Culture Cops – Don’t Be Ashamed. Don’t Cover your Face. Don’t Apologize.

I’ve been depressed lately seeing India go to a new low when it comes to stifling freedom of expression. The government has completely abdicated its responsibility to protect the basic fundamental rights of citizens. Now any fringe group can raise a ruckus, threaten to create a “law and order” issue and get any kind of speech, writing, or movie banned. State governments like the one in Tamil Nadu are either spineless or are looking out for their votebanks. I wonder if there is a way to take politicians to court for dereliction of duty. Didn’t they take an oath to uphold the principles of the Constitution?

Why are these girls covering their face?

Why are these girls covering their face?

If the police cannot handle a law and order issue created openly by a few hoodlums, then the chief minister should resign and a better one put in place who can handle it. What the hell are they there for if not to keep law and order?

If you notice, all of the victims – the girls who said that Bal Thackeray was nothing special, the Kashmiri all girls rock bank, and Kamal Hassan with his movie – had one thing in common. They apologized. They were ashamed. And did it work? No! The all-girl music group has disbanded, the girls on Facebook has charges pressed against them and only now are the charges dropped. Kamal Hassan’s apology accomplished nothing either.

If there is one thing these “culture cops” are seeking to exploit, it’s shame. They want an apology because a person who apologizes implicitly acknowledges that they did something wrong. The phrase “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s sentiments” is poison to all freedom loving citizens and nectar to the ears of hooligans. Not that it’ll save you. It’ll only make their voices stronger. Because these hoodlums don’t understand decency, dignity, and politeness. They use every angle of shame against you and press their case even harder.

If we love our freedoms, we have to push back. No apologies. No shame. The girls who were arrested for stating that Thackeray was after all just another man covered their faces when their photos appeared in the papers! Why? What did they do to be ashamed of? Why cover their faces? They looked like victims. Like thieves brought out of hiding. And the gangsters who put them in that situation with the aid of the police who were no less gangsters that day were laughing.

It’s time to stop this immediate capitulation whenever someone “gets offended” or says their “sentiments are hurt”. You don’t have to justify yourself. You don’t have to “pacify” them. Let them cry themselves shrill. If a case is filed against you, rest assured that an apology will not make it go away. Might as well stand up and be proud of your opinions. Acting “ashamed” will not help. And let’s face it – none of these victims are truly ashamed because they haven’t done anything to be ashamed of. It’s a show. Created out of fear. And that is precisely what these thugs want.

We can’t let them win this way. Fight up, and stand up for your opinions. You’ve not done or said anything wrong. It is not your responsibility to coddle the feeble sentiments of every random person who comes across what your say, write, or create.

Comments

  1. Clueless says:

    I suspect the girls covered their faces for fear of safety rather than out of shame. In a place filled with ardent and violent followers of Thackery, they must have felt better off making sure the entire city did not know who they were.

    • bhagwad says:

      I suppose that could certainly be a reason. But they also apologized and said they took their words back or something like that. They shouldn’t have done that. They needn’t have done that since it didn’t help one bit.

      • Clueless says:

        Again, I suspect due to threats. I doubt if Kamal Hassan or those girls really meant the apology they mouthed. Kamal Hassan did it for economic reasons. The girls – because potentially their lives were in danger.

        We as public need to fully understand the meaning of democracy. Looks like, in our country if anyone makes any sort of comment about anything religious or zealous it is immediately deemed wrong.

      • Bhagwad I agree with Clueless, it was fear that made them apologise and cover their faces. Imagine being identified and then attacked anywhere, anytime by any supporter of unconstitutional violent taking away of freedom of innocent citizens?

      • bhagwad says:

        Sad to live like that.

        I can only hope that if the time comes, I will have the courage to stand up for my rights…

  2. Bhagwad, much as I agree with you, let’s be clear that the people of India simply do not have the SECURITY that is necessary to have freedom of speech.

    With such a defunct governance system, you are seeing a steady downward spiral. And Modi’s coming to power won’t help.

    So we have started a national reform movement, Bhagwad. It is called Sone Ki Chidiya movement (http://sonekichidiya.in/).

    You don’t have to contest elections in order to participate in this movement. This is a PUBLIC movement.

    Can I expect you to support this movement in a big way? This is a movement for liberty and good governance.

    s

  3. Sraboney says:

    Very few people have the courage to stand up to maniacs. If I were in the girls’ position, I too would publicly apologize and cover my face. Who wants to antagonize maniacs and face bodily harm? Wasn’t an uncle’s clinic destroyed? The police arrested these girls, how Could they depend on them to protect them?

    • I agree, I would have been petrified. If social media had not supported the two girls, there is little hope that the cases would have been dropped. But I agree, that is why we need to fight back… glad that there is a small minority who is still fighting and who also understands that there can be no Democracy and no other freedom without FoE.

    • bhagwad says:

      True. I wish more people could be like Aseem Trivedi though…

      • Ravi says:

        Trivedi was just one of those seeking quick fame by using sensationalism disguised as freedom of expression. If he was a genuine cartoonist or a crusader for change, he need not have opted to be in a show like big boss. He should have carried on with his efforts. I dont say he should not have had the freedom of expression or that he should not have used the controversy to his benefit by trying his luck at television shows. But his real intent is evident which used freedom of expression as a tool to gather quick publicity. It is a pity that such people are considered role models. Someone like Sherlyn Chopra is better off by accepting that her choice of self expression is for gaining publicity instead of trying to imitate herself as a crusader for freedom of expression.

      • bhagwad says:

        There’s nothing wrong with wanting publicity. In fact, I encourage it! If more people wanted to gain publicity, then they would not apologize and cover their faces. These goons targeting freedom of expression would be denied their most potent weapon – fear.

        So bring it on – let everyone crave attention and fame! It’s a perfectly legitimate motivation and not illegal. I don’t see anything wrong with it whatsoever. It can only benefit the rest of us without causing any harm.

      • Ravi says:

        That is what I said. There is nothing wrong in publicity. But what Trivedi did was to pretend as a crusader for freedom of expression while all he wanted was publicity. Why pretend as someone whom you are not. Just do your bit. If it is worth it, you will get publicity anyhow. I dont see any difference between Trivedi and those moral police goons. The goons use violence to gain publicity while people like Trivedi use the excuse of freedom of expression to gain publicity. That is why I said a Sherlyn Chopra is much better as she expresses herself for publicity without pretending to shout hoarse for freedom of expression. And she doesnt even need to cover her face or say sorry.

      • bhagwad says:

        I don’t think you can equate someone who breaks the law to someone who’s not breaking the law.

        If Aseem Trivedi didn’t break the law, everything he did was ok. His personal motivations are not my business, and in reality it’s not possible to go into someone’s head and figure out what they’re thinking.

        So no – I disagree that Aseem Trivedi is in anyway like the goons who use violence. The latter is unacceptable.

  4. Anjali says:

    I think all these people you’ve mentioned, were unaware of the fact that they will be confronted for their harmless acts and threatened by anti-social groups..had they known the consequences,they would certainly not indulge into anything that makes them a sitting duck.Apologies not always means that you are giving up or felling ashamed,its the best possible way to get outta the mess you’ve got into,unknowingly.
    But people who willingly do acts that is a major blow on the culture cops or ministers ,inter alia never apologize..never cover their face..they know what they are doing and the consequences..so they are never afraid no matter what charges are pressed against them.

    • bhagwad says:

      The legal system is yet another tool for these cultural terrorists. See how long it took even for the cases against the girls who made that comment on Bal Thackeray to get dropped!

      • Anjali says:

        Huh! second week of Feb,ideal time for these anti-social elements to come into action…now the groups like “shit sena” will be policing innocent victims of Cupid,all over the country in the name of “defaming” Indian culture..ironically members of these groups are the one who are found eve teasing on females rest of the year!!

  5. Kaiserbot says:

    This truly is depressing. But in my opinion, that it’s even possible to suppress freedom of speech in this way is partly because of the mindset of Indians in general. For instance, I find that it’s really hard to talk about Indian history in an inoffensive way unless one sacrifice objectivity. I forget where I was going with this, but the point is that there are many in India who are willing to tolerate opinions they already deem inoffensive, and so give the impression that they support freedom of speech in general.

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