The All India Shia Personal Law Board has sent a legal notice to filmmaker Mira Nair, Netflix and the producers of A Suitable Boy over the portrayal of a ‘Tazia‘ (replica of Imam Husain’s mausoleum) in one of the web series’ episodes, Outlook India reported.
As per the report, the notice from Syed Mohammed Haider Rizvi, the president of the board’s legal cell, raised an objection to a scene in the fourth episode of A Suitable Boy Season 1. It states that “at 43:30 minutes…you have desecrated a ‘Tazia’ when you have shown it falling to the ground. This particular scene has not just hurt the sentiments of lakhs of people (belonging to different religions, faiths, beliefs, and walks of life) who consider a ‘Tazia’ to be the most sacrosanct and keep it [on] the highest pedestal, but has also invoked religious fervour of sorts amongst them.”
“Tazia is a replica of the mausoleum of Imam Hussain, who stared into the eyes of imminent annihilation but refused to bow down to evil and an oppressive ruler Yazid, who, in consequence, killed him and almost his entire family on the sands of Karbala in Iraq,” the notice further reads, adding that though the Imam was martyred centuries ago, his “message of peace and humanity still resonates in the hearts and minds of people at large and has been a source of solace and courage during their testing times.”
The notice further states that ‘Tazia’ is not just any religious relic, but something so sacred that the whole Taziadar community keeps and guards it with their life until it is laid to rest on the 10th of Moharram or the Chehallum or other days throughout the Muharram mourning period.
Further, the notice cites Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code, which reads, “Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings… with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or both.”
“It is needless to say that any act of yours which is contrary to what has been instructed above would invite initiation of criminal proceedings against you inter-alia under section 295 of the Indian Penal Code, besides initiating further suitable action against you, at your risks, costs and consequences throughout,” concludes the notice.
According to the report, the notice was delivered to Mira Nair, the series’ director, and her co-director Shimit Amin. Others who have been mentioned in the notice are the producers, Lydia Dean Pilcher and Aradhana Seth, the distributors BBC studio, Vinyard Films, and Netflix, and finally Ministers Anurag Thakur (Information and Broadcasting) and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Minority Affairs).
Previously, the series had landed in trouble when an FIR was registered in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, based on a complaint from the youth wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The show was accused of hurting religious sentiments for showing a scene in which a Hindu girl kisses a Muslim boy in a Hindu temple. A call to boycott Netflix emerged on social media soon after.