Does Ban-Boycott Culture Solve Anything?


Why is it that if we do not understand something we want to ban it? Or, when something is not to our liking we call to boycott it? Why are we are banning problems instead of solving them. Such as,

  • Pakistan artists: ban
  • Chinese products: boycott.
  • Didn’t like Tanishq Ad: Boycott.
  • Alcohol addiction? Ban.
  • Women safety issue? Ban them from going out.
  • What is cryptocurrency? Talks of a possible ban.

So many problems. Why one solution?

Banning is equal to controlling. It hinders understanding.

We want to ban items of arts and literature that offend us, hurt our sentiments or our beliefs. It is almost as if taking offence has become our national hobby. Movies are easy targets in this case:

  • Film Bombay created a controversy due to inter-religious depiction. It was banned in several parts of India.
  • 2002 Indian drama Parzania faced unofficial ban in Gujarat. Reason? It was deemed a pro-minority document.
  • Rajput community held protests against Jodha Akbar and Padmavat.
  • Barber community did not like the title of Srk-Irffan starrer Billu Barber. It was later released as Billu.
  • Hollywood movie Da Vinci Code was also stalled when several Christian organizations protested.
  • Kissa Kursi Ka, one of the first satirical films on emergency period, was also banned.

Sometimes, we try to fight the ills of society by bans and boycotts:

Like, in 2018, Uttarakhand HC asked the centre to impose ban on porn sites. The perpetrators acted because they were motivated by porn sites, it was said. But, are crimes against women resolved or reduced by trivial solutions such as ban?

Similarly, has ban of alcohol in Bihar stopped alcohol consumption in the state? Also, in March, this year, Khap panchayat in U.P. banned shorts for boys and jeans for girls. Does it solve anything?

A ban is more often than not influenced by prejudice and/or insecurities. It does not take research and study into account; no planning, no discussion; for that would be too much work.

Ban is easy, it is sudden; public seem to admire immediate action as well. However, although a nicer looking route in short term, banning or boycotting is not adaptive and ineffective in the longer run.

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