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Alkazi Theatre Archives


Historicizing Theatre and Censorship through Newspaper Reports

Historicizing censorship and theatre, M. L. Varadpande in an article in Hindustan Times (May 19, 1979) writes,

‘It is in Kautilya’s “Arthashastra”, written around 400 BC, that we find for the first time clear rules pertaining to the actor community and the art. In addition to paying tax per show the actor was supposed to behave properly on stage. He was asked to avoid criticism of country, caste, family and copulation of man and woman in his recitations…These notions still persist. The modern code of censorship consists of more or less the same restrictions. And paralleling instances of violation of the code of censorship by ancient dramaturgists and stage artists are similar instances in modern times. The formulation and violation of such codes will go on for ever ’.

Is the censorship of arts practices like theatre detrimental to the development of ideas in a society?

Image 1: The Sunday Observer, August 11, 1985
Image 2: Hindustan Times, May 19, 1979
Image 3: Rajdhani Darshan, July 16, 1972

Historicizing Theatre and Censorship through Newspaper Reports

All Courtesy: Anand Gupt Collection/ Alkazi Theatre Archives