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What do we make of this?

The Times of India reports that the Kinnaur district BJP has protested against the film Traffic Signal for its “objectionable” use of the term Kinner for eunuchs. The film has been banned in Himachal Pradesh.

Protesting against Bollywood movie ‘Traffic Signal’ for using the word ‘kinner’ for eunuchs in the film, the Kinnaur district BJP on Thursday appealed to President APJ Abdul Kalam to intervene for getting the “objectionable” word dropped from it.

A BJP delegation, led by Kinnaur District President Vidya Sagar Negi, submitted a memorandum in the name of the President to Deputy Commissioner BR Verma for forwarding it.

The memorandum said the tribal people of Kinnaur, popularly referred to as ‘Kinners’, were feeling “insulted” because of the use of the word for eunuchs in the Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest movie and urged Kalam to intervene and get the “wrong and objectionable” word deleted from the film, state BJP Executive Committee member Tejwant Negi.

It said that as per a 1956 Presidential notification, the tribal people of Kinnaur have been accorded the status of Scheduled Tribe. Kinnaur district was formed in 1960 and it derived its name from the term “Kinner”.

President of Himachal Pradesh Tribal Employees Federation B S Negi said he has written a letter to chief of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes for dropping of the word from the movie as it has “damaging” effect on Kinners’ society.

On Wednesday, the Himachal Pradesh Government, through a notification, banned screening of the movie in the state for two months in view of widespread protests from people of Kinnaur district.

4 comments

1 Nirmal Kumar { 02.10.07 at 9:35 am }

This is not censorship. And the matter is not with BJP. It may amount to simple reductionism which the press has been quite used to. In fact while eunuchs have been called Kinner is a fact, it is also true that the Himachali tribe is called Kinner. So I think the film maker should have taken precaution. It is not about distortion of history but the nomenclature and soon every one will assume that the Himachali tribes are eunuchs. Films are that powerful tool of information generation and distribution. It is like if criminals in a film is called Bihari or Gujarati. Then Biharis and Gujaratis have the right to protest!
This issue is different from cultural censorship or communal sensitiveness felt by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jats in terms of History textbook writing in India. It has to be seen in community’s identity.

2 Kishore Budha { 02.10.07 at 11:33 am }

By that logic, all those who share names with villians in films should protest against a negative portrayal of their name in films. I don’t think the director (or scriptwriter) would have been aware that a community called Kinner exists. I don’t agree with you.

3 S.R.Harnot { 03.01.07 at 2:26 am }

Firstly this issue raised during 2000 when some eunuchs like Shabnam Mausi in MP came in Politics, the Media thought proper to call them Kinners. It is by ignorance. But ignorance of law is no excuse. Being a writer I at first issued a Press release on some dates i.e. 25th December, 2000 and it published in all News Papers. During April, 2001 this issue had been discussed in Himacghal Vidhan Sabha and criticized it by saying that Kinners could not be called to eunuchs. Again when Madhur Bhandarkar, before the release of the Traffic Signal, gave numbers of interviews to TV News Channels and said that the Kinners are also acting in his film. He has referred some eunuchs working in his Film as Kinner. We took a serious note of it and again released a Press Note against this. A storm has been come up in Himachal . Not only the people of Himchal, various Print and Electronic medias, writers and itelectuals and the people of Kinnaur district objected it. The Himachal Government then banned the film. We also had a talk to Mr. Madhur Bhandarkar on his mobile but his reaction was very poor and negative. Mr. Bhandarkar alongwith his film colleagues like Mahesh Bhutt and Ashok Pandit etc.etc. did a Press Conference in Mumbai and criticized the Himachal Pradesh and HP Government in this regard. By this they all not only insulted again the Himachal People but also insulted the HP Vidhan Sabha. Please read this:

‘the people of Kinnaur District belongs to Kinnaur or Kinnar Tribe which is recognized as Scheduled Tribe under the Scheduled Tribes List(modification) order 1956 and the State of HImachal Pradesh Act, 1970’.

They also insulted the Constitution of India too.

It is a serious matter. There are numbers of books on Kinners—Maha Pandit Rahul Sankritayayan also visited the entire region and in his book *Kinner Desh* he refers and proved the region as Kinner Desh and their inhabitants as Kinners of ancient history. Obviously they are not eunuchs. There are numbers of students in HP University and JNU who are doing their M phil. and P.hd. on Kinners. Can Madhur Bhandarkar and his colleagues prove that these all literatures are based on eunuchs or Rahul Sankritayayan writter his Book Kinner Desh and other books on eunuchs.
It is really a shamful thing on the part of such people who does not honour the culture and history of India and too the Constitution.
We are very thankful to Mr.Kishore Budha. Kindly give me his e-mail address.

S.R.Harnot
Hindi Writer
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh(India)

4 prashantk { 03.06.07 at 6:34 pm }

Could Mr. Harnot or Mr. Nirmal Kumar possibly suggest what should the eunuch character in the film be called as.

In other words, what should the eunuchs be called in the film?

Could you suggest a possible ‘replacement word’ that Bhandarkar could use?

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