This year, the police in Jaipur have assured security to participants but in return, they have reportedly asked organisers to ensure that no one’s feelings are hurt. It is a bizarre condition, since the best literature is written to question, to provoke, even to disturb. And yet, since the government routinely shirks its responsibility to protect free speech, the request of the police may appear almost reasonable. The resolve of the Union home ministry was put to the test in the decade-long battle over M.F. Husain’s paintings. Both the NDA and the UPA were in office during that period. Neither showed any inclination to face down groups who claimed their constituencies had been emotionally hurt, and who were prepared to dish out physical hurt in return. After that, it’s been steadily downhill.
Ironically, the government is quite eager to curb the right of expression in the interest of public safety, but unwilling to assure the safety of individual citizens who speak freely. The drama in progress at Jaipur follows other embarrassments as theatre groups and sporting teams from Pakistan have cancelled events and left India. The government should now prevent the establishment of another precedent at Jaipur by standing up to the industry of hurt sentiments.
THIS GOVT IS THROWING ALL ITS PRINCIPLES, IF IT HAD ANY IN THE FIRST PLACE, TO THE WINDS TO LICK THE BOTTOMS OF ONE COMMUNITY ONLY BECAUSE OF THEIR "VOTE BANK POTENTIAL"? TOP OF THAT IT IS INTELLECTUALLY BANKRUPT TO THINK ABOUT THE LOSS IT IS CAUSING TO THE INSTITUTIONS AND GOVERNANCE?
It is time that government starts auctioning its decisions to the highest bidders amongst such outfits based on the votes they would deliver to the party. To start with, the decisions can be divided in to following key categories; a) to ban a book, b) to ban a foreign national, c) to ban an Indian national, d) to ban reading aloud the written material such as a book etc. Screen (of Express Group) which has vast experience in developing categories and criteria for several awards for its annual cine awards ritual can offer its services to the government to further develop different 'Vote Bank cum Ban' categories so that the vote banks of all the religious groups are covered for it to be an all inclusive affair just like the all inclusive reforms that the government tom toms about every day. A black and white 'Votes linked Ban' policy would also bring in transparency in government's decision-making process and leave little room for any religious outfit to protest later.
disbarred ? what on earth is that ? the correct word is debarred. Disappointing to see such errors in an editorial.
Sab kuchh chalta hai and at the end of the day what difference does it make. After all, you (and we) understood that %u2018disbarred%u2019 meant was what the word %u2018debarred%u2019 means. Any one amongst us who was confused was made wiser by your valued observation. And the editorial writer has not contradicted what an alert reader has pointed out (Also there are as yet no TV sound bytes on this minor lazy lapse by the writer by the Express%u2019s spokesperson on any TV channel. But, let us wait for the prime time news). Is it not better than the utterances of our two mouthed ministers and political leaders who mouth that they did not speak what they spoke and the public did not understand what they did not speak or what they spoke which they did not mean or something equally absurd and non-sensical?