Monday, September 10, 2012

Die, Freedom

Many court judgements running into 200-300 pages or even more could make a hardbound or paperback novel by themselves. If one takes time to read court judgements in many landmark cases, those read better than or at least as good as literary classics. This is particularly so when it concerns the constitution or freedoms. In a somewhat adapted statement of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King observed “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”. Question here is; what exactly is moral? For some the term “moral” means in the eyes of God and for some it simply means “common human decency”. There are still others who believe the govt cannot and should not decide or pass laws on issues of morality. All of these appear to be valid beliefs, as long as they don’t threaten or violate the freedom, life or property of others.

Lovers break up, relationships break up and marriages break up. Someone does end up with “hurt feelings” all the time. There is no law, and cannot be, that can heal such “hurt feelings”, just as there isn’t a law that can guarantee “happiness”. When laws can’t heal human hurt how is it that there are laws that claim “hurt feelings” for national symbols or even religions? Flag, monuments, buildings, pictures of religious or spiritual leaders and so on. Mind you, “feelings” are distinct from “physical” hurt and damage caused by violent acts. Also, laws become just or unjust only in a context. Cartoons and writings should be viewed from the context of massive corruption and scams. This “I feel hurt so I want to screw you” is a law for the insane. Jokes and cartoons in good or bad taste usually offend someone. They are indeed intended to offend.

In a time of extraordinary corruption, scams and subversion of institutions by the govt of the day it is natural and right for people to protest. This may even involve breaking some laws that supposedly protect “hurt feelings”. Aseem Trivedi is one such cartoonist who decided to lampoon all such national symbols and some politicians through images. If one looks at the images he drew, some are sure to find them in bad taste and revolting. But that is precisely his objective: To revolt. A rampantly corrupt govt has provided with him enough provocation. But he’s doing so without threatening or violating the freedoms of others. He is not violently revolting to overthrow the state. So the charge of “sedition” is even more absurd. If some people ended up with “hurt feelings” they should be seeing a psychiatrist and not filing FIRs against him. But hey, filing FIRs and legal cases is a lot better than drawing swords and guns as some do. In normal course Trivedi may not have been driven to such cartooning. These are desperate times. Yes, technically Trivedi may have broken some stupid laws but in the current context of the country such responses are not unusual.

Now, while the corrupt men and women in TV media tweeted vociferously in support of Aseem Trivedi they refused to carry a debate or raise a storm on their TV channels. Why? It’s because the National Broadcaster’s Association (NBA) has issued an advisory to TV channels not to carry the cartoons of Trivedi. Remember, using the cartoons, howsoever offensive, for discussions and in news reports on recognised news channels is not an offence and does not break the law. Cowards! And they have the audacity to call themselves watchdogs! Does that sound similar to the excuse they used in not covering the #AMS sex video episode under some fake interpretation of court orders? No, not the video itself but at least for 3 days the media blacked out the news itself till, inevitably, the video went viral on the internet. Morality? Privacy? Hurting feelings? Okay!

Here’s an image from a TV channel. It’s actually a video that was aired on the channel and then posted on its website. Oh, wait the NBA didn’t have any guidelines or advisories about such episodes. The woman molested at Guwahati was shown a zillion times across TV channels. Some of them didn’t even blur images. Some blurred more and some blurred less. They didn’t think much before flashing images of tits and cleavage. And the image on the website itself is no different. Oh grow up they say! Tits- Good! Cartoons lampooning parliament, Ashoka pillar or politicians – Bad! There’s a reason why I call the NBA a union of snakes. The last thing these morons should be deciding is what is morally right for the public.(I didn't want to use this image although I had it for long but this recent case makes it necessary).

Did I miss it? No, a little bird reminded me. Invariably, in all such cases the Fiberals will unfailingly bring up M.F. Hussain, the Father of their “freedom of expression”. And who else to recognise his freedom of art than the journalistic-bimbo? Don’t forget, she’s the one who wanted female orgasm to be a ‘constitutional responsibility of men’

Okay, the tweet here isn’t a new one but from 2009. Now if at all anyone brings up MFH against Trivedi, remember MFH had no provocation. Did he have a motive? Sure, he did.  But whether it was porn in his mind, money or art or wilfull abuse of Hindu deities – we don’t know. But his consistent painting of only Hindu and national symbols in the nude can’t be passed off as art without being accused of being a prejudiced bigot. Trivedi’s expression rudely captures corruption that affects all Indians and hurts them. I wonder if the Fiberals will suggest that Saraswati or Durga or Lakshmi or Bharat Mata were hurting all Indians so fair to paint them nude. I hope not, but hey, the media morons never fail to surprise. Do they?

The right thing to do was to file cases against MFH as someone has done against Trivedi. Some people did and MFH claimed there were 900 cases filed against him. So the coward runs off to some foreign land instead of facing the courts and dies as a fugitive. In contrast, Aseem Trivedi went to Mumbai and surrendered. He peacefully allowed the police to arrest him. He has not applied for any bail till the time of writing. That is courage and the bimbos from the Fiberal community would do well not to make comparisons. Whether a FIR or legal case is right or wrong is for the courts to decide but it’s always a more civilised way of battling. It’s definitely better than drawing swords and guns like some God’s warriors do.

Mamata Banerjee has arrested even a professor and a farmer for offending her. The GOI has been busy passing all kinds of laws to throttle the social media and the internet. They have even identified eight specific states to target for the clampdown. Till date the GOI doesn’t have a shred of evidence that Twitterati or social media sites incited violence or rumours that led to the Assam violence, its aftermath or the subsequent exodus of NE citizens from many cities. Dictators use “fear mongering” to suppress voices and hide their crimes. India isn’t different from that in the current situation. A corrupt regime flailing its arms and hitting out at anything and everything to cover up their shameful crimes. And what’s our supposed “watchdogs” up to? They are busy slyly helping the govt to impose restrictions on freedoms under the guise of hate-speech, spreading hate and such nonsense.

Larry Flynt, the founder of porn magazine Hustler, will be more remembered for his fight for free speech than his porn (Read about the case here in my post). In a parody that “hurt the feelings” of religious leader Jerry Falwell he was penalised with damages of $200,000. In the campaign to defend himself Flynt was arrested 9 times. He was shot at and permanently paralysed waist below. In a landmark decision the US Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision and protected his free speech rights. In the landmark case the US SC observed: "The fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas”.

Flynt and the late Falwell later became friends and often had friendly debates. In one of those debates Flynt mentioned that in the monthly agenda meetings of Hustler the discussion was “Who haven’t we offended this month?” Haha! That requires constitutional protection. And he added “Time and Newsweek don’t need constitutional protection, it is people like us who offend who need the protection”. Govt slaves like our MSM don’t need that protection. It is the likes of Aseem Trivedi who need that protection. If he isn’t afforded that protection watch more of our freedoms die


  1. Ravinar,

    you too seems falling for the 'liberals'. Just now I saw Justice Katju's blog about same topic. One cannot expect an analyst to be present only ideal thoughts. At the same time there are certain limits to liberal thought. If Assem's objective is "To Revolt", he achieved. He even dared to repeat the act even if it is offense. So let he face law of the land.
    Counter attack is worst weapon MSM using to twist the facts. You ended up same by comparing NBA and this cartoonist.
    Too wrongs do not make one correct.

    All my patriotism vanished in May 2004. Yet I cannot tolerate insult to institutions regardless problems and fallacies in them. I suppose I do not have to educate you on purpose of symbols of nationalism.

    1. @PPR

      Falling for the liberals? Okay. The comparison to NBA is about their double standards and hypocrisy and as this post rightly points out.. You are free not to tolerate and that you have "hurt feelings" because of national symbols. What are you gonna do? The option is file a FIR and legal case or live with it. Both are fine.. as long as you dont pick up swords and guns. Who knows.. if extreme suppression leads to "hurt feelings" someday someone might be motivated to pick up guns and become like "Maoists" .. I believe Aseem has chosen a lesser harmful way of "hurting you".

    2. I feel further sorry by your reply.
      If somebody files lodges a complaint, the accused has legal options starting with anticipatory bail.
      But here Aseem chose a public show.

      "Who knows..." ".. extreme suppression..." are hypothetical. Same can be said from other side too. Unchecked expression of revolt can lead to extremism.

      I repeat, this is what exactly present establishment and MSM using to mislead people. "Innocent until punished by highest court of law" etc etc

    3. You have a right to "Feel hurt" .. that has been explained to you clearly. What Aseem does is his choice.. I dont think you decide the course of his life or his beliefs or his convictions. Do you? Now your choice is what are you gonna do about it.. Considering youve stated your patriotism vanished in 2004 (and that is no offence either) your hurt is as "hypothetical" as anything else. So prolonging the argument makes no sense. Rest it there..


  3. 'hurt feelings' is very dicey...should be 'hurt physically or intend to hurt physically' should be the litmus test to curb freedom of expression of an individual. More in line with First Amendment, Freedom of speech....We need to mature toward that kind of a law.

  4. Where do I find words to describe what you have written.

    Just keep at it. MSM does not like it.

    This straight into their solar plexus.


  5. Don't find the cartoons remotely offensive, because their intended target is infinitely more offensive, dangerous, vicious.

  6. What a fantastic expose of MSM hypocrisy! I wish Mr. Pankaj Pachauri reads this to tell PM Manmohan Singh, Kapil Sibal, Ambica Soni, etc., where they are going wrong. Ditto for Barkha Dutt, Sagarika Ghose, Rajdeep Sardesai, Rahul Kanwal, etc.

    I expressed similar feelings in my tweets, and marked some to the PMOIndia handle itself! At this rate, RK Laxman, could be a target, while, Shankar's works were already by entire Parliament. I am sure history will judge it to be one of the huge lows in India's Parliamentary system, as this suppression of civil rights happened without imposition of Emergency, that too by a govt run by a coalition.

    As usual, the MSM does not stand up for Free Speech is clear. But, you neatly lay their intents bare here. If you can, please link that post on "NBA, the evil snake".

    Thank you.

  7. isn't it hypocrisy to call mf hussain a coward?? i mean you really think the reason he fled the country was because of some FIRs or the fact that several hindutva groups had started threatening him?? funny, you accuse the media of bias against the BJP but you yourseles are pretty slanted to the hindutva side :)you come up in support of any1 who annoys the congress but the moment they utter anything against modi or any sensitive hindutva issue they are fair game.

    1. i think i should call mf hussain arrogant instead, as he drew the paintings and left for foreign land to escape the law here.and i think every important VIP guy in our country is under they leave this country? and when did the blogger here accuse media of bias against bjp?? why are you mixing several things? where does modi come here? what! should he call mf hussain a freedom of speech icon??he insulted hinduism.thats it. he should have been booked and tried under the law and just before that he was"advised" to leave as trying an "innocent" muslim would have been detrimental to image of congress.and i would have loved to see expression on the faces of christians like you had he drawn a painting depicting christ in poor light...

    2. Hussein drew Bharat Mata in nude and got Padma Bhutan!
      Trivedi drew Ashok Chakra as wolves and got remanded for 14 days!
      Long live pseudo secular screwballs !

  8. Your blogs are addictive !!! Gone are the days when I'd open toi or some other news website first thing in the morn. Now it's your blog. One everyday please.. :)

  9. Some people are saying that Aseem's cartoons insulted national symbols and constitutional authorities. His cartoons WERE NOT AGAINST Parliament or national symbols....they were against the insult of these symbols by politicians, bureaucrats and their corruption.

    His cartoon only meant that these looters have turned SATYAMEV JAYATE (Truth shall prevail) to BHRASHTMEV Jayate (Corruption shall prevail)....give one instance where he has insulted any symbol or authority more than these typical Sibals, Rajiv Shuklas or Amar Singh and Congress party have done many times

    But my favorite is his "Pigvijay Special".....everyone should go through that archive !!

  10. Another very timely article and as usual brilliant. Thanks Ravi.
    I saw the cartoons. Assem has not disrespected any national symbol. When Ashoka the great built Sarnath Lion, he was representing the Land, the People and his vision. Are we worthy carriers of those visions? No, No and big No. Our 99.9999% of Babus, politicians, ministers are corrupt. They are like whores, in street, selling their bodies to the highest bidder. No wonder our Parliament stinks like a toilet. No wonder three Lions look more like wolves and no wonder Mother India is being openly raped. We all Indians should hang our heads in shame. But do the whores hang their head in shame ever?

  11. Find it very ironic that the Congress govt that awarded Padma to MFH for his drawing of a naked Ma Bharati is now suddenly up in arms about a cartoon about the same Ma Bharati being raped. What is that thing about being astride on 2 boats at the same time and ending up with mud on your face?

  12. well if making a cartoon of our national symbol is an act of sedition than what about if someone attack it and try to destroy it like they did when they attack Indian parliament in 2001, and we all know what happened after that. if our government is so serious about defending the honor of our national symbol than i want to know why the main accused of parliament attack who is held guilty and sentenced for hanging till death by Honorable supreme court still enjoying the hospitality our government, why this mercy petition is still pending after 8 years, why our leaders don't have time to decide his fate, why he is still alive, why he is not hanged, why the man who try to destroy the very symbol of our democratic institution is still made to live ever after the apex court has sealed his fate, why the must wait and our leaders still not able to decide what to do with the man who declared a open war on our nation, why the brave soul who lead there life to protect our parliament must wait for justice, why AFJAL GURU is still alive. WE NEED ANSWER, WHY THE MAN WHO TRIED TO DESTROY OUR NATIONAL SYMBOL OF PRIDE IS STILL NOT HANGED.

  13. regarding nudist painted MF his painting keeda erupted only to paint Hindu god and godless, he never showed same motivation towards his own god Allah or never imagined Jesus in those sort of poses,and when he did so and offended the feelings of millions of devotee Hindus it was as they called it a freedom of expression, as if offending the feeling of millions of people count for nothing, for certain type of media celebrities Hindu bashing is there way of making there livings, for them secularism means being anti Hindu, for them god Rama is encroach-er, and by making such mindless foolish statement they only showed there level and mindset.

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