Editorial

Editorial: Our Heroes Don’t Love, We Don’t Let them

Why do people not want heroic public figures, now a part of history, and so that of a controversy, to love and romance as a normal man do? Late PM Jawaharlal Nehru, as is common knowledge, had a relationship with Lady Mountbatten. Suddenly, with shooting of a film ‘Indian Summers’ – eventually cleared by I&B Ministry with directives to censor intimate scenes between the two – the discussion has heated up on many a count.

Naturally, there are three basic sides to the issue. One, what kind of Nehru-Edwina relationship was? Two, why is Congress so particular about not letting any other side of Nehru’s life that it deems challenges people’ holier-than-thou-image-mindset of their heroes? Last, why a censoring of scenes of a movie, a clear denial to give someone his right to freedom of speech?

We, Indians as we are, wouldn’t like the idea of our hero hugging a lady or kissing her, not even in dream; but when it comes to some hidden relationship they had, we desperately want to learn about that. That’s about the whole Nehru-Edwina case. Unfortunately, the censoring of movie scenes has expropriated people of an opportunity to get enlightened on the topic.

The kind of relationship two of them enjoyed is the real topic of whisper thesedays. We, Indians as we are, wouldn’t like the idea of our hero hugging a lady or kissing her, not even in dream; but when it comes to some hidden relationship they had, we desperately want to learn about that. That’s about the whole Nehru-Edwina case. Unfortunately, the censoring of movie scenes has expropriated people of an opportunity to get enlightened on the topic, which has so far been confined to speculations. Was it sexual, or, one of ‘Love and Friendship’ as Nehru’s niece and author Nayantara Sehgal has termed it would continue to remain a mystery now.

Congress party’s concerns, given the expectations of people from dead persons, are fathomable. But in a modern era when there is considerable acceptance among people of the fact that a hero, too, does what a common man does; congress party should not shy away from such revelations; it can work to make people see their leaders in the light of practicality, rather than in the smokescreen of non-existent idealism. Most importantly, common man’s weaknesses of public figures can really give them greater connectivity with masses if they approach it in that way, something our all politicians and parties have never realized.

Censoring of scenes of the movie is the most significant aspect of the issue. Needless to add, scenes of ‘Indian Summer’ have not been cut off on any of the grounds that are applicable to films or on the basis of which scenes are cut off in other movies. It is a pure matter of ruling party feeling uncomfortable with certain parts. If that’s not so, was the step taken on the ground of genuine objection raised by a historian to the content of the movie that prides itself on being a periodic work? Isn’t it like the State dictating terms to someone?

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