told HuffPost India: "I was told by the ministry that it was due to the sensitivity of beef and I've entreated them to at least watch it before denying permission."
The rejection struck as odd, especially since student documentaries don't need the clearance of the CBFC, and only have to submit a written synopsis of the film to the Information of Broadcasting ministry.
The documentary has now been uploaded on YouTube and can be viewed. The roughly twenty-one-minute-long documentary speaks to a cross section of people--from scholars to caterers, from consumers of beef to restaurants which sell beef in Mumbai, from 'cow therapists' who think cow slaughter is a cardinal sin to professors who rubbish the idea of cow worship.
It is a fairly balanced account of the conflicting ideas around the consumption of beef and is a well-researched piece of work.