Chandigarh: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday asked his opponents to stop spreading canards about a government ban on the release of a film which allegedly categorically and specifically describes Punjabis as ” Kanjar” and it’s land as ” Banjar”. “For us, the film in question is one of the countless such films produced for commercial reasons in the country. Whether to allow its release or not is an issue between the producers and the Central Board of Film Certification. The govt has nothing to do with it. It is for the censors to see whether the film meets or violates the fundamental principles of balance between freedom of expression on the one hand and deliberately or inadvertently blackening the face of a state , a community or a faith on the other,” Badal says..
He further said that he would not pre-judge the issue before the film is out in the market. “We are in favour of anything that lends social, psychological or thematic support to our all out war against drugs. For all I know, the film in question may even be an attempt to correct the distorted picture of Punjab as drug haven painted by some opportunistic non-Punjabi persons, political parties and leaders who are using abusive language against the bravest and the most competent and patriotic people of Punjab. If so, we will welcome the movie and even support it and similar films aimed at image correction of Punjabis. Badal said that it is absurd even to suggest a governmental intervention at this stage.
“Neither the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal nor I nor anyone else at political or administrative level in the govt or the party has seen the film so far. So how can we take a call on whether or not the film would affect the peaceful atmosphere in the state by hurting the sentiments of Punjabis through a vulgar and humiliating presentation of the present day Punjab and Punjabis.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that he is not surprised that there has been a strong reaction against the insults allegedly thrown at Punjab in the film by blackening the face of every Punjabi. “If true , it is most painful and disgraceful. ” Badal rubished the propaganda against Punjab as land of terrorists and druggies and said those who indulge in this propaganda need to educate themselves. “Punjabis are leading the rest of the country in every sphere, occupying top positions in various fields like science , technology , education, IT, nano-technology, agriculture and industry etc.
Punjabis dominate social and political life all across the world. Naturally , they react strongly against any demonisation of their character, such as by calling them terrorists, rapists , druggies etc,” said the Deputy CM , adding that the question whether the film in question indulges in that demonisation will be considered only after it is cleared by the censor board first. However, he said that he merely hoped that what he had read about the contents of the film was wrong. ” I merely read about the contents of the film in a national daily and like every other proud Punjabi, I was deeply pained by this description of the people of my state.
I know that every Punjabi considers themselves ” the children of our great gurus” We may have a few problems but Punjabis know better than anybody else in the world how to face and defeat challenges. Drugs was one such challenge before and in the last few years , Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal launched the Punjab govts war on drugs. “.
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