Tuesday, November 10, 2015

May The Light Shine.

I have respected the need for 'Freedom of Speech' ever since I first understood what it meant, sometime during a Civics class in school. It is the necessity for a society to grow. Ideas and opinions need to flow from one side of the table to the other. As a proponent of free speech, this freedom is something I take very personally and seriously.

But, today, almost 18 months after one of the most hallmark decisions taken by the Indian electorate, I wonder if such a freedom exists anymore. It does exist in the Constitution, technically, but on the ground? I'm skeptical.

A democracy like ours is very complex for me to explain, but a few things that I believe are underlying to the very fabric of our country are the need for rules and laws that are common to everybody. That all people, all religions, all languages must be treated equally.

Yes, the Constitution of India doesn't recognize a national religion or national language. Hinduism isn't the national religion, and Hindi isn't the national language. And that, has been the reason for the harmony throughout the country despite the differences! Isn't that something we Indians have been taking pride over for decades?

A very significant difference I have observed is around me towards any critic of our respected PM Narendra Modi, his policies or the BJP. Be it renowned authors, journalists or the humble blogger. Each word of opposition uttered is disregarded and the person in question termed anti-national, quicker than the blink of an eye!

A debate over every decision, every choice, every law, is quintessential to a democracy. It ensures that each ground is covered and there's little chance for a mistake. A country that doesn't allow such a debate isn't much different from a dictatorship. And while many among us may wish that for India with NaMo at the helm, the Constitution in its current form doesn't allow for it.

A democracy allows me to not have the same opinion as the leader of my country, and yet peacefully co-exist without any fear. If this provision didn't exist, we wouldn't be able to fearlessly promote NaMo pre-2014 elections. Think about this for a second. 

If pro-NaMo is showered with praises, shouldn't someone anti-NaMo atleast be heard, too?

The most often cited reason for criticism of anyone with an anti-BJP opinion is that they are paid by the opposition party to do so. And, I don't deny that some may as well be! But, is that how blinded this country has become in 18 short months to ridicule every speck of criticism without even a fair thought? Doesn't that scare you?

Everyone who points out NaMo's mistakes shouldn't be going to Pakistan. Everyone who presents opinions that don't align with the Government's isn't endorsing other parties. Everyone who returns an award isn't looking for headlines and publicity. They may not have supported BJP before elections, but this BJP Government is their Government too, and they deserve to be heard without any reservations.

Something has gone wrong in the last few months, something very simple but, significant.

May the light shine.

P. S.: I do understand the responsibility that lies comes with the freedom that words shouldn't incite communal violence in any form. And, I am not contesting that for even the slightest second.

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