Anti-national and anti-social elements have misused our constitutional provisions to propagate disintegrating thoughts under the garb of freedom of speech
A lot is being said and written about Freedom of Speech and Expression these days. What does the word ‘freedom’ mean in our country India? We have never understood the real concept of ‘freedom’. Because of this, there is an unreasonable confusion amongst the generations with regard to what should be the freedom and what shouldn’t be. I feel it is complete chaos as far as freedom in our country relates to. We are a bunch of people struggling to be free from God knows what. We lack clarity, we lack a real understanding of life; we lack freedom from fixed ideas and unrealistic beliefs.
Voltaire while making a statement regarding freedom of expression, says, “What you say I don't like at all, but you have all the right to say what you want to say. If somebody deprives you of this right, I will fight for you!” We don't need to agree to everything that people say, people can have different views and still be together. The ones who do not second our ideas need not be our enemies. Well, that's the most difficult thing to understand.
Renowned American judge Homes while defining the Freedom of Expression says that Freedom of Expression does not mean allowing expression to people who agree with our thoughts, but to allow people to express whom we hate. People of all thought processes and people of all political inclinations should be given a chance to express their thoughts, that’s democracy. But our country faces an overdose of this kind of freedom. Even the anti-social elements get a platform to express their anti-national thoughts, which can be dangerous for the country. This will propagate wrong message to the youth and will not only spoil the environment of the nation but also disturb the social fabric of the country.
What happened at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the heart of national capital New Delhi is a complete mockery of democracy. “Afzal Guru Zindabad and we will cut India into pieces” were the slogans, which were not at all anywhere close to expression. It can only be associated to terrorism. People like Afzal Guru tried to weaken, break and attack the freedom and completeness of the nation. The highest court of the country prosecuted them with the death penalties.
The ones who do not believe in this fact have no right to speak on freedom of speech. The ones who have no contribution towards the nation are the only ones who support such kind of anti-national expressions under the garb of Freedom of Expression.
A certain category of people have always spoken the anti-national words and called them freedom; they have specifically nurtured terrorism in the disguise of expressing thoughts. India has been tolerant to these people.
On one side our army officers are sacrificing their lives for the country and at the same time we are tolerating the hate probation of breaking Kashmir from India. Isn’t it an insult of those protecting our borders all the time? This is possible only in India. No other country will tolerate this.
A man like Owaisi can say “I will not say Bharat Mata ki Jai, even if you slit my throat” and can continue to bear a constitutional position in the Government of the country. This is a bad luck of the country and Freedom of Expression that we are tolerating nonsense.
Anything in excess becomes hazardous. Same is the case with Freedom of Expression. In our country, nobody is taking a stand on Uniform Code of Conduct and Section 370, but all rights are given to those anti-national people to spread violence and venom in the lives of our countrymen.
The country needs tough action to curb such elements and also support the nationalists whether they are fighting in the JNU or the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar. Nobody can be allowed to hit the roots of the nation in the name of Freedom of Expression. The citizens need to be alert and safeguard the integration of our country by displaying unity in diversity. Nation comes first, everything else later.
(The writer is Rajya Sabha MP from Shiv Sena and also executive editor of Saamana, the mouthpiece of Shiv Sena)