Another week, another national government demanding that a clip on YouTube be censored. First it was the Brazilian courts, which ended up reversing its decision. This time it’s India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which is up in arms over standup comedian Gautham Prasad’s sketch of Gandhi doing a strip tease.
Blog Pass the Roti deconstructed the media accounts, which seem to have inaccurately asserted that the clips showed Gandhi advocating violence. I think they might have gotten Prasad’s bit mixed up with the classic fake “Gandhi II” trailer from Weird Al Yankovic’s movie UHF. Prasad posted an explanation of his sketch on his personal site.
According to press reports, Google is reviewing the clip (which is currently flagged as “potentially offensive”). Meanwhile, India took “serious exception” to the airing of portions of the clip on two television networks, and also threatened to block YouTube if the clip wasn’t taken down. What I find hilarious is that in standup lingo the term used to describe things that you shouldn’t make fun of derives from Gandhi’s Hindu faith — “sacred cow.”