Words matter, is the beginning of the subtle yet unavoidable note printed at the bottom of the copyright page of the latest editions of Roald Dahls books. These alterations have stirred up quite a controversy in the literary world. The statement released to the media by the publishing house read, This book was written many years ago, and so we regularly review the language to ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by all today. Last year, filmmaker John Ridley who won an Oscar for the 12 Years a Slave screenplay wrote an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times suggesting that a popular streaming service remove Gone With the Wind from its streaming library. Ridley stated that the film glorifies the use of slavery and the culture it fostered. It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of colour, he wrote. The streaming service cancelled the film, citing an outdated cultural depictions disclaimer often offered on many movie titles that were produced in the past.Since early 2018 people around the globe have been quick to cancel art, literary work, and classic movies/shows, that showcase negative reflections on depictions of race, stereotypical archetypes, and sometimes societal realities of the past. Policing in popular culture and art amid intense reports of racism, casteism, hatred of communities, or gender-nonconforming individuals or behaviour seems justified however the question remains whether this stands for something thats real.Policing Of Free Expression In Literature And StorytellingMany industry experts and noted celebrities have expressed their concern and anger over publishers and producers playing the role of content mafias who have given themselves the licence to edit the story as they see fit to bring the final result in line with political sensibilities. In this chaos, it is getting harder and harder to publish narratives and perspectives that may displease certain governments, religions, groups, people... really everyone and everything. We are only sacrificing freedom and democracy. We suffer as artists, we suffer as consumers of art. It is a loss to all of us and by the time we realise it, let alone put stuff out in the world, we may have forgotten what an original point of view even was, wrote Rituparna Chatterjee, best-selling author, journalist and columnist in her weekly column California Dreaming published in TOI+.Times are changing. We are living in a world, where groups get offended easily. Yes, there should be a change definitely, we cannot be repeating the past. We should be more inclusive but definitely not at the cost of storytelling, said Kevin Missal, best-selling author best known for writing fantasy fiction around Indian mythology.Talking to Her Circle Chatterjee added, Who decides what is politically correct? What may be okay for the government of a said state is completely unbearable for another government. Everything has always been censored. Look at the stuff being published almost 90 per cent of them are formulised books. What makes it to the market is already heavily censored. Everything is driven by market dynamics even the kind of movies that are made.Sensitivity Readers Have Been Around For Decades; However, Sensibilities Have ChangedIn a recent interview, Salman Rushdie, noted novelist and the Booker prize winner said that cancel culture is born out of a lack of thought and gratitude for historic nuances. Woke-ism, as gen-z calls it is not a new phenomenon, publishing houses and production houses have always taken sensitivity reading very seriously. Companies hire them to sensitise content before they are released in order to depict peoples in an accurate light when it comes to genre, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender roles, and more.Sensitivity edits protect status and are insurance against cancel culture. This is not the first time a publishing house has revised some of the language used in Roald Dahls books for children. In 1973 Dahl himself agreed to remove racist language from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, originally published in 1964. Enid Blyton has also been criticised for her classist portrayal of characters, and her limited vocabulary. Her books have also been altered and updated, however changes made to the Famous Five series didnt hold, and in 2016 the publishing house decided to hold back the revisions. As a mother, I did not let my son who is 10 and around kids from different backgrounds read Roald Dahl. These books showcase very rigid ideas of what is good, what is bad, this is ugly, this is beauty and that was very problematic for me. It was okay then but not today, said Chatterjee. Missal believes being politically correct doesnt always stop you from staying true to storytelling. Being politically correct always has a negative ring to it, being considerate about sensibilities and being sincere to the story is true storytelling.Does Erasing The Past, Erase Current Realities?Society at large is a mixed bag of good and bad. As human beings coming from various cultural backgrounds, we need to ask whether we should be informed of the past and learn from it or completely erase what was once the reality that shaped our future. Who knows how many contemporary ideas and values will be deemed acceptable a decade from now? We need to change the lens on how we use art and culture. We really need more current books that reflect current times, Chatterjee added.