Free to live. Not free to do and say as we please?

Professor Jyotirmaya Sharma of the University of Hyderabad and author of “Terrifying Vision”: M.S. Golwalkar, the RSS and India, in Mail Today:

“There is a significant difference between saying that all Indians are free to live wherever they want to, and saying all Indians are free to live where they want to and do what they feel like, live the way they want to and say what they wish to articulate.

“Living, doing and saying are activities and choices subject only to restrictions imposed by the Indian Constitution and the rule of law and are not activities that are hostage to the mercy of outfits like the RSS, Shiv Sena, VHP and the Bajrang Dal….

“In practical terms, this means that those Indians who choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day ought not to be attacked by the thugs of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal in the name of preserving Indian culture. It means James Laine has the right to write a book, using the resources of the venerable Bhandarkar Institute in Poona, without the Institute being attacked and vandalised by criminals of the Sambhaji Brigade.

“It also means that individuals have the right to convert freely to any faith as long as they do so voluntarily. It means that Aamir Khan has a right to express his views on the Narmada issue and not be hounded in Gujarat by lumpens encouraged by the tacit approval of the state government. It means Amitabh Bachchan the right to show Narendra Modi his latest film, and agree to be the brand ambassador for Narendra Modi’s Gujarat. It means M. F. Husain has the right to express his creativity in a manner that he chooses without being hounded out of the country into voluntary exile.”

Read the full article: Mail Today

Image: courtesy Prasad Radhakrishnan/ Mail Today

Also read: How girls pissing in their pants protect Hinduism

M.F. HUSAIN: Bolo Bharat mata ki jai, Bolo it’s a work of art

KUMAR KETKAR: Not the land of the cow, the land of holy cows

NARENDRA MODI: A  disgraceful asault on media freedom

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32 Responses to “Free to live. Not free to do and say as we please?”

  1. Chombuka Says:

    MF Hussain,painting Bharat Mata in the nude!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jyotirmaya Sharma calls this freedom.
    What a joke…Today its Bharath Mata,tomorrow its somebody’s Mata.
    All in the name of creativity!!!!!!!!!
    Ask Hussain,to paint himself and his family in the nude if he wants to display creativity with nudity.

    Surprisingly there is nothing written about the rigidity that Islamic fundamentalism enforces.
    The author seems to suggest that its freedom of oppression.

    One advice to Churumuri and Mr Jyotirmaya Sharma…
    Get Creative,freedom will follow.
    Your dumb pseudo secular ideologies might fetch you brownie points but not appreciation!!!!!!!!.
    Jai Hind….It means Jai Hindustan and not Jai Hindu as you would most likely interpret it….

  2. Rajesh R Says:

    It means hindus has the right to protest when their gods and goddesses are painted in a bad manner by M.F Hussain just like Christians can protest when their churches are attacked…..

  3. Rao Says:

    What non-sense freedom are we talking about.

    If a Kannadiga goes to a post office he does not even a get a post card or a money order form printed in Kannada.

    No Kannada challans are available either in nationalised or private banks.

    Strictly no Kannada in any of the govt offices run by Indian Union

    All this happening in our own mother land Karnataka.

  4. harkol Says:

    Rao:

    >What non-sense freedom are we talking about.

    We are talking about the freedom to talk anything (including nonsense). You can’t think of posting an anti-govt. comment in China or in Singapore. You’d be tracked and jailed.

    Just as with so many other spheres of life (Roads, Water, Healthcare etc.) local language implementation by Central Agencies (like postal, railways) isn’t too good.

    But, that doesn’t mean we aren’t free. We are free to complain, protest peacefully and force the agencies concerned to take action.

    Chombuka:

    We, however, are not free to go on a mob destroying what we don’t agree with. If someone feels painting is hurting their sentiments, they can move court, and if the courts don’t rule in their favour they have the freedom to protest peacefully with other like minded persons.

    Mr. Hussain is free to draw anything he wants, just like you are free to post anything you want. It may be hurting my sentiments that you are posting such patently non-libertine message, but I am not going to lift a stick and come after you.

    Rajesh R:

    You are right that anyone in India has a right to protest, but peacefully. They don’t have right to attack churches, neither do they have right to attack a art show, or a movie theater..

    Anyone who supports such hooliganism should ask themselves just this: If I don’t like your message in Churumuri, does it give me a right to have a spontaneous outburst and come and hit you with a gang?

  5. Rao Says:

    @ Harkol,

    > But, that doesn’t mean we aren’t free. We are free to complain, protest peacefully and force the agencies concerned to take action.

    Deprive majority of their Rights in their own land. Impose some alien unknown languages. Slowly kill their language and culture and “ALLOW THEM TO PROTEST” and this is what you call freedom? Looks FUNNY

  6. Chombuka Says:

    harkol,

    Not once in my entry have i supported the use of violence or to justify something through violent means.
    I’m only ridiculing the authors idea of freedom.
    Freedom doesn’t mean you strip naked on the road and say its my wish i did it,I’m free to do so.
    I’m questioning the idea of freedom and the subsequent justification of it.

    On your logic of writing anything you want which according to you amounts to freedom,why don’t you oppose the moderators on the site?.
    Aren’t they restricting your freedom by doing that?.
    When Mr Hussain know that this country has a heady mix of religions and sentiments,all he could have done is be a little careful.

  7. harkol Says:

    >this is what you call freedom? Looks FUNNY

    Rao Sir. The concept of Liberty and freedom has evolved over thousands of years. It isn’t an easy concept because billions of Free wills need to collaborate to have peaceful co-existence.

    Every now and then there has been tyranny of some sort. British ruled us – without any moral, ethical or legal justification. Gandhi addressed the same questions that you are posing now… Gandhi was opposed to all violent tactics, for his thinking was clear – We can’t really be free without being qualified for it. And if we are violent, then we can’t really be qualified for freedom. And before someone says Gandhian values are irrelevant, let me say this – It wasn’t his values. He adopted it from many other great thinkers (Buddha, Jesus to name only two).

    I agree there are hundred wrongs in our society.. I’d actively participate in any protest march or contribute to a legal defense fund of any violation of rights.

    But, mob action can never be a solution, it just brings a retaliation from another section of the people or from the law (as it exists on the day).

    It really doesn’t solve a problem in the end.

    >Deprive majority of their Rights in their own land.

    Would you care to elaborate which right have you been denied? And how do you have that particular right?

    ***

    >On your logic of writing anything you want which according to you amounts to freedom,why don’t you oppose the moderators on the site?.

    This is precisely the point.

    I won’t oppose the moderators, because they are the authority. The churumuri equivalent of Supreme Court. Once they take a call, it is final in the Churumuri eco-system, running on Churumuri’s constitution.

    I may not agree with the moderators, but I will abide by their rules or decision as final. Just as I’ll abide by the laws made by Parliament or Supreme Court.

    There hasn’t been a single instance in history or mythology where the world was just. They speak of “Rama Rajya”, but it is in his rule that Seetha was made to walk thru fire, was made to go to a forest on a hearsay.

    The world will always some kind of injustice and fissures. The only way to peacefully co-exist is to find balance between our ideological differences, and reconcile them within the boundaries of our constitutional framework. The arbitrator is our judicial system (how ever flawed).

    Break that, and we will have no grounds to complain when someone breaks our home on a perceived grievance.

    ***

    >When Mr Hussain know that this country has a heady mix of religions and sentiments,all he could have done is be a little careful.

    I’d like to concur, but I can not for only one reason. Concurring with this shifts the responsibility to the victim. It is like saying the Girl is somehow responsible for her Rape, because she should’ve been more careful – after all world is full of hungry wolves.

    What offends whom is a difficult thing to determine. For example, think of Gommateshwara (Bhagawan Bahubali). One would say – what a vulgar sculpture. Another would say “What a majestic one”.

    Now, art being abstract, and as an artist I create what my creative instinct tells me to do. I don’t create what is acceptable to all people. If artists did that then there wouldn’t be a thriving diversity in our art forms.

    Beatrice Hall wrote “”I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.. This is the foundation of the concept of Freedom of Expression/Speech. I may not agree or like Hussains art, but he has the right to paint it and people who don’t like it have the right to critique and oppose it peacefully.

  8. Gowda Says:

    @Harkol

    The freedom which u r talking about will lead to crimes as MF hussain committed. Too much is always too bad.

    Crime is not only a theft or a murder, hurting majority sentiments is also a crime.

    better refine ur thinking in freedom of expression.

  9. Kitapati Says:

    I want to read the great literary masterpice ‘Satanic Verses’. Can jyotirmaya sharma and his ilk let me know in which bookshop in India I can get it.

  10. raj Says:

    MF Hussain! — C’mon.. what abt Da Vinci Code and Sulman Rushdie ??? …

    This “bin sampraday ki jamat” has a totally screwed up mind!

  11. A Hindu Says:

    MF Husain not only pained Bharat Mata as nude, but also many Hindu Gods and Godesses.
    Have you seen his painting of Muslim women, somehow he shows some restraint.
    Does freedom to express come with freedom to hurt others’ feelings by portraying their close ones in a bad light without any reason to do so?

  12. dharma Says:

    Do the Sena Phanetics have a Passport, and if so what have they written in the application, Indian or Mumbian. Do they use Indian currency where India is written or they have it written as Mumbai??

  13. Goldstar Says:

    We have the freedom to protest cartoons in distant Denmark newspapers.

    We have the freedom to protest Saddam Hussein’s hanging.

    We have the freedom to protest when hooligans attack Taslima Nasreen.

    Ooops, sorry, we don’t have the last one.

  14. Innocent Says:

    What is Sharma talking about? Please come to the ground level instead of giving holy sermons sitting in an ivory tower and in a language no common man understands.

  15. harkol Says:

    Gowda:
    >hurting majority sentiments is also a crime. better refine ur thinking in freedom of expression.

    Which law exactly did he violate in his ‘crime’ ?? Anything that you (or even a majority) disagrees with – can’t become criminal. They tried to mvoe a court to get Hussain implicated in a criminal case, but courts ruled in Hussain’s favor – http://ibnlive.in.com/news/mf-husain-has-a-right-to-his-view-rules-delhi-hc/64852-3.html

    Here are the some images for comparison:

    All the above are sacred figures in India and and no one really made an issue of them and they are worshipped as sacred.

    How should it in any way Different from what Hussain drew? He didn’t show any disrespect to the religion (as ruled by courts). He was just following in the footsteps of other great artists of India, who have sculpted our various goddesses in nude..

    It’d be more useful for us to get offended by our fellow human beings (even women) having to defecate in public, due to lack of privacy of a latrine, but it seems it is easier to take offense easily to a movie that has a lyric like ‘theli ka thel’!!! And they are so easily organized enough to go raze a theater down – instead of protesting lack of public toilets.

    **

    Kitapati:

    You can’t buy Satanic versus legally in India, but you could get ebook versions on the net if you are really keen on reading it.

    It is the myopic policy of our govt. that begets such intolerance from small sections of people. They feel empowered to demand a ban on anything and everything.

    Satanic verses ban is wrong. But, at least it was done through a due process of law, and our parliament and courts had a say in this process. What they did with Hussain was unconscionable in a free, democratic society.

  16. Gowda Says:

    @ Harkol

    One last thing i can say for your view on this. Its nothing but ‘Vithanda Vaadha”

    Securalists and socialists are considering Hinduism and hindus as a non veg meal and having full meals daily.

    Enjoy.

  17. Innocent Says:

    Harkol, in spite of your elaborate writing, you fail to convey your opinion. Does freedom mean, anyone can do any thing, anywhere, anytime in our country as it pleases to him or her? Or are we bound by law, morality, ethics, public sentiments etc. And what is creativity? Hinduism bashing, ridiculing the traditions etc.? And when it comes to other religions, you don’t talk about creativity. Then it becomes communalism, casteism. Wah, what an argument! Yes, mob rule is bad. But then who is responsible for such a situation? When there is no proper law and order, and whatever little law is there is only for the asses, who are called masses, mob rule creeps in.

  18. Rahul Says:

    All we are talking about freedom, Freedom to do this or that… But in actual its start of new terrorism supported by Congress. Congress just wants to sit as ruling party same they did with Punjab.
    Indira Gandhi brings the Bhindrawala to cut down the vote bank of Akali Dal & he used the talk, same way as whole Thakre family is talking & congress at center just ignored & ignored to increase there vote bank. And final result of congress greed was terrorism in Punjab. Who suffered??? We, only We (only Punjabi’s). That situation gave us BLUE STAR & 1984 Delhi riots.
    Just go in public with loudspeaker & speak same words as Thakre family is…. Police will arrest you on the spot & put you behind the bars for long time & you could be victim of RASUKA too.
    Congress is playing game.. They just want to cash our anger. They are sending Rahul Gandhi in other states to tell that Bombay is part of India & any one can live there, but action to stop such things. One day Maharashra will burn like Punjab & then Congress will show action.

    So freedom is nothing it just a playing tool of Political parties, especially Congress Party.

    At this time this terror there is just a baby & they are feeding it.. You will see results soon.

  19. harkol Says:

    Gowda:
    >Its nothing but ‘Vithanda Vaadha”

    Cologne Dictionary defines Vitanda as “carping at the arguments or assertions of another without attempting to prove the opposite side of the question”.

    I am using rational logic and facts to buttress my belief in liberty, freedom and rule of law. I am asking for a logical and factual basis for your argument that Hussain did something criminal or that he offended ‘majority’. If you don’t have them, It is your argument that becomes “Vitanda”…

    And, the Hindu Boigie (Hindu victimhood) is a futile one in India. Hindus form a overwhelming majority of India (Close to 85%) and Majority of Hindus know what they want and they vote accordingly. If they were victimized, they’ll vote in someone else.

    Secularism and socialism are not two vacuous concepts – they are written in to our constitution. So obviously majority in India accept these two concepts, or else constitution would’ve been amended ??

    ***

    Goldstar:

    >We have the freedom to protest when hooligans attack Taslima Nasreen.
    >Ooops, sorry, we don’t have the last one.

    Who stopped us? We were free to protest.. And quite a few did… It may not have made the same amount of news…

    Police filed criminal cases on three legislators (and others). MIM chose to lodge FIR against Taslima nasreen for disturbing peace, which was registered by police but wasn’t pursued (B report).

    MIM case is still pending and is being fought in court by MIM legislators…

    This attack was condemned and protested both by Hindu and Muslim leaders of various parties. Most papers condemned it in their editorials too..

    So, why do you feel you didn’t have the right to protest?

    ***

    Rahul:

    Congress is known to appease certain sections/leaders for electoral gains, and it is true that it panders to SS/MNS in some twisted way to keep Maharastra under its control.

    But, i suspect SS/MNS is not going to amount to Punjab/LTTE kind of scenario. For two reasons.

    1. There isn’t large enough Maratha support for an Independent Maharastra as was the case for Khalistan among sikhs..

    2. SS/MNS aren’t ideologically committed folks. They are just opportunistically using Maratha pride to carve a niche in electoral roles and even perpetuate a mafia like grip on Mumbai. It isn’t in their interest either to let a massive confrontation like Punjab to develop.

    Ofcourse, you can’t rule out a Bindhranwale coming out of no where and taking away SS/MNS plank and wedding it with militancy.. That’s a danger indeed.

  20. kavitha Says:

    Interestingly Bal T yesterday urged Rahul Gandhi to go south and look at the plight of marathi’s in Belgaum. He even suggested that Congress should focus on imposing hindi in south india and leave Maharashtra alone….finally it is boiling down to the age old fight between madraasis v/s the fair skinned aryans :)

  21. harkol Says:

    Innocent:

    >are we bound by law, morality, ethics, public sentiments

    My elaborate writings are to convey just how twisted our thinking has become.

    In the statecraft the law is fundamental and is supposed to uphold the morality and ethics. Public sentiments have no role in the eyes of the Law.

    We will have freedom as long as we have ‘rule of law’. Take that away and you’ll have rule of Mob and anarchy. If any of our guaranteed freedoms are to be curtailed, it should be thru a process of law (like banning a book).

    In other words – Law, is more exact element than all other values you mentioned. So, Law is the only common criteria for judging people. All others elements are variable and mean different things to different people.

    ***

    >And when it comes to other religions, you don’t talk about creativity.

    Says who? What makes you say that? You are jumping to your own conclusions. Just because someone doesn’t like Hindu fundamentalism, he must be a pseudo secularist or a muslim appeaser??

    If you have followed what I have been saying closely, I have said that it is idiotic to ban Satanic Verses, but it was done thru a due process of law, upheld by courts (in other words rule of law was followed).

    I have had nothing but pure contempt for muslim fundamentalism and muslim appeasement.

    I don’t like any kind of shortsighted curtailment of freedoms by any kind of mob.. Hindu, muslim or otherwise…

    ***

    >But then who is responsible for such a situation?

    Oh! Couldn’t resist answering this one.

    We are responsible for this situation. We vote the govts, who are not reforming our judiciary, who are keeping 100+ british era laws and processes of justice. We aren’t bringing enough pressure on them to increase the number of judges. We are not making enough protests to improve the system, instead of taking law in to our own hands

  22. Goldstar Says:

    harkol,

    My statements were in kind of rhetorical . What I mean is the pseudo-secularists, including Churumuri, never protest so much when Islamic Fundamentalism raises its ugly head.

    Where was Churumuri’s or other psueds fury when a fellow editor (of The Statesman, Kolkatta) gets arrested for publishing a article about atheism, when a UP MLA announces a cash prize for the head of the Danish cartoonist?

  23. Rahul Says:

    harkol:
    Its just a start so many people will not find it as dangerous as it was in Punjab, But its a start.. for start knowingly or unknowingly they are charging young brains.. when ever someone speaks against them or bit different, SS/MNS gives them financial shocks in front of all (Danke ke Chot Par). So many young free minds would get inspired & will try to do something big.. It’s just a start. You must have heard Raj Thakre’s yesterdays’ press conf and is not different from it..

  24. Anonymous Guy Says:

    The thackeray khandhaan were the blue eyed boys of the BJP/RSS/VHP brigade only yesterday. Most cheddis on this blog would defend them as easily as they would spring in defense of their dear RSS.

    Now the RSS itself has to do a drama of ‘opposing’ the shiva sena. It is as if Shiv Sena are an uncontrollable taliban like force who are hell bent on being purer than their own masters in their hatred and divisiveness.

    Keep up the good work – it comes naturally to those who hate!

  25. harkol Says:

    Rahul:
    >for start knowingly or unknowingly they are charging young brains..

    I agree they are trying, but it is unlikely to succeed for majority of Marathi’s don’t care for these jokers (Their combined vote share after 3 elections indicates that).

    In fact, it is more likely that they will wither away if they keep at it, just as BJP is finding it difficult to hold on to its power base.

    I firmly believe we are a nation that was forged out of a traumatizing experience, so have a lot in common for us to throw it away. So, except for people at peripheries (Kashmir, Mizoram, Manipur etc.), people from other states will not want the idea of India to be challenged.

    However, to get them (and other hooligans) to book, the courts should force govt. to take action (if they don’t on their own). For example – Why are people who were caught on camera rioting on the occasion of Rajkumar’s death, still roaming free?

    Goldstar:
    >What I mean is the pseudo-secularists, including Churumuri, never protest

    The response is always directly proportional to the potential damage. Stray incidents are reported but are not taken up for “big fight” etc.

    For example, Yesterday Digvijay Singh went to Azamgarh and did the unthinkable. He told the relatives of terrorists killed in Batla, that the encounter could be fake, and all the channels have slammed him and grilled him and Congies about it. It was the most idiotic and stupid thing to do, and is so typical of Congress Minority appeasement culture.

    So, coverage in Media isn’t so much about pseudo-secularism as much as perceived damage to the integrity of India.

  26. VAlale SUbbanna Says:

    If the minorities have the first right over the resources of India (according to PM M.M.Sing),why not Maharastrians on Mumbai.Lets have the level playing field yaar.

  27. harkol Says:

    Subbanna:

    Is it your point that Maharastrians are Minority in Mumbai?

  28. VAlale SUbbanna Says:

    harkol:
    Im not sure,but I think among the wealthiest they are.

  29. Yella Ok Says:

    Why does anyone ever get a thought that “minorities” should get a first right on resources anywhere? For that matter why the question of “first right” at all, for whomever and wherever?

  30. harkol Says:

    Subbanna:

    So, who is a “maharastrian”? Someone who was born there, someone who speaks Marathi (if so, what of Konkani’s ?) or is it someone who has been there for X number of years?

  31. kulkarni Says:

    well every konkni who speaks marathi is Maharastrians. and who says k.kanis are not Maharastrians? k.kani is a form of marathi written in devanagri. konkani evolved from sanskrit.
    but it is true that some unwanted corruption of konkani has occurred mostly because of dakhani.

  32. harkol Says:

    Kulkarni:

    What about a Konkani folks who don’t speak Marathi?

    And how does it matter if Konkani grew from same roots as Marathi? Almost all our language including Marathi descended from Sanskrit. Konkani was influenced by Kannada as well.

    As it stands, Konkani is distinct and is independent of marathi. And Mumbai/Thane falls right in to what is traditionally called as “konkan region”.

    It is just that Marathi’s have flooded into these areas and have made konkani’s a minorities now. How can Shivsena say it belongs to just “marathi manoos”??

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