Thursday, December 6

Freedom of speech

Read on "Ouch My Toe!"

Gentlemen are requested; servants are commanded, to keep off the grass.
- A sign in a London Park in 19th century.

Also read a conversation he overheard

Krishnamurthy: When somebody’s voice has the power to reach the public…one should be careful about what is being said.
Naeem: Does that mean celebrities can’t have freedom of speech?
Krishnamurthy: They can. But they can’t say everything that a common man can say.
Naeem: So, the celebrities can’t have freedom of speech?
Krishnamurthy: They have the freedom of speech. But as they said in Spiderman II, with powers of celebrity-dom come bigger responsibilities.
Naeem: Are you saying that Taslima shouldn’t have written about Islam the way she did?
Krishnamurthy: She definitely shouldn’t have. Taslima is the culprit.
Naeem: But I fought with my father when he blamed Taslima for writing ill about Islam.
Krishnamurthy: You did? Why?
Naeem: By writing ill about such a magnificent truth of life, Taslima showed that she didn’t know anything about Islam.
Krishnamurthy: I agree.
Naeem: Yeah…so why don’t we just laugh Taslima away and give her space to grow up and realize her folly?
Naeem’s suggestion hit me hard. That’s why, when my baby girl spit on me last evening, I didn’t spit back (which I usually do). Instead, I gave her some space to grow up…and start calling me: “Daddy!”


The Indian constitution guarantees freedom of speech to every citizen and there have been landmark cases in the Indian Supreme Court that have affirmed the nation's policy of allowing free press and freedom of expression to every citizen. In India, citizens are free to criticize politics, politicians, bureaucracy and policies. The freedoms are comparable to those in the United States and Western European democracies. Article 19 of the Indian constitution states that:
All citizens shall have the right —
to freedom of speech and expression;
to assemble peaceably and without arms;
to form associations or unions;
to move freely throughout the territory of India;
to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.[12] These rights are limited so as not to effect:
The integrity of India
The security of the State
Friendly relations with foreign States
Public order
Decency or morality
Contempt of court
Defamation or incitement to an offence[13]
However, Indian citizens cannot criticize supreme court judgments (although they are given the right to challenge the courts decision under legal process) and is punishable by three month imprisonment in jail. Novelist, Arundhati Roy, was arrested and charged 2000 Rupees for criticizing court's judgment in the Sardar Sarover case. She was released after she paid the fine.[14]
than y so much trouble for Tsleema, M F Hussain and others?

must read-Counterpoint: The Taslima Controversy-

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