As the world's largest democracy, India has long been proud of its tradition of artistic, cultural and religious freedoms. But a series of bans, ranging from eating beef to watching the Fifty Shades Of Grey movie, has sparked accusations of a growing climate of intolerance under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Critics say the bans show how "thin-skinned" their politicians have become in the internet age where attempts to put a lid on offending material are likely to backfire. Indian comedy trio Enna Da Rascalas uploaded a video to YouTube last week, spoofing Michael Jackson's classic Beat It . An impersonator sings "Don't eat it, read it, see it, feel it," as she raps her way through a list of pleasures banned by India's conservative government before chorusing: "Just beep it!" Announcing a ban earlier this month on a documentary about an infamous 2012 gang rape in Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the comments by one of the rapists could fuel public anger. Days later, a government-appointed board of censors blocked the release of the erotic movie Fifty Shades Of Grey in cinemas. And a comedy 'roast' show that featured several Bollywood stars has fallen foul of the authorities and is now at the centre of an obscenity investigation. "For this government, it seems a ban becomes the quickest way to eliminate a problem," sociologist Shiv Visvanathan said. "Bans do not tolerate disorder but without debate and disorder, you can't have a free democracy. It is making life complex." Historians point out the centre-left Congress party which has ruled India for most of the post-independence period has its own track record of bans, particularly during the 1975-77 'emergency' under Indira Gandhi. But the last two decades has seen a general relaxation on the part of the watchdogs. But Shashi Tharoor, a Congress lawmaker, says the cultural climate has definitely changed. "Our mounting concern is that there is a climate of intolerance that has unfortunately been given free rein," Tharoor said. But Pavan Verma, a former head of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, said a certain amount of censorship was understandable in order to avoid causing offence in such a diverse country. "India is a country of wide social discrepancies... that try to coexist with each other and it's not an easy job to keep everyone happy all the time," she said.