December 3, 2023

Lukmaan IAS

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BOMBAY HC IS RIGHT – BANNING PAKISTANI ARTISTS IS NOT THE RIGHT STEP

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THE CONTEXT: Recently, a petitioner had sought directives from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs prohibiting the employment of Pakistani actors, technicians, singers, musicians and lyricists in India. The Bombay High Court however, dismissed the petition seeking a total ban on Pakistani artists working in India.

BACKGROUND OF THE ISSUE:

  • Over the last decade, art, culture and sports have been affected due to political tensions between India and Pakistan.
  • In the early 2010s, the success of Pakistani serials had made room for Indian television channels to stream shows from across the border and for Pakistani stars to sign up projects in Bollywood.
  • The September 2016 Uri attack put an end to these cross-border exchanges with resolutions from the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association and the Federation of Western India Cine Employees barring Pakistani artistes from working in the Indian film industry.
  • In 2019, the Pulwama strikes brought forth a resolution by the All-Indian Cine Workers Association, upholding the 2016 ban.

WHY BANNING IS A RIGHT DECISION?

  • Discrimination against Indian artists: It is being argued that allowing Pakistani artists to work in India could lead to discrimination against Indian artists. The favourable environment available to Pakistani artists in India is not reciprocated for Indian artists in Pakistan.
  • Prevent commercial exploitation: The ban is essential to prevent the exploitation of commercial opportunities by Pakistani artists in India, which could potentially deprive Indian artists of similar opportunities.
  • Enemy nation: Pakistan is a terrorist nation which treats India as an enemy. Supporting a terrorist nation which wants to harm our nation is not a good idea.

WHY BANNING IS NOT A RIGHT DECISION?

  • Deprive both nation of cultural exchanges: Banning of artist is a backward step in promoting cultural harmony, unity and peace and these actions deprive both countries of cultural exchanges. Art has unifying nature and are instrumental in fostering a sense of unity and peace between nations.
  • Parochial nationalism: Patriotism isn’t demonstrated by hostility towards foreign nationals, particularly those from neighbouring countries. Banning is a shrill narrative of parochial nationalism. Cultural or artistic life should not be disrupted in the country, given the fact that cross-border trade is still going on despite the latest round of tensions.
  • Curtail freedom of expression: Artists are the most vulnerable because they operate in public spaces, and banning them curtails the freedom of expression of artists. Also, banning is based on the resolutions passed by private associations, although expressing a sentiment, lacked statutory force and could not be enforced through judicial orders. And enforcing such bans would contravene the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(a), 19(1)(g), and 21 of the Constitution.
  • For global harmony: The court hailed the Indian government’s proactive measures to allow artists, in accordance with Article 51 of the Indian Constitution, which fosters global peace and security. Additionally, the court cited the example of allowing the Pakistani cricket team to participate in the World Cricket Cup held in India, asserting that entertaining such petitions would undermine such efforts.

THE WAY FORWARD:

  • Scope of soft diplomacy: Art, music, dance and so on are the activities which rise above nationalities, cultures and nations and truly bring about peace, tranquillity, unity and harmony between nations. These instruments can be used for soft diplomacy, and cultural similarities between both nations can be used for conflict resolution.
  • Collaboration: There is a need of collaboration between different stakeholders to rise over differences and appreciate each other’s cultural brilliance.
  • Cultural exchanges: Cultural exchanges are one of the most important ways for the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of culture or identity to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation or promote the national interest. For example, Urdu poetry and ghazals from Pakistan and shows like Coke Studio, and MTV unplugged have a wider range fan following in both countries.
  • People to People: The main connecting agents are people and their personal relationship is vital to beat the differences. Hatred is not going to serve any purpose, and an artist represents freedom and the universal idea that humanity must be free to live without fear and violence. Therefore, the citizen’s diplomacy or people-to-people contact between India and Pakistan is significant in building peace between the two nations.

THE CONCLUSION:

Banning artists is not the long-term solution to resolve the conflict between the nations, and cross-border cultural cooperation should be promoted for reconciliation and hope for fostering better relations.

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS

Q.1 Keeping in view India’s internal security, analyse the impact of cross-border cyber-attacks. Also discuss defensive measures against these sophisticated attacks. (2021)

Q.2 Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India-Pakistan relations. To what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchange could help generate goodwill between the two countries. Discuss with suitable examples. (2015)

MAINS PRACTICE QUESTION

Q.1 Cultural diplomacy and soft power are important instruments in regional and international cooperation and are of particular relevance for India-Pakistan relations. Comment.

SOURCE: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/bombay-hc-is-right-banning-pakistani-artists-is-not-the-right-step-8996665/

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