Thursday, January 15, 2015
Let’s Debate – Freedom Of Expression
Let’s face this – discrimination, reckless expressions, racism, irresponsible freedom, lack of respect for others’ and their beliefs and last but not the least, plain stupidity can’t and shouldn’t pass of as freedom of expression. Just to sound overtly liberal we can’t change few ground rules in the name of absolute freedom of expression. Freedom comes with a huge responsibility and at no stage there should be a race between freedom and responsibility to out run each other. Stretching the freedom of expression tag too much makes the whole objective look obnoxiously out of sync with the reality. And, when reality struggles to make a mark for itself, it propels people with disruptive mindset to take the matter on their own hands. That is when the situation becomes intolerably ugly. Be it the massacre of few French journalists or the burning of Graham Stains and his two sons, all are the precise unpleasant output of this freedom of expression bogie.
But before we become too judgmental, we must understand what freedom of expression (FOE) stands for. Expression itself has two sides to it. Letting know your opinion is one thing but when that very opinion is solely directed to hurt someone personally or a group, that is where things start to crumble. If Charlie Hebdo has its opinion in caricaturing prophet then the horrid reaction of the two killers is nothing but their methodology of counter expression. We may argue and slice and dice it depending on which side of the fence we are in, but the bitter fact is, both Charlie Hebdo and the terrorists then after have got their freedom of expression tag grossly misplaced. Same could be argued in case of Dara Singh and Graham Stains. While Stains found his expression in mass scale conversion of tribals, Dara Singh thought his expression is in his violence. Both the parties, all at the same time are guilty of one thing – presuming their freedom of expression to be absolute.
How far an individual’s freedom of opinion is acceptable is a debatable artifact. It is debatable because expression per se is a complex phenomenon that neither can be viewed through the prism of the liberals, nor the orthodox. Both would appear logical with their views at some point. To understand FOE in its true sense we may have to venture beyond the realms of our TV studios and the notorious media men therein. If you ask a certain Rajdeep Sardesai about FOE, you would get the description completely different from what Mohan Bhagwat would explain for the same question. If Rajdeep Sardesai would group every pathetic expression against Hindus as justifiable FOE, Mohan Bhagwat would utter the same thing, albeit after changing ‘Hindus’ to ‘Muslims’. Both would appear logical in their own way. Relying on our media or people with political motives to explain you the nuances of FOE is as futile as it can be. Hence, the only option left is to do the labor ourselves.
To get the ball rolling, let’s set some ground rules first. The opinion maker holds as much freedom with his/her opinion as the agitator who feels aggrieved by such opinions. There has to be a level field. Just to sound intellectual, we simply can’t blame those opposing against someone else’s opinion, as long as the opposition is bounded under all civility. There is no fault with people agitating against Wendy Doniger or M.F. Hussain because one legitimate form of opposing could very easily be the shelter of the law of the land. That said nothing can be more heinous than killing someone for his/her opinion. We can oppose someone’s view but that opposition shouldn’t be accompanied by Kalashnikovs or for that matter, a can of Petrol. If CH misused their FOE in mocking the prophet in particular and Islam in general then there are many acceptable avenues to set the scores than going around shooting in their office. What happened inside Charlie Hebdo office is simply unacceptable in any civilized world. This short of mediaeval approach in making yourself heard is something which should be condemned unequivocally, irrespective of where the root cause lies. People who don’t know how to respect life, don’t deserve any kind of respect for their beliefs, ethos or for that matter their pathetic existence on this planet. They should be eliminated at once and I am glad that someone is doing it in Pakistan Khyber area, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. These insects against humanity must be wiped out of this planet if we want peace to prevail in our lives.
Coming back to our home!! The liberals who sound critical of those against Ms. Doniger or Mr. Hussain are nothing but the biggest danger to the very fundamentals of the freedom of expression. And the same liberals are equally culpable when they turn 360 degrees to defend the rogues of Paris because, according to them Charlie Hebdo overshoot the FOE mark first. If only logic could defy itself. This is nothing but hypocrisy and for certain hypocrisy is the last thing that we want in such a serious topic. To settle the dispute – none in case of Ms. Doniger or Mr. Hussain tried to use force to make them heard. If the liberals feel, anything going against Hindus shouldn’t be protested at all then it is a different matter or else I don’t see a reason why the protesting crowd against the above two people should be jarred into controversy. Those who lied about the violence against Mr. Hussain at one of his exhibitions and few of his paintings being destroyed in the process must be countered with facts right away. It is the police which first ‘Lathi-Charged’ the protesting crowd in Delhi. And, keep it in mind, at that time there was a highly secular Congress government in the national capital. Post ‘Lathi-Charge’ the agitating crowd went uncontrolled and whatever happened was the heat of the moment unlike the planned sabotage in CH office. The paranoid fibbers who try to draw parallels in CH massacre and Hussain protest must not forget that, while there were 12 lives lost in the former case there wasn’t even a single person who was injured, except the protestors in the later. Where is the parallel, I wonder. Hussain running away from this country has other reasons than the protests against him. He had around 200 odd criminal cases filed against him at various courts, the fear of which drove this coward out of this country, even after assured by Mr. Chidambaram that nothing will happen to him. What would you call this? Perhaps it is the destiny that didn’t want this loathsome character to die in this great country. By the way, how absurd one can get to draw nude images of Gods and Goddesses of a different belief? If not jail, Mr. Hussain for sure belonged to mental asylum.
Coming to Ms. Doniger, the hypocrisy of our liberals is exposed yet again. I am not sure for what the liberals are shouting here. In fact there was no account of violence at all, if you accredit the Hussain agitation as violence, against Ms. Doniger’s deplorable work. It was an individual who filed a court case and then it was between the plaintiff and Ms. Doniger and Penguin India to settle it out of court and withdraw the books from the stands. What is wrong here? Or the liberals feel the Hindus even can’t go to courts against someone’s repugnant opinion about their religion? What kind of toxic abhorrence is this? People going crazy and killing people elsewhere and everywhere in the name of religion is fine and can be justified but the Hindus can’t even go to courts to let them heard. Perhaps, Freedom Of Expression has a different meaning for Hindus and an entirely different meaning for the rest.
The debate would continue till we are doomed or some extraterrestrial comet hits us with full force. Till then just keep it in mind – if you are a Hindu you automatically lose your FOE and every rascal on this planet has his/her birth right in degenerating you. If you want to be heard then you may take to violence as we have way too many crocodiles there in support of ‘violence for religion’ philosophy. Is that what our liberals want us to do? Disgusting has a new definition to cherish.