Netflix faces strong calls to boycott in India after the series ‘A Suitable Boy’ depicts a kissing scene between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman in a temple. The controversial scene comes amid the growing Hindu nationalism and religious extremism in India.
The series drew a love connection between Lata and Kabir characters, who are thwarted by history and faith. The story is set in the early 1950s in the wake of bloody sectarian clashes that echoed across the country. The series is an adaptation of the award-winning novel of Indian author Vikram Seth published in 1993.
Thank You MP's Home Minister @drnarottammisra Ji
— Narendra Kumar Chawla (@NarenderChawla1) November 22, 2020
The series has sparked outrage in India from the Hindu-nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party, leading the central government in New Delhi. The members of BJP have demanded an explanation from the American streaming service. The BJP politicians have called the kissing scene a disrespect of their religion.
Outrage against Netflix in India
On Sunday, “#BoycottNetflix’ was trending on Twitter, reported local media. On Saturday, a BJP youth leader, Gaurav Tiwari, had lodged a separate complaint against Netflix’s vice president of content in India and its public policy director concerning the show. Madhya Pradesh Police registered a complaint of Tiwari. He has accused Netflix of committing “deliberate or malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings.”
The director of the show, Mira Nair, had refused to comment on the controversy. Nair has a long career as a filmmaker in Bollywood and Hollywood and has to her credits movie “Vanity Fair,” “Monsoon Wedding,” and “Mississippi Masala.”
— CHETHANA PRABHU (@Ravalanath) November 22, 2020
The racial history of the US — or Richard Wright’s Native Son — will tell you exactly what this is. To fetishise the purity of one’s own women, to make sexual predators out of the men of the other community. Well, this is the very coursework of Racism 101. https://t.co/ifB4xZjqDE
— Aatish Taseer (@AatishTaseer) November 24, 2020
Narottam Mishra, a BJP leader and home minister in Madhya Pradesh state, said that a party leader had filed a complaint against the American streaming service.
In a press conference, he said: “To me, there is nothing suitable in that. In our temple, if you are filming a kissing scene, Rama music is on in the background, I do not consider it good. For that there are other places,” he added further.
Earlier this month, the Indian government had announced rules to regulate the video streaming platforms’ content, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney’s Hotstar.
The advocates of free speech in India, the Indian government would expand censorship on language, sex, violence, and even cigarette smoking, which has already have been in place on the cinema content in theatres.
The subject of the Netflix series is in a strong clash with the ongoing debate on ‘Love Jihad,’ a concept coined by Hindu-nationalists to taint the inter-faith Hindu-Muslim marriages an imaginary effort to convert Hindu women to Islam.
Last week, CM Madhya Pradesh India Mishra said that the government would soon bring the ‘Love Jihad’ bill, referring to Hindu-Muslim inter-faith marriages.
The minister said the bill would include the five-years of rigorous imprisonment for violators. The bill is expected to be presented soon in the assembly.
Netflix is facing calls for a boycott in India after its "A Suitable Boy" series depicted a Muslim man kissing a Hindu woman inside a Hindu temple pic.twitter.com/LAFcqtf3w2
— TRT World (@trtworld) November 24, 2020
“The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to bring in the Dharma Swatantrya Bill 2020. Under this, the practice of coercing someone into marriage by cajoling or pressuring will be made punishable by five-year rigorous imprisonment. Those assisting in such crimes will also be treated as primary accused…It will be a non-bailable offense,” Mr. Mishra said while talking to Indian media outlet NDTV.
“For voluntary conversion for marriage, it will be mandatory to apply to the collector a month in advance.” The minister added that no community would be added under this bill.
Several Indian states have already introduced such bills other like Assam, MP, UP, Karnataka, and Haryana are producing such bill that will declare the change of religion just for marriage unacceptable.
GVS News Desk