The Big Ban Theory

15/01/2015 8:00 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

I wish to enjoy every moment of my life right now, for I am afraid of tomorrow. This is not a philosophical rant you do after reading those helpless self-help books. It's a sincere attempt to take joy in everything and anything before the government finds something offensive and is unable to understand it, thus bans it away.

Welcome to an era of more knee-jerk reactions than the history of football combined. And talking of football, we love getting kicks out of it. It's a national pastime. When I was in school, the notorious back-bencher students would create a ruckus in the class. I honestly think the teachers were scared of them too, so they just asked everyone in the class to stand in punishment. All of us obliged. The actual culprits, now hidden behind other students, would sit down and have aloo-paranthas.

You fail to realise the extent of the term 'justified'. India welcomed the New Year with a ban on 32 websites, including Vimeo, Github, PasteBin and other popular and somewhat-popular websites. Why? Because the Anti-Terrorism Squad felt that these websites had content from the ISIS which was Anti India. But banning access to 32 websites just because some of the users happen to be people you don't want to share your candy with? Okay, don't talk to them. But censoring? I know MPs watch a different kind of video online in Parliament, but those you blocked were also important. How do you justify a blanket ban? How do you justify restricting access in a world of free Internet? How do you justify Sajid Khan's movies as 'entertainment' or even 'comedy'? I know you have justification for none of the above, dear government, because you allowed all of them to proceed.

All-round investigation is welcome, but halting a whole system just because you have an evil hunch of something going wrong that too quite abruptly is not right. This is a something quite similar to the time when ticket checking squads stopped buses to check for ticketless travellers. Half of the commuters are usually running late, so they shout and abuse to let the bus go. The squad members, if unsuccessful, get down silently and order the bus to proceed amid stares, boos, and random rumblings. The whole exercise wasted a lot of time, and proved futile.

Let's rewind a little. Radio taxis were banned after a Uber cab driver sexually assaulted a woman. Okay yes, the driver did it. But why would you ban the whole company along with other Internet-based radio cab services? Why? From which part of your gall bladder do you think?

Rock solid determination, I must say. But wait, the banned websites are now back online. Uber and others may also get a green signal soon. Is the ban then just to satisfy the collective conscience of the general public? Please understand that there's a flip side to each coin, unless you're a fan of Amitabh Bachhan in Sholay.

Still, cross your heart dear government and say your heart doesn't burn when you see teenagers and other lanky fellows change their Facebook and Twitter photo to black, with a vengeful trend - #GOIBlocks. Now just don't go ahead and ban whatever's black. Half of India's cash deposits would be lost otherwise.


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