The time and effort we spend talking about the Indian democracy and how every Indian swears by it comes a cropper when events like what happened in Mumbai following Bal Thackeray’s death occur. The recent arrest of two Mumbai girls for posting an allegedly defamatory comment on Facebook is a case in point. The intolerance of our so called democracy is such that a reasonable opinion expressed in anguish on social media can make you end up in jail and result in a violent attack on your next of kin. The absurdity doesn’t stop here, it also means your friend is arrested too for the heinous crime of liking your Facebook post.
The fledgling accounts of the justification of the arrest provided by the Shivsainiks wasn’t the least surprising. They adhere to the politics of force and violence. However what saddens me is to see the media discourse that has focused on the moderation of thoughts. Bal Thackeray had a huge following in Maharashtra, but was still a controversial figure who had little respect for the law. Even if we were to ignore his fallacies and consider him to be a demigod, to somehow believe that revered figures are beyond questioning and speaking against them is a crime is utterly ludicrous. The idea of arresting the thoughts of people may find place in authoritarian societies like China but to fail to agree with the disruption caused by a divisive figure’s funeral and express your distress publicly is a right provided in a free and liberal society and every individual ought to have the freedom to exercise that right.
How could someone possibly violate this freedom in the name of respect and honor? If you need respect surely it gotta be earned and not demanded.
A sad day in Indian democrazy.. A miffed citizen.