Disclaimer: This post involves the recent ban on Honey Singh from performing in one of the elite restaurants of NCR. I am not a fan of Honey Singh, and I am not promoting/demoting the idea of Honey Singh in any way. I am trying to indicate towards a problem whose solution, I don’t think, can be achieved by banning such shows.
So Yo Yo Honey Singh’s show got cancelled, a case has been filed against him in Lucknow. People say his lyrics and songs used to induce sexism and crime against women. Fair enough! Protests at India Gate and Jantar Mantar continue, and they have been mostly peaceful. Excellent display of the fact that India needs change. Popular TV channels are looking back at year 2012, and flipping between the past and the present (the debates concerning the rape). Politicians as usual are missing from the scene, with an exception of some who are creating news (Shiela Dixit meets the protesters and the a Haryana politician claims that Mr Kanda (of MDLR Airlines) has nothing to feel sorry about), that’s the usual stuff for Indian politicians. Rest of us, either went to our respective offices or stayed at home, or did some planning for the year which has just unfolded.
I buy all the above moves from different fraternities of the society we live with. But I have some questions to ask, and I need a little hand-holding from you all – Please help me understand the situation better and let us then collectively reach to the most ‘optimum’ solution. I have used the word ‘optimum’ very carefully, I don’t think a particular solution would be agreeable to each section of the society and hence it is difficult (if not impossible) to design the ‘best’ solution.
How many times have you hated the system when you heard that Salman Rushdie is not allowed to attend some gathering? I am sure, at least some of you would have felt that this government is being ridiculous in its actions. How many times have you hated the fact that some of the movies don’t get screened because censor board won’t approve some of the scenes or ideas shown in the movie? Your immediate reaction is – Let the viewer decide what is good or bad for him, why should someone else decide what you should see.
A question has always popped up during elections – The tainted people should not be allowed to enter politics and the election commission should debar their candidature. But such tainted people always emerge from nowhere, and they don’t only emerge they also win elections and hold the most important seats in power. What happens to the sensibility of people while voting in favor of such people? Has the system not left the decision of choosing such tainted ministers on the people? And if a large section of people want that particular tainted minister, let them choose him.
So here I have two solid questions in my mind – Cases when the system interferes and hamper your choice making process. And the other set of cases where the system wants that you should be able to make choices for yourself. And this is absolutely how things should be. A country like India (with extreme poverty and a high level of illiteracy, with extremely low level of information availability and even less awareness about the environment) the system faced the constraints and is forced to adopt such a dual approach while solving the problem – A few of us even call it double standards. But in all fairness, I truly believe that this double standard is the only valid answer to such a huge and diversified collection of human beings.
Things work well when the same set of problem areas are given same treatment across the country and irrespective of the people involved in the problem description. People lose their cool when they don’t see the same happening and that is when people start questioning the double standards and the motives behind them.
Now let me give some simple examples – If Honey Singh is such a crime inducing artist, then why is he banned from performing in one of the elite hotels now? Didn’t he perform pretty recently and gathered humongous crowd then? Isn’t this ban meaningless when his songs are being listened on YouTube at a break-neck pace? Why are they still live on YouTube? And is Honey Singh the only one in this league? I don’t think so. So will all other be banned? I don’t think so. Because it is almost impossible to get hold of each and every such person and bring them into the books. So here is what I am questioning – Is banning Honey Singh even a little step towards solving the problem? And that too when a youth can watch all his videos whenever he wants, or for that matter when a youth (who is a ‘potential’ rapist) can feel rejuvenated and tempted after watching Sunny Leone’s censor boards approved (or unapproved) movies at his own wish. If the people want to be entertained by Honey Singh or Sunny Leone, they will anyway do so in the current circumstances. Aren’t people the best judge of what they want and don’t they know how to achieve them?
While we assume ourselves to be living in the market driven economy, where market drives the demand or rejection of something without someone else making a choice for them. In a market driven situation, the role of government reduces to being a regulator pointing out mistakes and punishing those involved in the breaking the regulations. A bad role play by the regulator gives a deep rise to the parallel black economy and that runs without any control or knowledge of the government.
I fear that Indian mindset isn’t letting the regulators play a fair role and that is when we see a series of inconsistent bans or closing down of metro stations or some politician trying to help Mr Kanda or something equally mindless. So, considering the fact that Indian system is constrained to have double standards, is it not expected that the government remains consistent in each of the two kinds? So next time if the need be – Don’t only ban Honey Singh, instead make it sure that every such person spreading violence is forced to shut his shop or mend his ways. Even better, let the market decide what better and government should concentrate only on enforcing the regulatory behavior – Warn the hotel about the possible cancellation of license in case of any problem and make Honey Singh and the Hotel pay for the any social damage they are responsible for. May be the hotels would never ever hold a show with Honey Singh and even keep a check on the kind of people who enter the hotel premises. But all this needs a massive political willpower, which I don’t see any time soon.