Thursday, November 13, 2008

On banning Deshdrohi

Arguments regarding social stability might be enticing - and quite convincing. But I urge the government not to give into the temptation of playing big brother.

Usurpage of personal liberties starts with something minor like banning a movie - but it is a slippery slope - and eventually, India will be a liberal democracy no more. Making people pay for merely expressing their own opinion goes against the very fabric of our democracy - the same democracy that Gandhi, Patel and countless others laid down their lives for.

Most of the Indian electorate is vastly conservative (and does not have a liberal bone in the body) - and would probably not be fully opposed to some measure like this. This perhaps poses an existential question to the notion of free speech (which the west takes for granted). Should the government compromise on free speech for the sake of public safety?

When faced with such a choice, the solution is clearly a no-brainer. Free speech is a luxury in comparison with the right to live. Free speech, alas, seems to be more of an elitist notion in a nation of unfathomable poverty.

There goes another ideal.

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