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Sunday, June 10, 2007


There is a right wing party of crazies in Western India called the Shiv Sena which has decided that the Google group Orkut is dangerous to Indian citizenry.
This decision was followed by their characteristic civil behavior when they destroyed internet cafes that they consider the nodal points of the evil Orkut. The crime of the Google-based group was to allow a platform for some anti-Shiv Sena people (the Senaites have far more such groups in Orkut) to speak against the saffron mob.
According to some reports in the media and the internet, the Mumbai police has also asked the internet cafe owners not to allow customers to surf the site. This is one of the amazing things about India: though it claims to have the most deep-rooted democratic structures in the third world, and is considered a model of liberalism by the US and the West, the number of attacks on individual freedom and choice is frighteningly repetitive. In this country, you cannot offend anybody! You cannot hurt anyone's sentiments, be it religious, cultural or historic. This country has banned or proscribed painters, movies, writers, television channels, and even YouTube! The reasons have always been the same: violation of sentiments of a group of people.
For many people, the very contradiction of their set notions of life or its parts is intolerable. For them, it becomes crucial to still the dissenting voice, for their convictions are not strong enough to face the reality. The reality that it is each man's birthright to speak his mind, to question, and even offend. The more civilised a nation, the stronger is the right to offend!

1 comment:

Mahendra Palsule said...

You have expressed my exact thoughts in a very eloquent manner!

Indians really need to understand and value the right to freedom of expression, which is a crucial pillar of democracy.