India 🇮🇳 is an Asian country that primarily worships Hinduism and to an extent, Islam and Sikhism.
India is the world's most populous free and democratic state with over one billion people. Freedom of speech is protected by the Indian Constitution. It is a federal parliamentary republic whose government is modelled after that of the United Kingdom.
Several books critical of religion have been banned in India or in parts of India. Pornography and media depicting sex are frequently censored.
- Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule - the Gujarati translation of this book written by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (more known as Mahatma Gandhi) was banned by the British authorities on its publication in India.
- Five books written by Kazi Nazrul Islam were banned by the British authorities in India.
- Jugbani was banned in 1922; ban withdrawn in 1947.
- Durdiner Zatri was banned by British authorities in 1926.
- Bisher Bashi was banned by British authorities in 1924; ban withdrawn in 1945.
- Vangar Gaan was banned by British authorities in 1924; ban withdrawn in 1949.
- Proloy Shikha was banned by British authorities in 1930; ban withdrawn in 1948.
- Chandrabindu was banned by British authorities in 1931; ban withdrawn in 1945.
- Rangila Rasul - this religious book written by Pandit M. A. Chamupati about the sexual life and marriages of the prophet Muhammad is currently banned in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
- Angaray - these progressive short stories written by Sajjad Zaheer, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan, and Mahmud-uz-Zafar were banned in India in 1936 by the British government.
- The Heart of India - this fiction book written by Alexander Campbell was banned by the Indian government in 1959 on grounds of being "repulsive".
- Nine Hours To Rama - this novel written by Stanley Wolpert was banned in India for exposing persons responsible for security lapses that led to Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
- Unarmed Victory - this book written by Bertrand Russel was banned in India due to its unflattering details of the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
- An Area of Darkness - this travelogue written by V. S. Naipaul was banned in India for its negative portrayal of India and its people.
- Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim - this historical book written by Sunanda K. Datta-Ray was banned for its description of the process of the annexation of the Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim by the Indian government of Indira Gandhi in 1975
- Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada - this investigative journalism book by Zuhair Kashmeri & Brian McAndrew was banned in India.
- The True Furqan - this religious book written in Arabic written like the Quran, but with the Christian teachings had its import into India prohibited on the grounds of threatening national security
- Islam – A Concept of Political World Invasion - this political ideology book by R. V. Bhasin was banned in Maharashtra, India in 2007, after its publishing on grounds that it promotes communal disharmony between Hindus and Muslims
- Shivaji – Hindu King in Islamic India - this historical book by James Laine was banned in Indian state of Maharashtra in 2004 for "promoting social enmity". However, the ban was overturned by Bombay High Court in 2007.
- Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence - this biographical book written by Jaswant Singhabout Mohammad Ali Jinnah, (irst President and founding father of Pakistan )was temporarily banned in Gujarat, India, in August 2009. The ban was overturned by the Gujarat High Court in December 2009.
- Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India - this biographical book by Joseph Lelyveld about Mahatma Gandhi is currently banned in Gujarat, a state in western India, for suggesting that Mahatma Gandhi had a homosexual relationship. Gujarat's state assembly voted unanimously in favour of the ban in April 2011.
- India was the first country in the world to ban The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. The cause of banning was "blasfemy to Islam".
- Understanding Islam through Hadis by Ram Swarup was banned for its critique of political Islam. The Hindi translation was banned in 1991, the English original was banned in 1992.
- Khaak aur Khoon (Ash or Blood) - this historical novel by Nazim Hijazi, which is about the sacrifices of Muslims in the Indian sub-continent during the partition of India in 1947, was banned.
India produces more films than any other country in the world.
The Indian film certification board, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), tends to be extremely prudish and almost every instance of sex, nudity, swearing and anything else may be deemed offensive to family values or religious sensibilities tend to get censored from theater screenings or television. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and similar streaming services usually are not censored, which has caused an increasing number of focus groups and right wing groups (such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Shiv Sena, for instance) to demand expansion of censorship to online media as well.
Nationwide film censorship
- Neel Akasher Neechey - this Bengali-language film was banned for two months in 1959 over overt controversies of sexual harassment overtones, as it showed the troubles faced by an immigrant Chinese wage labourer in 1930s Calcutta.
- Gokul Shankar - this film was banned in 1963 for depicting the psychological motivations of Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Garam Hava - this drama film based on an unpublished short story by Ismat Chagutai had its release held up by the censors for 8 months due to its depiction of a Muslim family during the partition of India.
- Aandhi - this political drama film was banned in 1975, during the Emergency by Indira Gandhi as it was alleged that the film was based on the life of the then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her relationship with her estranged husband, but in reality, only the look was inspired by the politician Tarkeshwari Sinha and Indira Gandhi. The film was subsequently released in 1977, when the Janata Party came into power.
- Kissa Kursi Ka - this political satire film was banned in 1977 by the Indian National Congress government as it lampooned the Emergency. The master prints and all copies were burned by Sanjay Gandhi (Indira Gandhi's youngest son)'s supporters. However, the movie was later remade with an all-new cast.
- Sikkim - this 1971 documentary was banned after the Kingdom of Sikkim's merger in India in 1975, as it showed Chogyal-ruled Sikkim as a sovereign state. In September 2010, the ban was lifted.
- Khak aur Khoon (Ash or Blood) - this 1979 film was banned by India's CFBP, as it was based on the historical novel of the same name.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was temporarily banned in 1984 due to its inspiration by Gunga Din and other Kipling stories that became discredited within India. As the director couldn't get permission to shoot it in India for this reason, he shot most of it in Sri Lanka. This film was banned as well due to its "negative" depiction of Indians because of a scene, set in India, where characters are served monkey brains. Monkeys are seen as sacred animals in Hinduism. The ban was later rescinded.
- Pati Parmeshwar - this film was denied a rating in 1987 by the Censor for depicting a woman in "ignobile servility" of her husband. Later, the film had its release allowed by the Bombay High Court.
- Kuttrapathrikai - this Tamil-language drama film completed in 1993 was not released until 2007 due to it having Rajiv Gandhi's assassination as its backdrop.
- Bandit Queen - this biopic was banned temporarily in 1994 by the Delhi High Court, after Phoolan Devi, the subject of the film's story, challenged its authenticity.
- Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love - this historical erotic romance film was banned due to sexual content. The version released in India had 2 minutes of nudity cut.
- Despite popular belief, the lesbian romance Fire was never banned, it was withdrawn from theaters for a short period so that the censor board could re-examine it. The main backlash came from Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist groups who claimed it to be "culturally offensive". Some even went far to attack the theaters screening the movie, which caused the showings to be cancelled. However, the next time there was an attack, the audiece and the ushers would beat up and chase off the attackers. After the subsequent withdrawal and re-examination by the censor board, the film was released with no additional cuts with a normal "Adult" (R) rating, and became a decent financial success with no further incidents.
- Paanch - this crime thriller film, "loosely" based on the 1976–77 Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders in Pune, was banned for glorifying drugs, sex and violence. It was later certified with cuts, but went unreleased.
- Hawayein - this film, set against the backdrop to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, is banned in the states of Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab.
- The Pink Mirror - this drama film was denied a rating for its homosexual content.
- Final Solution - this documentary concerning the 2002 Gujarat violence (where Muslims were targeted by political extremists) was banned by the Censor Board due to concerns that it may trigger communal violence. But, it was cleared after some months.
- Hava Aney Dey - This drama film was not approved by the Censor Board due to the director not accepting the suggested 21 cuts.
- Black Friday (2004) - this crime film based on the 1993 Bombay bombings had its released blocked in 2005, until the verdict of the lawsuit by the Bombay High Court on the petition of the under-trials. The film was originally set to be released in India on 28 January 2005. The producers appealed at the Supreme Court, but the High Court order was upheld. On 9 February 2007, the movie finally saw its release.
- Amu - this film based on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots was initially denied a rating, but later it was rated as "adult" after some audio-cuts.
- Water - this drama movie about the lives of vidows at an ashram faced opposition from hardline Hindu organizations in Varanasi. The sets were destroyed and the Uttar Pradesh government decided to stop the shootings on 31 January 2000. The shooting was shifted to Sri Lanka later. The movie was released in India much later in March 2007.
- Had Anhad - In 2009, the Central Board of Film Certification refused a certificate to the uncut version of this Shabnam Virmani documentary. In 2011, the Delhi High Court allowed the film to be released without cuts and asked the Union of India to pay 10,000 rupees to the petitioner as legal fee.
- Chatrak - this Bengali-language erotic drama film was not allowed thatrical release in 2011 due to its sexual content.
- Papilio Buddha - this film about the atrocities commited against Dalits (people belonging to the lowest stratum castes in India, previously characterised as "untouchable"), women and the environment, was initially banned in 2013 due to its criticism of Mahatma Gandhi. The film was eventually released after the anti-Ghandi speeches were muted and/or blurred.
- Blue Jasmine was banned due to several scenes of people smoking. In India, everytime a character is seen smoking, the scene must be digitally removed or be accompanied by a public service announcement explaining how smoking is bad. Woody Allen refused to have his film edited that way and chose to not release it in India.
- Gurjar Aandolan A Fight for Right - this film, based on the Gurjar agitation held in Rajasthan by people of the Gurjar caste in 2007, and in 2008 by Gurjar leader Colonel Kirori Mal Bainsta, was banned in 2014 by the Rajasthan Government after the Intelligence Bureau watched this film in Laxmi Talkes, Jaipur, on the day of its release on 17 October 2014. All the newspapers and media declared the news of the ban of this movie on 17 and 18 October 2014.
- No Fire Zone - This documentary about the Sri Lankan Civil War was not allowed for public screening by the Censor Board in 2014 because it depicted the war crimes covered up by the Government of Sri Lanka and showed the real suffering of the Tamils whom Indian Government felt resentful. As a result, director Callum Mcrae decided to release the film on the Internet to circumvent the ban.
- Kaum De Heere - This Punjabi film was banned in 2014 by the central government after the Intelligence Bureau had warned that the film may cause communal tensions. The film glorified Satwant Singh, Beant Singh and Kehar Singh, the assasins of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
- Fifty Shades of Grey was refused ratings due to very strong sexual images, even after voluntary cuts by the distributor.
- Main Hoon Rajinkanth - In 2015, notable south Indian actor Rajinkanth moved the Madras High Court to stop the release of this spoof film stating that it violated his personality rights. A stay was granted, and the makers of the movie were directed not to use the superstar's name, image or likeness. The director Faisal Saif later said he show the film to the actor and his lawyers to assure them. The film's title wsa later changed to Main Hoon (Part-Time) Killer.
- Unfreedom - this drama film which examinated same-sex relationships and religious fundamentalism in India was denied a rating by the Censor Board in 2015. The director Raj Amit Kumar was told by the Board that said film would cause clashes between Hindus and Muslims, and would provoke "unnatural passions". The film was later allowed to stream through Netflix in India.
- India's Daughter - this television documentary about the 2012 Delhi gang rape was prevented from being broadcast by a stay order from a court in 2015, due to perceived negative sentiment, including remarks defending the rape, which drew public outcry in India when the film was shown. The film was uploaded to YouTube and the Indian government requested it to be removed,
- Patta Patta Singhan Da Vairi - this film was initially denied clearance by the CBFC in 2015, but later was cleared by the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).
- Porkalathil Oru Poo - this biographical film about the real life of Isaipriya, a television journalist raped and murdered by members of the Sri Lankan Army during the final stages of the Sri Lanka Civil War was denied clearance by the CBFC, as it would damage diplomatic relations between India and Sri Lanka.
- The Mastermind Jinda Sukha - this Punjabi film about the lives of Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha, the assassins of General Arun Shridhar Vaidya, was cleared by the CBFC but it was banned by the Minister of Home Affairs in 2015. The makers of the film decided to release it overseas.
- The Painted House - this Malayalam-language drama film was denied a rating by the CBFC in 2015 for containing nudity. The board suggested that the scenes should be blurred or deleted.
- Muttrupulliyaa - this Sri Lankan film set on the aftermath of the Sri Lankan Civil War was banned in India by the CBFC in 2015 as it would harm Indo-Sri Lankan relations, though the film was screened in Sri Lanka itself. The ban was later overturned by the Film Certification Appelate Tribunal. However, the filmmaker had to edit out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, known also as Tamil Tigers) flags, cut out photographs of its slain leaders and state that the film was a work of fiction inspired by real events-
- Mohalla Assi - this satirical comedy drama film dealing with the commercialisation of the pilgrimage city Varanasi was denied a rating by the CBFC in 2016. On 11 December 2017, the Delhi High Court allowed the release of the film with one cut and "adult" rate, setting aside the order of the CBFC.
- Dharam Yudh Morcha - this film related to the Punjabi Suba movement (which wanted the creation of a Punjabi-speaking state) and a period of militancy had its Indian release banned by the CBFC in 2016.
- Neelam - this Tamil-language drama film about the Sri Lankan Civil War and the rise of Tamil groups including the LTTE ran into trouble with the CBFC, which in 2017 refused to certify the film under concerns that it would damage relations between India and Sri Lanka.
- Toofan Singh - this Punjabi biographical film about the Khalistan Liberation Force (an armed separatist group which aims to establish a Sikh sovereign state Khalist) member Toofan Singh was banned in 2016 by the CFBC. The movie was released internationally in 2017.
Regional film censorship
Provinces of British India (pre-1947)
- Bhakta Vidur - this silent film was banned in Karachi (in present-day Pakistan) and Madras (currently known as Chennai) in 1921 for political reasons, as the film came right after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Rowlatt Act. The character Vidura was moulded after the personality of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Thyaga Bhoomi - this Tamil-language film was banned in Madras in 1939, 22 weeks after release for supporting Indian National Congress and the Independence movement.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
- The Da Vinci Code - this film was banned after some Christians and Muslims who took offence protested. The ban was later lifted by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
- Aarakshan - this drama film about the controversial policy of caste-based reservations in Indian goverment jobs and educational institutions, was banned on 11 August 2011 due to concerns that it may hurt weaker sections of the society. The ban was later revoked on 14 August 2011.
- Jabardasth - this Telugu-language romantic comedy film was banned on 2013 due to copyright infringement of Yashraj Studios' movie Band Baaja Baaraat.
- Runumi - this Assamese-language film based on Ibsen's play The Warriors at Helgeland, was banned in 1952 by the then Government of Assam headed by chief minister Bishnuram Medhi for some unknown reason.
- Tango Charlie - this Hindi-language war film was banned in 2005 due to being allegedly poorly researched, as well for defaming the Bodo community.
- MSG-2 The Messenger - this faith-based action film which starred the infamous criminal religious leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was banned in Chhatisgarh in 2005 for hurting the feelings of the Adivasi community.
- The Da Vinci Code - this film was banned in 2006 considering "public feelings" after protests by Christian organisations.
- Chand Bhuj Gaya - this film set against the Godhra train burning as a backdrop was not released in Gujarat in 2005.
- Fanaa - this Hindi-language romantic thriller film was unofficially banned in 2006 due to the role of Aamir Khan, the lead actor, in the Narmada Bachao Andolan. The Supreme Court of India directed that theatres wanting to screen the film should be provided police protection. But, most theatre owners decided to not screen it.
- Parzania - this drama film was unofficially banned in 2007 after Hindu nationalist militant group Bajrang Dal coaxed theatre owners to stop screening the film. Bajrang Dal member Babu Bajrangi, who was later incarcerated for murder, conspiracy and spreading hatred in the Naroda Patiya massacre during the Gujarat riots, had the opinion that it may disrupt communal harmony in the state.
- Firaaq - this Hindi-language political thriller film was allegedly not released by many theatres in 2009 due to political pressure because it depicted the 2002 Gujarat riots. But, theatre owners cited a revenue sharing dispute as a reason.
- Padmavaat - this film was banned in 2017 following controversies and threats of violence made by Rajput caste organization Shri Rajput Karni Sena.
- Padmavaat - banned in 2017 after controversies and violence threats from Shri Rajput Karni Sena.
- MSG-2 The Messenger - this film was banned in Jharkhand for hurting feelings of the Adivasi community.
- Pithavinum Putharanum - this film reportedly based on a book by Sister Jesme and the Sister Abhaya murder case, originally completed in 2012 is awaiting approval from the Censor Board as of January 2015.
- Papillio Buddha - this film set among a community of Dalits, regarded as "untouchables" in India, where they face caste oppression, discrimination and displacement, is one of the most controversial films at the Festival and was banned in 2013 for its scenes of violence and for its scathing criticism of Gandhi's legacy.
- The Painted House - this film was not given a certificate due to the presence of a nude scene in it.
- Jodhaa Akbar - This epic historical drama film was banned after protests from the Rajput community over Jodha Bai's depiction as Akbar's wife. The ban was later lifted by the Supreme Court.
- MSG-2 The Messenger - banned in 2015 because it was offensive to the Adivasis.
- Deshdrohi - this Hindi-language action thriller film was banned in November out of fear of breakdown of law and order in the state, as it depicted the attacks against North Indians in the state of Maharashtra. However, the ban was lifted in January 2009 by the Bombay High Court.
- The Da Vinci Code - banned for portraying Jesus Christ and Christians in an "objectionable" manner.
- The Da Vinci Code - banned by the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh after an appeal by the Punjabi Roman Catholic leaders.
- Aarakshan - banned on 11 August 2011 for hurting the feelings of the weaker sections of the society. However, the ban was lifted on 14 August 2011 after a preview screening.
- Sadda Haq - On 4 April 2013, this Punjabi film set in the late 1980s and late 1990s during the Punjab insurgency, was banned in Punjab by the state government. The ban was lifted by the Supreme Court on 28 April 2013, after a special screening in the court.
- Oh My Pyo Ji - This film had its release stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2013 on the request of a producer due to the dispute between two producers
- Kaum De Heere - This movie about Indira Gandhi's bodyguards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh was banned by Censor Board in 2014. Eventually the movie was released on YouTube
- The Mastermind Jinda Sukha - this film about Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha was banned following controversies. The movie was released on YouTube
- MSG: The Messenger - this Hindi-language faith-based film Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh film was banned by the Punjab government in 2015.
- Nanak Shah Fakir - this Punjabi-language biopic about the life of Guru Nanak had its screening suspended by the Punjab government and Chandigarh administration for two months in 2015.
- MSG-2 The Messenger - This film was banned by Mansa administration on the release day in 2015, but the ban was lifted later. However, movie theatre owners refused to screen this movie in Punjab citing law and order problems.
- Santa Banta Pvt. Ltd. - this Bollywood spy-comedy film was banned by the state government for its denigrating and defamatory portrayal of Sikhs.
- Dharam Yudh Morcha - This film based on life of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, involving events like Anandpur Sahib resolution, the Operation Blue Star, the 1978 Sikh Nirankari clashes and the role of Major Subeg Singh as an army officer, was banned in the state on 2016, which led to release at YouTube.
- Toofan Singh - This movie based on the life of Jugraj Singh Toofan was banned, leading to it being released on YouTube.
- Shooter - this biographic film about the life of gangster Sukha Kahlwan was banned in Punjab on 2020.
- Jodhaa Akbar - not released in 2008 after theatre owners received letters written in blood by Hindu nationalist organization Karni Sena
- Padmaavat was banned in 2017 after controversies and threats of violence by Sri Rajput Karni Sena.
- Ore Oru Gramathiley - this Tamil-language drama film was banned in 1987 for its criticism of caste-based reservations. Later, the Supreme Court of India allowed it to be released.
- The Da Vinci Code was banned after concerts that it may hurt religious sentiments. The Madras High Court later allowed its screening.
- Dam 999 - This English-language 3D sci-fi disaster film was banned in 2011 for allegedly spreading fear among people regarding the Mullaperiyar Dam.
- Vishwaroopam - this spy action thriller film was banned in 2013 after allegations expressed by Muslim groups regarding the portrayal of the Muslim community in a bad light. The movie was later released after seven scenes were cut.
- Aaja Nachle - this Hindi-language dance film was banned because the lyrics of its title song was allegedly humiliating the Dalits. The lyrics were later changed and the ban was lifted after an apology from the producers.
- Jodhaa Akbar - this film was banned out of concern for breach of peace after protests from a Rajput group. The ban was later lifted by the Supreme Court.
- Aarakshan - this film about reservations in jobs and education had been banned due to objectionable dialogues. Later, the ban was lifted by the Supreme Court.
- City of Joy - this drama film about poverty in then-modern India and life in the slums had its shooting banned in Calcutta (currently Kolkata) in 1992 due to how the city was portrayed in a negative light.
- Kangal Malsat - this Bengali-language political satire film was refused to pass by a revsing committee of the CBFC in February 2013 citing excessive use of abusive language, sexuality and frivolous approach in portraying of social movements. It was later cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal after some edits.
- As of May 2012, various ISPs were ordered by the courts to block Vimeo, The Pirate Bay and the late Kickasstorrents.
- In 2015, many porn sites were blocked, but due to public outcry concerning flimsy evidence as to why, the block only lasted for a couple of days.
1999 censorship during the Kargil War
During the kargil war, between May and July 1999 websites from Pakistan including that of the Dawn News paper was censored in India. There was no significant media coverage about this though till the subsequent Yahoo ban of 2003.
2003 Yahoo Groups ban
- The first documented incident of Internet censorship in India was the Yahoo groups ban of 23rd september 2003.
- Kynhun, a Yahoo group linked to the outlawed "Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council,", a minor separatist group from the North-Eastern state of Meghalaya, which espoused the case of the Khasi tribe was banned.
- The order to implement the ban was forwarded to Indian ISP's by the Department of Telecommunications. Difficulties in implementing the ban by the ISP's ultimately led to all Yahoo groups being banned for a period of about two weeks.
2006 Internet censorship
The second reported incident of Internet censorship is the Indian Government's censorship of 17 websites including some blogs starting July 1, 2006.
2020 Chinese apps ban
TikTok, Likee and 57 other Chinese apps are currently banned on India as of June 2020, out of security concerns due to the skirmish between Indian and Chinese troops occurring that month. Prior to the ban, TikTok had over 200 million active users in India.
- Cow and Chicken and Back at the Barnyard are both banned in India due to their depiction of cows, which are sacred in Hinduism.
- An episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was not aired by Indian streaming service Hotstar (now Disney+ Hotstar) due to criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Oliver himself would later criticise Hotstar's practices on his show.
Video game censorship
- Fallout 3 was not released by Microsoft as the game to be released in India due to the game containing a cow-like creature called the Brahmin, whose name and design might be offensive to Hindus.
- Fallout: New Vegas is not officially banned, but is not available on Steam for the same reason as Fallout 3.
- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was banned as it was deemed "highly addictive" and for being distributed by Tencent after the border clash between Indian and Chinese armies in 2020. Players have also been prosecuted for playing the game.
- Rules of Survival, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Mobile Legends Adventure and Clash of Kings are banned as part of the Indian Government ban on 59 Chinese-owned apps.
- Garena Free Fire was banned on 14 February 2022 by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, which banned 54 Chinese apps in India, including said game.
- Censorship in India at Wikipedia
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