India’s Cultural Negotiations: Shaping the Political Imagination

[India, Nepal–two very different Maoisms. Flames of the Snow, a Documentary on Maoism in Nepal, arrives in India.  At first, it is banned.  Then, negotiations.  Whether to denounce all Maoism, and ban the film–or to negotiate some changes in its presentation, becomes the question for the Indian state and the powers of public culture.-ed]

An Indian journalist’s documentary film on the Maoist uprising in Nepal has finally won its battle with the Indian censors after a panel, headed by veteran Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore, gave it the green light.

It was a moment of triumph for Anand Swaroop Verma, whose 125-minute documentary, Flames of the Snow, was approved for public screenings by the Revising Committee of India’s Central Board of Film Certification without being asked to delete any scenes.

Last month, citing the growing Maoist violence in India, the Board had declined to allow the film, saying “any justification or romanticisation of the ideology of extremism or of violence, coercion, intimidation in achieving its objectives would not be in the public interest, particularly keeping in view the recent Maoist violence in some parts of the country”.However, Verma, who is considered close to Nepal’s Maoist leadership, challenged the decision and the film was viewed in New Delhi last week by six members of the Board’s Revising Committee, including its chairman and veteran actor Sharmila Tagore. Continue reading