FREEDOM OF SPEECH
“With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on. Just due to one politician died a natural death, everyone just goes bonkers. They should know, we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time did anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians. Respect is earned, given and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect.”
Remember that time you pressed the “Like” button on a Status Update just because you thought that is what it would take for that hot ex-classmate of yours to fall madly in love with you? On Monday the Maharashtra Police made it absolutely clear how seriously it takes the like button & the status update. Two girls were booked under section 295(a) of the IPC for hurting religious sentiments and section 66(a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 for posting & liking the above mentioned comment. First of all, I must say this. LOL. Are we not talking about the same Bal Thackeray who achieved great political power because of his anti-South Indians, anti-Gujarati, anti-Islamic, anti-UP/Bihar, anti-tolerant, anti-democratic, anti-intelligent political comments & practices? This the same guy who made & published comments such as “Lungi Hatao, Pungi Bajao” against the South-Indians “Ek Bihari,Sau Bimari” & “If a Shiv-Sainik has Done it,I am proud of it” after Babri Masjid demolition; the man who allegedly engineered the communal riots of 92-93. But apparently, a Facebook Status Update is a more serious matter.
A huge outrage followed this incident. Of course, on the Social networking sites. A section felt that the both the girls deserved it & were elated some 100 Shiv-Sainiks ransacked the clinic of one who is the Uncle of Shaheen Dhada, the girl who posted the Status Update. Now this is the same group of people who think burning BEST buses is the only acceptable form of protest in a democracy, & also feel that everyone living & working in Mumbai Bombay must have a permit from “the Godfather” himself.
While many also felt that the girls should have been more “Careful” & instead should have continued Copy-Pasting inspirational quotes. Because let’s face it, that is what social networking exists sites for. That & typing “Happy Birthday” on the Walls of people; who most of the time you’re not even sure whether are alive or dead. And don’t even care.
Some sane people called this anti-democratic, but only after they programmed their respective lawyer’s phone number on the speed-dial.
But coming back to the issue did someone say “religious sentiments”? What? How? Why?
Now any person with a double-digit IQ can understand that the allegations are just plain bullshit. More experienced ones might also throw some light on the brand & the exact number of quarters required in getting such an arrest warrant made, & make the Maharashtra police take action so quickly.
But what bothers me more is that such laws occur in our country; the world’s largest democracy. Now,most of the countries compromise somewhat on the freedom to speech. Almost every country penalizes hate speech. As far as I am aware, US is the only country which takes its freedom of speech bit seriously. In the United States, hate speech is protected as a civil right (aside from usual exceptions to free speech, such as defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words). Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.
But why do we really need these laws? I mean,religious people believe in the concept of God; the almighty, the omnipotent, the omnipresence. Do they think somebody who supposedly created them,the Himalayas, the oceans, the entire mankind, the Sun, the whole Universe cannot deal on his own with a blasphemer? But I think that’s not what they’re worried about at all. I think, most of the religious people think that religion has a referral scheme. The more people you can get to “respect” you God, the more bonus points you get from the big accountant up there.
Now I might seem like a morally bankrupt person, but I also believe in some values, some principles. But I don’t feel the need that those around me should also believe in the same values or even respect them. I still think my beliefs & values are mine. Alas, I am still plugged into the Matrix. I still haven’t woken up to the real world; the world of Men. I am sure; there is something wrong with me because over the years I’ve realized that even if a TV anchor calls a supposedly holy place someone’s summerhouse, a madhouse or even a whorehouse I won’t be much bothered about him apologizing to me & my brethren. I cannot think of any content in a book, movie, TV show, painting, song lyrics, music video, sculpture, CBSE text-book, graffiti or my neighbor’s 5 year Old’s sketchbook that is not related to me & would make me burn effigies of the artist in question (or the artist itself), announce a bounty on his/her head or even ask for a worldwide ban. I won’t buy the tickets for the next Sajid Khan film or the next Stephenie Meyer book, but that’s the extent to which I am capable of taking my “protest” against the content that hurts my “religious beliefs”. There are no upcoming sports events that would make me dig up the ground. And I cannot stress this enough; but there is nothing that you can post on the internet that would make me stone your uncle’s clinic. I might block you if you keep on posting “Like this post or you’ll die a violent death by next Tuesday” but that’s it. Hell, I won’t even block you if you have a pretty profile picture.
Am I still just a boy & not a man? Are my glands not producing enough testosterone? Will I ever believe in something, be so protective about it that I will start rioting, destroy public & private property & beat up random people on the street for its sake?
But I live in hope.
P.S. : My Uncle doesn’t have a clinic. So don’t waste your time on Google Maps.