Our Freedom of Expression is Under Challenge. Sacred Games is Just the Start

Social Commentary

Our Freedom of Expression is Under Challenge. Sacred Games is Just the Start

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

M

uch like anybody with a Netflix account, I’ve spent the last week obsessing over the brilliant Sacred Games, overjoyed by the arrival of an Indian web series that feels, above all else, real. There is a visceral rawness to Sacred Games that made me, a lifelong resident of Bombay, feel like my laptop monitor was no longer a screen, but a clear window through which I could observe my city in all her ugly beauty. The characters and story might be figments of an author’s imagination, but the world they live in, is our world, warts and all.

Unfortunately, the truth tastes worse than baingan, and is even less popular. Sacred Games’ unflinching portrayal of communal tension, oppressive government policies, and general lawlessness that is part of daily life in India has left feathers ruffled across the country. The most upset birdie was the Congress worker who filed FIRs against the makers for the show’s unfavourable view of Rajiv Gandhi. Sacred Games holds him responsible for the overturning of the landmark Shah Bano judgment, which kickstarted the juggernaut of communal polarisation in the country – and is the reason the Congress is described, even 33 years later, as a “Muslim party”.

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