MY THOUGHTS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND THE CULTURE OF CENSORSHIP



What is freedom of expression ? without the freedom to offend it ceases to exist- Salman Rushdie

One day someone offended me with some crude expletives, I felt bad. Like really bad, I replied him back with more crude expletives and the argument continued and we broke into a fight and it ended with me and him getting some bruises. I just thought, had he been taught good manners from his parents, he would never have offended me but then I looked into my own innerself, that if I had practiced forgiveness taught by my parents, I could have easily avoided a fight but then I was provoked and I fell into the temptation of reciprocating him. Ok this was on personal front, another example when i got offended was when the movie Da vinci code was released, being a christian, when I came to know that  da vinci code the film said that Jesus was a married man, I was bewildered and felt offended that how could some one say this. How could anyone say anything like that.  I must be 18 at that time, officially an adult in India. The movie was banned in many countries and I felt happy about it, that atleast people are aware of their religion, their faith. After around 5 years, when I turned 23, I watched that same movie on my laptop and I found it good, even though it was offensive from christian point of view but it did had an interesting story line. I liked the movie but no where did I get inspired from it and started believing that Jesus was married. It didn’t shake my faith at all. Why ? may be because, I was more mature now and tolerant to different thoughts and opinions but rooted to my faith. That’s my point, its not about being offended but the level of maturity you have. Things will not offend you unless you choose to get offended by them.


For the past few months, there has been a lot of hue and cry on the censorship culture of India. People demanding Ban on a intelligent film like PK,  A harmless comedy show organized by AIB criticized and hammered by people for being so offensive and perumal murugan being criticized for his book Madhorubhagan.  All this simply showcases the immaturity and  hypocrisy of our society, we cannot accept the hard truths of our life. We are too quick to judge others and we are a bit too quick to get offended. Why do we have to take too much load on what anyone says or does, did that someone point a gun at you and asked you to agree with him or her. No , then why do you all have to threaten him just because you didn’t like what he said. Its like killing someone just because you didn’t like the way he walked. Now people may say, express freely but without offending someone. Now its nearly next to impossible, when you freely express, surely some may get offended. You cannot keep everyone happy and that’s the basic truth of life. Its practically not possible to satisy everyone. So better let different opnions and thoughts pour in, let there be debates , let there be arguments, let there be minds who can express without fear. Afterall we are a democratic country and democracy doesn’t supports tyranny. To criticize someone because you disliked his or her thoughts is ok, but to demand a ban and forcing the work to be removed is unacceptable. Let different opinions and thoughts coexist because The more tolerant we become toward different thoughts, the more peaceful this world would become. 

In the end, i would sum it up with a great poem written by a great writer Rabindranath tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake......


Jai Hind....Vande mataram

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