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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Limiting the freedom of expression

I want to write about issues atleast a month after dust has settled. Clear picture less emotions at play and all.

Freedom of expression, to me, always was the right to express one's opinion as long as it isnt abusive in a personal capacity. Anything Public is open to debate including religion. When you call a Person names without a reasonable basis, that is an abuse. 

During the whole Viswaroopam Saga, it was often stated that this freedom is only till it doesnt touch an Individual('s err.. nose). But speaking about a religion isnt the same as speaking about a Person. The argument I heard against this was if you cant speak about me, how can you speak about something I keep at a higher esteem than me a.k.a religion - that was a question from some Muslim religious leader.

It did make some sense. 

But then going by the same logic, for a Hindu, who prays to idols/ pictures wholeheartedly, calling this practice/person in derogatory terms is touching their nose too. Yet all three abrahamic religious text do that. So does this mean those books should be banned now by the same logic? 

I think I will go along with US definition on this one. Anything and everything is open to criticism. If it hurts me or you. too bad you can always cry to Mommy or you can argue back. ( I will do a bit of both).
Where do you guys stand on this issue?

1. First the drama of the ban, then the expected relief of judgement delayed by a week, favorable judgement stalled and then highlight  of the whole drama - emotional speech from Kamal  followed by an anti-climax of a sudden ending. The whole viswaroopam issue kept me entertained for days together. I love it when I have news story to follow on a daily basis. If you think about it, it isnt as stressful as a personal deadline or a problem. Yet One, atleast I, had firm opinions on the subject to feel passionate about the result. And even if the issue goes haywire, it is so easy to shrug it off. 

I did feel sort of letdown by the sudden end. Overall  it was great entertainment. Even the movie pales in comparison. After all it is 2 week real life drama against 3 hr reel one.

2. I grew up in Tamil nadu. This state is pseudo-secular(appeasing minroity) but mostly irreligious what with that mega wave of dravidian movement which advocated rationalism and atheism. I was extremely stunned to read Pro-hinduish comments on some tamil websites. It seriously saddened me to see this polarization.

May be it was all due to the frustration of not being able to watch the movie. After all,   Films are the official religion of this state.

3. I am not sure what sort of powers and equations were at play here( i doubt anybody apart from  Jayalalitha really know the true story). It  did seem quite silly that the neighboring states with far higher Muslims populations were able to screen the movie. But somehow it was a threat to Public safety in Tamil Nadu. Sounds shameful that a government bends to irrational blackmail.

4. Even sillier is  some muslim organization taking an insult to the Taliban as an insult to  their religion. seriously, why would you associate yourself with that dreaded organization. 

5. On a not so tangential line, I found it baffling that few organization can claim to speak for the entire muslim population of the state. I am a practizing hindu and all, but just because of that connection there is no way some random organization can claim to speak on my behalf. Def. not the ram sena's(on whom Pink Chaddi's were wasted) or the other hazaar senas who should have been ideally locked up for their harassment of public.

Lastly most importantly, world needs to start using more renewable energy resources atleast less petrol( i couldnt type less gas! I mean..). Yes, this line is extremely relevant to this topic.