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?
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.