Would The Spirit Of Freedom Remain If It Is Censored ?

 The recent debate over AIB Roast video has once again put the spot light on our Fundamental Right to freedom of speech and expression. I’m neither advocating  nor rebutting in pertinence of the video’s conent. I have just paused to have a reflective monologue.

 Would The Spirit Of Freedom Remain If It Is Censored ?

A Reflective Monologue.

Call me a leftist, liberalist, pretentious or even a simpleton. But I profoundly believe in the spirit of absolute freedom of speech and expression. As species, we have come a very long way to survive. From stone age to an age of technology and revolution, It hasn’t been an easy road to freedom.An era marked by Gaza outrage, Middle East crisis and terrorist attacks scornfully smirking at Human Rights, we are indeed struggling to survive. Let alone the fact that we are slowly moving backwards to an anti-liberal existence.

Today, we rationalize curtailing freedom of speech and expression by colourable words like reasonable restriction. But is it really so? Who are we trying to convince? We see more of censorship issues making rattling noise in media than sanitation problem in our villages. Be it the “religious attack” angle, “moral policing” tactic or allegations of “obscene content”, at every step our freedom of speech and expression is being screened. To call it irony will be an understatement.

It doesn’t mean I support people who make personal attacks on public platform, make obscene videos, hurt religious sentiment, provoke and instigate laymen with an intention to gain publicity. These people lack moral fibre and are jeopardising our freedom of speech and expression by parodying it.

Does it mean that there is no solution ?

It won’t be absurd to suggest TOLERANCE.Tolerance which can act as a key to resolve many current crisis of the world. Instead of muting our freedom of speech and expression. Be it the PK poster debate or more recent AIB roast viral video fiasco, we need to pause and think before reacting instinctively and kickstarting a blamegame which  evidently has no positive outcome.

Absolute Right to freedom of speech and expression can bring a paradigm shift to the concept of Democracy in itself if people exercising it have bonafide intention.

Paraphrasing the famous speech by Martin Luther King Jr to suffice for this instance:

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today my friends. And even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I STILL HAVE A DREAM. It is a dream deeply rooted in every responsible Indian Youth’s dream.I have a dream to be allowed to express my thoughts without being screened under the name of censorship.I have a dream where my country embraces liberalism and secularism not only in the Preamble of its Constitution but for real too.I have a dream to reach out to Individuals who will choose greater good over blindly following the footsteps of bigotry and blind policing.

Let us not treat our Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression like Cigarettes.We sell it. We issue statutory warning that it is harmful. Ban advertising it. Still, we manufacture and sell it.

That my friends is irony personified.

by Artha

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