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This website is a renovated website of Adyar Gopal Parivar. I am Dr. Mohan G Shenoy inviting you to visit the website to understand the many different families that form this Parivar.
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FREEDOM OF SPEECH

By Mohan Shenoy

        India is a vast country with many languages and cultures and over 1.2 crore population. There are many religions and sects and multitudes of traditions in different stages of evolution. In the first few centuries after Christ there was more influence of ancient scriptures both from the West and the East. Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Byzantium, Chinese and Japanese cultures had influences the thinking of Indians and affected the administration of the different kingdoms. The laws of the land have gone along with the changes that occurred in the thinking of the wise men with the effect that crime and punishment differed. Christianity and later Islam made enormous changes in the path that the people took in their lives and old ways were making space for new ways of civilian duties and responsibilities.

        One of the important concepts was independence of the people with regards to their beliefs, rights to work and earn, to get justice in a humanitarian manner and to get to be considered innocent until proved guilty, in any activity. There arose the concept of democracy as against autocracy. Both Communism and Capitalism proclaimed democracy as their preferred way of conduct of administration. Capitalism gave vast rights to the people including ownership of property especially of land, business, intellect and finance. Communism on the other hand considered all assets of the country as belonging to the administration and the benefits of labour of the citizens should be distributed equally to all.

        India is a socialistic country wherein the principles of capitalism and of communism are balanced by taking a middle path. Whenever the administration wishes to carry out a project for the benefit of the citizens the rights of the individuals would be compromised. For example if a house stands in the way for building a road, then the administration has a right to demolish a part of whole of the house even if the owner of the house is unwilling. In this socialistic pattern of society democracy is vibrant. The Constitution of India is a document which guides the administration and provides both right to personal property and also independence in private life of the citizens.

        Democracy in India is the new religion and overrides the rules of Hindu, Sikh, Jain and other Indian religions. However, the people following Christianity and Islam are given special status so that they are allowed to adopt the rules at their religion in their lives. This creates discrimination against the Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. Even then the election of members of parliament, members of state assemblies, of local bodies etc., is common for all religions with equal opportunity for their followers.

        One bone of contention is the interpretation of freedom granted in the Constitution in various activities which may affect the life of the citizens. How far can the administration tolerate protests and agitations?

         Protests take place in the age-old forms such as slogan-shouting, placard-waving, dharna or sit-ins, fasting, looting, arson,
stone-pelting, shooting fire-arms, etc., and the police are called to
prevent damage to public property and incidents of injury or death to
individuals.      

        Even though there are guidelines and restrictions imposed by the laws under the Constitution individual incidents are not entirely a repetition of the past methods. If a citizen opts to draw pictures
that are intended to damage the reputation or cause severe injury to the beliefs of another individual in his home in private and not displaying the pictures in the public then his act may not be considered against the law. But if he choses to display such pictures in public and people who suffer injury to their reputation or beliefs can file cases against the culprit in a court of law.

        This is the realm of freedom of speech and the extent one goes criticizing basic national symbols such as the flag, anthem, and festivals would determine if one is an anti-national individual. Not just the individuals that speak against the country but also the groups of people who organize anti-national activities have to face the law and get punished. The punishment prescribed is so ruthless that it deters repetition of the activities by others.

        If an individual says that Kashmiris deserve Aazadi in the present situation then he is speaking against India. If he had said it inside his home privately then no one will object. But if he gives a speech to that effect say in a classroom in a school or college then he is liable to be booked for sedition. Kashmiris are claiming different things depending upon the region they live in.

        If they are living in the Valley there are a larger number who may want to secede. But those living in Leh or in Jammu regions are not interested in secession from India. In any case Kashmir is an integral part of India and therefore the wishes of a few people living in the Valley can not be fulfilled.

        There are people who want freedom of speech to be extended to even those people who say such things as Aazadi be given to the Kashmiris. It is not clear what their motive is because they know very well that Kashmir can not treated differently any more than what is prescribed in the Article 375 of the Constitution.

        The Congress government preaches pseudo secularism and easily misinterprets freedom of speech. After misinterpreting the meaning of democracy at the beginning, the pseudosecularists go on towards the end to accuse the state governments of mishandling the case of the wayward artists and thinkers. The democracy which they talk about is not true democracy but a democracy in which the lunatic artists and thinkers who habitually offend the Nation or the Hindu community are allowed a free hand.
Concluded

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