Open Letter to “Defenders” of Free Speech

Dear Defenders of Free Speech,

( Speech in question : “India Go Back”,  “Kashmir ki Azaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi.”, “Bharat ki barbaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi”, “Bharat tere tukde honge, Inshallah Inshallah ” )

There was no nation wide campaign for solidarity with free speech in India when Kamlesh Tiwari was jailed under the National Security Act this year for making comments on Prophet Mohamed. The media brigade of free speech back then like Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai said he should not only be Jailed but also put in the same cell as the Mullah who openly called for his beheading. There was no outrage, no hashtag campaigns and nobody was defending Kamlesh Tiwari’s “right to dissent”.

There was no solidarity with free speech in this nation was when an editor of an Urdu daily, Shirin Dalwi was arrested for publishing Charlie Hedbo cartoon and forced to publicly apologise for the same. Defender of Free Speech Sagarika Ghose not only approved but said those cartoons were “weapons of war”. Leftist academia and campuses did not erupt with ‪#‎IStandWithShirin‬.

There was in fact no nation-wide campaign, backed by media elites, leftist intellectuals and campuses to abolish Article 295A,(like there is to re-appeal 124A),a draconian law which gives extraordinarily broad powers to the govt, to censor free speech and arrest people for simply “hurting the religious sentiments” of the faithful.

Finally, label of “Anti-National” is subject to deadly criticism, and its ‘arbitrary’ usage is opposed by the defenders of free speech, but the very same people feel no qualms about throwing around labels like Fascist, Islamophobe, Communal, Intolerant, Misogynist and NeoCon to silence debate whenever they find their ‘biplobi’ opinions challenged.

Course in Selective Liberalism 101 : Complete.


Note 1 :

This is not directed as much to the lay liberal as it is to the liberal academia-intellectual elites, media paragons who have over the years shown a definite pattern of outrage where free speech is the monopoly of only a few. The recent history of curbing of free speech shows that only when the Hindu Right is the perpetrator to we recognise it as an abuse of freedom, however when the same is done my the Pro-Theocratic Muslim Right, there is a definite silence. The selective outrage simply demonstrates that this isn’t about principles because if it was it should be applied evenly.

Note 2 :

The binary narrative of either you support the absolute right of people to call for the destruction of state through war or you support the subsequent right-wing hooliganism and political opportunism, is extremely moronic to say the very least. Its reminiscent of those good old pre-2014 Congress-BJP debates where if you criticised one party, it was automatically assumed you supported the other.




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