Akshay Kumar is one of the top Bollywood stars, and he acts in many films which have a social message for people in the subcontinent. This was a land steeped in superstition, and unhealthy practices excellently brought out by Nirad Choudhry in his book " Continent of Circe."

Akshay Kumar had earlier acted in the hit film "Toilet" which focussed on the lack of toilet facilities for millions in the subcontinent. His latest film "padman" is a true-life story of a man who realized the importance of sanitary pads for women and girls and goes on to manufacture a cheap set of pads.

The Pakistan board has however banned such a topical and educative film on the plea that it went against Islamic culture. Politics has also played a hand as the Board has catered to the strong Islamic lobby. Newsmobile has reported that the film is banned as the board felt it propagated 'un-Islamic'values. The fact that the film was made in India was another cause for banning it.

Secularism is gone

Pakistan has veered away from the ideas of Mohammed Ali Jinnah who envisaged a secular Pakistan. Over the years the Islamization drive has caught Pakistan, and no politician or organization can do anything that is repugnant to the strong Islamic lobby led by the Mullahs and Imams.

The case of the governor of Punjab is well known.

He was an opponent of the blasphemy law and was shot dead by his own bodyguard. This man is treated as a hero in Pakistan and shows the extent to which society is degraded there.

Against Islamic values

The Censor Board has referred to the film as against Islamic values. One fails to understand how a film on a topical subject can be against Islamic values.

There is no argument that women in the sub-continent are not aware of sanitary pads and at least 60% don't use them. It is a simple health and sanitation issue, but the Censor board feels it's against the ethos of Islam. The film is not banned in Bangladesh, where it has opened.

Last word

It's a pity that women and men in Pakistan will be denied the chance of seeing the film.

Just like the blasphemy law which is on the statute books and nobody can touch it. Similarly, any film or book which is thought to be against Islamic thought is taboo. At the spark of a match a riot can erupt and the Censor Board had this in mind when it banned the film. Many are now also calling for a ban on the film "Padmavati" which is claimed to show Muslims in a poor light.

Despite the ban, the film is available on the local TV cable, where it is shown surreptitiously. Hopefully, women in Pakistan will get to watch the movie.