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Archive for August, 2012

Freedom does not mean waywardness, neither has it given you a free hand or leg to push the accelerator and break every traffic signal, just because you are a free citizen of the world’s largest democracy. I can’t trespass your lawn because it’s on Indian terrain and I am a free citizen of this country. Whims and fancies are not classified as freedom. Freedom is a privilege that comes bundled with a certain requirement of sense in utilizing it. The privilege must not be exploited and abused to wash dirty linen and stain the national fabric.

We have heard a lot of noise about the recent crackdown on the social media, why it should or should not be allowed to act as a mocking bird and whether killing this bird deprives us of the promised freedom. Had the bird stayed on the branch, the government wouldn’t have bothered throwing the stone at it, but instead it chose to come on ground and got so aggressive that it caused bloodshed. What else can one do but try and get this bird under control somehow? The government caged the bird, and then freed; it did not kill, as reported. Thankfully, we are a free country where we elect our governments, not rulers. And by electing a government, we give our consent to elected representatives to formulate a system that they think is beneficial for the nation (leave scam talk for another time!).

In view of the events that took place this August, the government just showed the promise in trying to do what was necessary. The right thing in such extraordinary circumstances would be to close the gates of the damaging and overflowing dam of intended hatred. Irrespective of whether Muslims, Hindus, Parsis or Christians are being killed in more numbers, or whether the churned out data actually belongs to the incident, the hatred and violence must be stopped immediately, at all costs. Even at the cost of getting plastered with unsavory labels. I am all for respecting freedom of speech and expression, but not when it fails to respect the basic lessons of humanity, human lives and national interest.

Those beseeching for constitutional fundamental rights, must not forget the fundamental duties that call for upholding and protecting the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. Should the ones not fulfilling their duties grieve and ask for the rights?

IPC153A: Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony… (a) By words, either spoken or written. Why should the state not initiate criminal proceedings against those who are guilty of the said offence? We have seen people being arrested for “inciting a mob” why? How is freedom of verbal speech different from written speech? Why then, with a mob of thousands following, your Twitter rhetoric not classified under the same code?

You are wrong if you’re thinking that I am endorsing the clampdown just because it was used against certain handles that don’t share the same ideology as me. The above measures should be implemented on one and sundry, India needs peace and prosperity, not pretentious freedom. If restrictions on multimedia messaging are considered a normalcy in Kashmir, then why this brouhaha over limited period restraint across India? Is your blabbering more important than national security? Why America, the torch bearer of freedom of all things earthly is after Assange, to control the release of classified information? It’s because the safekeeping of nation must be guaranteed through all means legal. The government should not block handles with intended discrimination to save its face, repute and credibility, or ban political backlash and opinion but must act swiftly in future to avoid seeping of acrimonious material going into public domain.

I am no saint, I am who I am. You can direct your ire @Sarfrazhaan. No one is anonymous in today’s times, if you’re thinking of hiding behind a peculiar handle; I call you either an ignorant or an extraordinarily talented geek, we have landed on Mars and IP trail is left for earthly mortals. Parody handles, whether choosing to remain “khamosh” in response to your “hazaaro sawaal” or crooning a melodious “Baith jaiye!” provide the much needed relief, until the shrill becomes spiteful, piercing and distorts the harmony. The Queen loves gin, not blood!

(c)Sarfraz Khatib, 2012

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