Pataal Lok S2E2 be removed or rectified along with an apology to Nepali community.

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In a world where cinema influences life and perceptions, an Amazon Prime Show called ‘Pataal Lok’, labelling Nepalis’ as whores is simply unacceptable. The discrimination against linguistic minorities, such as the Nepali community, has always been in existence, one that seems to foster from ignorance and prejudices, especially when promoted by a show which has millions of viewers.

Regardless of the fact that out of more than 19,500 mother tongues in India, Nepali is one of the 22 official languages recognised under the Eight Schedule of the Constitution, Nepali people are still subjugated and labelled as outsiders. Regardless of the fact that Darjeeling, Sikkim and a few other parts of the North East predominantly have Nepali speaking people who have been residing in India as Indians since independence, and even before that, the cultural community is still shunned by the rest of India. Regardless of that fact that Darjeeling and Sikkim alone have lakhs of tourists visiting each year, both domestic and international; the irony remains that while these places are adored and worshipped for its beauty, the people residing in them are treated as castaways.

These pre-existing prejudices thus only magnifies, when a trending show such as ‘Pataal Lok’ on Amazon Prime, produced by Anushka Sharma and Sudip Sharma, directed by Avinash Arun Dhaware and Prosit Roy and written by Sagar Haveli, in its Season 1, Episode 2, between 3:42 and 3:46, openly calls out an entire community by the most degrading of names. Art and artistic freedom cannot be an excuse to foster prejudices, one that paves way for further discrimination. If profanity were to be used, it could have been done so without attaching an entire community to it. There has never been an instance where someone was called a Punjabi Randi, a Gujarati Randi or an Uttar Pradesh Randi, so why should an artist take liberties to call out an individual as a ‘Nepali Randi’?

The freedom of speech granted to filmmakers under the Indian Constitution too has certain restrictions to it, ‘defamation’ being one of them. Art cannot take liberties to defame an entire community, especially when that community already suffers the brunt of racial slurs and harassment.

It must be kept in mind that cinema can be powerful, and in the words of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, films have to be treated separately from other forms of art and expression because a motion picture is ‘able to stir up emotions more deeply than any product of art.’ The social responsibility of film makers cannot be ignored.

In light of the above statements, we therefore demand that the said episode 2 of Season 1 of ‘Pataal Lok’ be removed, or rectified between the time period of 3:42 and 3:46. We also demand a public apology for the same.

-Progressive Gorkhas

Email: progressivegorkhas@gmail.com