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Indian government: a case study in stupidity?

So the Indian government has defiantly banned a BBC documentary about rape in India, presumably because it makes them look bad. So they are trying to hush it all up, which of course just makes them look ever worse. Rather than using this as a call to action in which they make themselves look good, they end up making themselves look really terribly unbelievably bad. As if the problem with endemic rape is not rape but people highlighting and talking about it.

Well a libertarian Indian chum of mine has been saying for some time that Modi’s brain is vastly overrated, and I must now conclude he was quite correct. Oh you gotta laugh. I take it they have never heard of the Streisand effect and have no conception of how the internet works.

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38 comments to Indian government: a case study in stupidity?

  • Paul Marks

    Prime Minister Modi’s main economic idea (both back as a State Premier and as the Union Prime Minister) is to borrow lots of money for “infrastructure” projects.

    The opposition is even worse.

    They support the “infrastructure” – but they support create even more “public services” as well (not that Prime Minister M. has got rid of any of the unsustainable benefits and services set up by the last government – sadly no).

    In the capital an opposition party is handing out free electricity and water supplies.

    I wonder how that is going to turn out……..

    There is no hope – none. Because everyone (and certainly not just India) sees government as a sort of magic bag – where you just put your hand in and take out anything you want.

    As for Freedom of Speech……

    Apart from a few “Red State” Americans, nobody believes in freedom of speech.

    Ask the British people if “racist” speech should be legal. Indeed ask them if any speech that is “bad” should be legal.

    It is no different in other countries – including France where the hypocrites marched in memory of the murdered cartoonists, and then went back to their offices to think of yet more restrictions to put on freedom of speech in France.

    By the way – those Red State Americans.

    Look to your children – they are being taught to hate and despise everything you stand for (including freedom of speech).

    Even in Texas some 80 of government schools teach “social justice” doctrine – and the universities are dominated by Marxist “Critical Theory” ideas including the “need” to ban “hate speech”.

    If people do not control their education of their own children – they control, in the long term, NOTHING.

    Children are the future – if they are taught to hate and despise the principles of their parents, the principles of their parents (including Freedom of Speech) are doomed.

    I said there is “no hope – none”, but that is not quite true.

    There is one hope.

    But it will depend on pro freedom people being prepared to get very nasty indeed.

    When the international bubble economy finally goes – and the true struggle for power starts.

  • Simon Just

    There is no hope – none

    Thank Christ most people do not see the world the way you do.

  • This is about freedom of expression in India.

  • bloke in spain

    Having a foreign media company turn up & follow it’s standard business plan of planting it’s “Look here! Victims!” pennant, rolling its cameras & selling the resulting product to all & sundry, including your own people, could make any government a tad fractious. Especially if the same media company had been studiously ignoring not dissimilar goings on in its own country.
    Not everyone thinks the sun shines eternal from the BBC’s collective, intellectual liberal, ass*le.

  • bloke in spain

    Couple of words I left out there. Important.

    product…as entertainment…to all & sundry

  • Except they got all the permissions needed to talk to get into the prison and get their interviews etc. so what exactly were the government expecting when they OK’ed all this? Have you seen it? I am always quick to bash the BBC but I cannot see how they got it wrong this time. The fact the same BBC has disgraced itself over things like Rotherham etc. is true but how is that relevant to this?

  • bloke in spain

    No, not seen it. My tedium bandpass is set very low & I’m well aware shit happens in furrin’. It goes with it being furrin’.
    I expect the Beeb did get all its permissions. But governments are hardly monoliths, are they? A sign off from some well duped third tier pen-pusher isn’t ‘passed through the inbox on the PM’s desk’. Should think he’s having his arse well roasted this week.
    But all very sad, anyway. And then the viewer turned over to get the beginning of XFactor & the director settled down to writing his acceptance speech for the award ceremony – Best Foreign Report.
    And the world moves on but shit still happens.

  • What BiS said. Plus, why should the rape epidemic in India be the business of people not living in that country? It’s not like India is a brutal dictatorship, where no one can save the rape victims other than outside forces (not that it’s likely to happen anyway, BBC report or not) – it is a fairly free country, although obviously not without some serious problems.

  • Plus, why should the rape epidemic in India be the business of people not living in that country?

    Seriously? So I should just concern myself with what happens in SW3 should I?

    it is a fairly free country, although obviously not without some serious problems.

    How would you know unless foreign people had been reporting on Indian affairs, or perhaps you just go to the Times of India a lot 😉

  • bloke in spain

    Concern yourself Perry. Protest. Boycott Indian restaurants.

  • Only if they have a Rape Vindaloo on the menu. Otherwise, no.

  • bloke in spain

    Reminds me. Has Portillo done Great Indian Railway Journeys yet? Wryly smarmed his way through the twee-er parts of the sub-continent. Maybe the BBC should cancel it in solidarity with Indian rape victims. Or isn’t that the BBC? Who can tell?

  • How would you know unless foreign people had been reporting on Indian affairs, or perhaps you just go to the Times of India a lot

    Nothing wrong that I can see with the Times of India (or India Times, for that matter) – at least nothing that would make their reporting worse than that of BBC.

  • Seriously? So I should just concern myself with what happens in SW3 should I?

    You are free to concern yourself with whatever you like, but you can’t expect people with whom you choose to concern yourself to reciprocate. What makes you so confident that Indian rape victims welcome your concern for them?

  • Lee Moore

    According to the Guardian’s report “Rajnath Singh said the film had breached the terms under which it was permitted to interview the rapist inside Delhi’s central jail” – but Perry says they got all the necessary permissions. Who’s right ? Obviously Perry not being a politician is likely to be telling the truth as he understands it, but he may be relying on a claim from the BBC, which has the same or marginally inferior truth value to a politician’s statement.

    Of course, the Indian government’s reaction is counterproductive, but that’s a different question from whether the BBC broke any terms of its access. I recall from many years back a BBC documentary about Primark and Indian child labour. There was a scene in which some Western campaigning agitpropper was being interviewed by the Beeboid, and was asked – astonishingly – whether child labour in India was really such a bad thing, since it did help children eat. The agitpropper replied – shocked – but it’s against the law ! The Beeboid nodded sonorously. No more to be said. The very next cut, was to a Tamil refugee camp in which child labour was alleged to be going on, with the Beeboid crouched in the bushes, whispering in Attenborough style, “the Indian government does not allow outsiders access to these camps….”
    Well it made me laugh.

    What the Indians should have done – and what I would certainly have done long ago if I was a rich Bond villain – would be to commission a documentary or three on the BBCs documentaries, showing up a selection of the lies, misrepresentations, fake camera angles, doom music and other tools of the serial propaganda merchant. There are still, it’s hard to believe I know, many millions of people who imagine that a BBC documentary is a genuine honest search for truth. It would be a service to disabuse them of this fantasy.

  • but you can’t expect people with whom you choose to concern yourself to reciprocate

    I don’t. But I do find it fascinating when some of them react in such a spectacularly inept way. I mean seriously: the Indian government wait until the documentary is done and dusted and ready to go, and in this age of digital distribution they expect to be able to just make it go away? That is both noteworthy and downright funny!

    What makes you so confident that Indian rape victims welcome your concern for them?

    Not sure why I would care if they do or do not really. I doubt business people in China much care that I am interested in them either but I am, and am quite unconcerned by their indifference. Ditto the Peshmerga. I did not take the lack of Christmas cards from Kurdistan thanking me for my interest personally.

  • but Perry says they got all the necessary permissions. Who’s right ?

    If you bowl up to a high security prison and go “I say old chap, may I interview that deathrow rapist fellow with my camera crew present?”… I think it is rather unlikely you will get your foot over the door unless you have all manner of paperwork and pre-arranged permissions, particularly in permit-crazy bureaucratic India.

  • Lee Moore

    “If you bowl up to a high security prison and go “I say old chap, may I interview that deathrow rapist fellow with my camera crew present?”… I think it is rather unlikely you will get your foot over the door unless you have all manner of paperwork and pre-arranged permissions, particularly in permit-crazy bureaucratic India.”

    I would tend to agree. But the permissions may have been conditional , eg on what was to be fllmed, the questions that were to be put, who was to be present, whether the BBC was obliged to show the prison service the film, or allow them to edit it, or whatever. The politico didn’t say the BBC hadn’t got permission he said “the film had breached the terms under which it was permitted to interview the rapist inside Delhi’s central jail” By the “film had breached” he presumably meant “the film makers had breached”

  • bloke in spain

    Rather than the intricacies of BBC interviewing permissions, my disinterest is provoked by the Corporation’s motives. Behind all the protestations of responsible investigative journalism is the simple truth, they’re in the shock pr0n business. In the same way as they’ll be in the fairytale business next time they author one of those breathless admirations of ancient Indian culture – light on beggars & cannibal monks (hat-tip Torygraph foto journalism). Heavy on the iniquities of the Raj.
    It’s not as if we’re learning or achieving much here. Yes they’ve captured some interview footage, will make soft hearted & headed western liberals recoil in suitable horror. And have the feel-good sensation of doing so. But this is India FFS. Places like that you’ll hear any sort of curious justifications for unpalatable behaviour. The why won’t be found by working down from a high profile criminal case but working up through the culture of a billion odd people who don’t share our preconceptions. See also forced marriages, wife burning & anything else would make good fodder for 30 minutes between Eastenders & Crufts Dog Show. But judgementalism & stuff.

  • Then BiS has completely missed the point of what is ‘interesting’ here and worth an article. It is only tangentially about ‘rape in India’ and it is not even slightly about agitprop in documentary making in the BBC, but rather about how clearly the Indian government has no idea that it cannot possibly control the message in the internet age.

    Having made the cardinal error of allowing a BBC documentary team into a prison it controls (I mean what were they expecting as an outcome?), clearly they are concerned with how this all makes the state of the Indian state look (and so they let them do this interview why exactly?), they then think it is possible to ‘ban’ the story and make it go away. Seriously?

    Moreover by their actions they make it look very much like they are more concerned about how this makes the authorities and India generally look, rather than the issue of endemic rape. That may or may not be true but that is the clear message they are loudly sending to the world. Hence “a case study in stupidity”.

  • ajf

    Indian government types are terribly thin-skinned about anything that makes India “look bad”. They had a massive whinge about the Top Gear India special a few years back.

  • bloke in spain

    No, I haven’t missed the point, Perry. The Indian government clearly don’t share the sense of esteem required for appreciating all things BBC. They don’t give a monkey’s. They’ve judged banning the product & giving the Corporation a light legal reaming is more beneficial to them than adopting the prone position. At least they’re not playing real hardball. Other administrations might be arguing the case from the strength of having a couple of journos banged up on bread & water. With not much of either. But the,n those sort of administrations seem to get different treatment from the Beeb. See Cuban rape culture. But you won’t will you?

  • Patrick

    Is there not a deeper unmentionable here? The issue of dissing another race or culture.

    It has been hardwired into Indian culture for centuries that some people are intrinsically worth more than others and that some are frankly untouchable. And that you may not escape or marry out of your caste.

    I think India is frankly terrified that discussing this rape stuff will open the whole can of worms on a much bigger uglier issue – their whole culture is as fucked up and horrible as Islam.

  • bloke in spain

    If we’re going to get our knickers in a twist over governments’ inability to appreciate the futility of trying to obscure reality in the face of interweb transparency, we could start with a government not a million miles from here. But they’re all unrealistically hopeful. Failure to adjust. What governments do best.

  • They’ve judged banning the product & giving the Corporation a light legal reaming is more beneficial to them than adopting the prone position.

    Then they are indeed a case study in stupidity. If they had any PR smarts, given that they are a new government they could have just blamed everything on their political enemies and promised to Do Something About It, even if they intended to do the sum total of bugger all.

    See Cuban rape culture. But you won’t will you?

    Of course not. But then the Cuban state know that to control the message they need to have (essentially) no internet. And guess what, they have essentially no internet… Which means they may be evil but they are not a case study in stupidity.

    You see this isn’t about the BBC at all really.

    But they’re all unrealistically hopeful. Failure to adjust. What governments do best.

    True, and probably just as well too, haha

  • India? We have Stalinism in America – well supported on the Right. And what is the response I frequently get from libertarians here (US)? “Well yes. That is bad but there are more important issues about.” Note the Stalinism is not limited to the Right. Using the IRS against political enemies is another one. Wait? Wasn’t Nixon in on that too?

    ========================

    Nixon went after cannabis to jail his political enemies. The essence of Stalinism.

    “Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

  • India? We have Stalinism in America

    America? Incredibly not everyone lives in America or only finds what happens in America interesting. None of this has anything to do with America, not even tangentially, and I am actually totally ok with that 😉

  • Andrew Duffin

    Maybe the Indian government was expecting a serious, balanced – if harsh – examination of the issues, but after the event realised (surprise!) that what was actually broadcast was the usual patronising sneering de-haut-en-bas sniggering superiority that the beeb does so well?

    Maybe that’s what pissed them off. It certainly pisses me off every time I encounter it.

  • Mr Ed

    Is there not a deeper unmentionable here? The issue of dissing another race or culture.

    I half suspect that the BBC’s motives in going after this issue are: 1. Feminism and women’s rights generally, and 2. to show that it is not only in strict Islamic cultures that the rights of women are limited, thereby diluting any hostility to strict Islamic practices.

    Almost every government looks bad if you look at it with an open mind. But this government looks ridiculous too.

  • NickM

    ajf nails it. This really is all about India getting shirty about anything that makes ’em look bad and the reporting of endemic rape certainly does.

  • bloke in spain

    I think that’s been my point all along, Nick. And it looks like the BBC were determined to make them look bad. So their preferred response should be to grovel abjectly & swear on Kali’s elephant “something will be done”.
    Except, for the Indians, they know there is no “something” can be done. They’ve a whole culture working from the street beggar on the corner up results in these attitudes. Hell, the Raj was trying to stamp out suttee a century ago & it’s still happening.
    I can see why Indians could have a failure of temper excursion over a Western entertainment programme’s cashing in on their difficulties.

  • American Stalinism and the largest prison system in the world by any measure is a cause for indifference? America is truly the greatest country in the world.

    India? Well it must be their culture. When they rape it is bad but rape in American prisons? When you have such indifference why even bother covering it up? Heck. Might as well celebrate it. And we do. The jokes are epidemic and nothing is ever done.

    And luckiest of all? We don’t even have to cover it up.

    “If they can get you to ask the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.” – Thomas Pynchon.

  • American Stalinism and the largest prison system in the world by any measure is a cause for indifference? America is truly the greatest country in the world.

    But how is that relevant? Why does every article, every interest, every topic have to be about bloody America? I am reminded of this:

    There is a Samizdata team joke that the difference between American arrogance and British arrogance is the British think they run the world, whereas the Americans think they are the world.

    If I want to write yet another article about the grotesque US prison population, which I have on several occasions, then I will. But this is not such an article. Indeed it is not about America at all in any way, shape or form. Not everything has to be, you know.

  • Indian government types are terribly thin-skinned about anything that makes India “look bad”.

    Add India to a looooooong list of countries that do the same, usually tinpot shitholes. For some laughs, Google the Nigerian response to their portrayal in the film District 9.

  • CaptDMO

    “If I want to write yet another article about the grotesque US prison population, which I have on several occasions, then I will. But this is not such an article. Indeed it is not about America at all in any way, shape or form. Not everything has to be, you know.”
    WOAH!
    Am I to understand that (ie)”But Moooooooooom, Marsha’s parent’s let HER get a tramp stamp, and pierce HER nipples! EVERYBODY’S doing it!!!!”
    is NOT a viable distraction to the whatever the issue at hand is?

  • Rich Rostrom

    No one here seems to get it.

    Modi is not doing this to “protect India’s reputation” – it’s obviously useless for that. He’s doing it to assuage hypernationalist Indians who are upset that feringhees are exposing some of India’s failings.

    BTW – “Stalinism in the U.S.”?? Quite so, aside from the absence of slave-labor camps, mass executions, state ownership of all mass communication, a one-party state, mass arrest and imprisonment of all known or suspected political dissidents, and direction in detail of the entire national economy by central planners…

    This sort of over-the-top howling is what makes a lot of people not take libertarians seriously.

  • CaptDMO

    Streisand effect?
    Formerly known as “Whatever you do, DON’T stick beans up your nose!”?
    Pandora’s Box? Apple from the tree of knowledge?