Since times immortal, there has been wars over freedom. Freedom from Kings and Statesman, Freedom from Invaders, freedom from Rulers, Freedom from Government, Freedom from Landlords, Freedom from Oppression, and so many.. These all wars had a significant movement associated with them and thus, they were inscribed with golden letters in the annals of history.
But along with these wars, a small but significant fight has always been happening in the background, a war that was not faught with guns and cannons, not with swords and spears, but with pen and paper; and while its physical counterpart was much boasted and expressed upon, this small war was not able to creep inside the history books. No one paid attention to this significant hussle happening far from the public eyesight, which very well, was responsible for shaping the very course of the human history.
Since few years, this war has come to the forefront in INDIA, thanks to several factors:
1. Winning of a national party having right wing ideology with a thumping majority in one of the most celebrated electorate.
2. Consequent rise of several parties, though not at national level, having an ideology totally different from those winning the nation’s mandate.
3. A massive surge of social media with various platforms like FACEBOOK, WHATSAPP, TWITTER, ettcetra ,ettcetra…
4. Increased penetration of internet and use of smart phones in even the most distal parts of the country.
5. Increased interactions of mainstream media with the public.
These all factors, combined with various big and small global events, helped the freedom of speech to be celebrated at a stronger and higher platform in a much faster way, which it was not able to achieve despite striving since eternity.
Though, all these factors, helped views to be expressed more easily and to a large chunk of population, it also come with a grave side effect of it’s own. Like a double edged sword, it also lead every bit of information, whether, true or false; ideologically and morally right or wrong, to reach to every person, intellectually strong or weak…
And, these my friends, have lead to a sharp demarcation, a polarization of the country on the basis of relgion, caste, ideology, gender, etc…
Those who support one ideology feel proud and happy to degrade other’s profession, religion, political affiliations; the one which does not conforms to their own.
The whole internet has been converted to a bunch of sadists (those people who find pleasure, in inflicting pain or humiliations on other people), who never lose a moment, where they can torment others. Every one is trying to put others down in their own eyes, and in the eyes of everyone out watching them. These is widely celebrated and when confronted upon, is shielded effectively behind the much hyped “Right of Speech“…
So, let me explain the Right of Speech as explained in the highest book of our country, higher than The Bhagwad Gita, The Quran, The Bible or The Guru Granth, OUR HOLY CONSTITUTION….
Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution makes the “right to freedom of speech and expression” a fundamental right.
But it is not an absolute right; there are qualifiers, some riders that come along..
The First Amendment to the Constitution, made on June 18, 1951, states that “interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with Foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence” will be paramount and freedom of expression will not be unconditional”.
There are others too, including the IT Act of 2000, considering the now widespread use of internet and social media. You can all read them on a copy which you can find in a government book shop, or over government internet portal. Make sure, you read the exact replica..
So, not going into all those literally details, I would like to say,
The Constitution gives you Freedom of speech, but not the freedom to offend anyone.. It doesnot gives you the freedom above Country’s Integrity..
It gives you freedom, but within certain limits, some borders, which have to be respected.
If Freedom of Speech is our Fundamental Right, then maintaining Integrity and Harmony within the country is our Fundamental Duty…