Wednesday, December 01, 2010

'You hate me, I arrest you'

A young girl of 18 shouts at her mother, ‘I hate you’, and leaves for college.  During the lunch time, the police visit the girl’s college and arrest her on charges of sedition.  The fact that the mother was a government employee was good enough for the mother to file a case of sedition against her daughter.  Because IPC 124 A reads:

Whoever by words spoken brings hatred towards the Government established by law in India shall be punished with imprisonment for life.

A jilted lover who shouts, ‘I hate you’ at a woman is now booked under sedition laws of India just because that woman is a government employee.  It’s not hard to imagine such a situation now that Arundhati Roy is being slapped with various cases across India just because she has been found to harbor ‘hatred’ for this country.  We are on the verge of creating another MF Husain episode, hounding the person we do not like so much so that they would have to eventually flee the country.   Soon we will get rid of all artists and authors from this country who do not conform to the opinions of the majority.  

Words of feelings in Indian Penal Code

Words like hatred, anger, love, happy, etc, cannot be and should not be legalized.  They are subject to interpretation most of the time.  The feelings come and go; they reach a peak and subside.  In anger, one could utter the words of disaffection, dissatisfaction and say things like, ‘I hate you’, but then change one’s feelings the very next moment.  Feelings are not static, cannot be measured, and should never be legalized.  The fact that such words, like ‘hatred’, appear in our Indian Penal Code with punishments of imprisonment for life is quite ridiculous.  The fact that such laws are actually being used now in many cities of India against Arundhati Roy is downright deplorable.  

Artists and Authors in Politics

Many people in India do not understand why MF Husain has to paint Hindu gods in nude instead of sticking to landscapes, or why Arundhati Roy has to speak about Kashmir instead of sticking to writing fiction.   To start with, there is no need to understand why they do what they do.   We as people of India don’t have to understand what every artist or author does.   That’s the whole idea of freedom of expression - that we should allow people to express what they want to express without being attacked with FIRs, police cases, harassments, vandalism, etc.   A modern nation that does not protect its citizen’s basic rights against onslaught of the majority opinion should hang its head in shame, not be proud that they have managed to kick out another artist or author from its land.

In the history of mankind, many artists and authors have commented on politics of their time, some of actively participating in them.  Voltaire, a playwright, wrote at lengths on politics of France leading to The French Revolution; Benjamin Franklin, a scientist, was one of the signatories of The Declaration of Independence in USA playing an active role in politics; Pablo Picasso, an artist, depicted the Spanish War in his famous painting ‘Guernica’; Salvador Dali, another artist, depicted many of his objects of veneration in nude.

It was the attitudes of those lands that they could tolerate a contrarian expression or opinion, however disagreeable those opinions were, that has led to creation of the concept called modern nation, which treats it people as citizens with rights, not as subjects of a king. 

What is India doing now? Hounding its authors and artists slapping them with innumerable number of cases in each city of India so that they are forced to flee the nation!  With the episode of Arundhati Roye, criticism of one’s nation has become a crime punishable by imprisonment for life.   Harboring feelings of hatred, anger, dissatisfaction towards one’s country, and expressing them through a sign, such as a frown on the face, is now sedition.   Almost anyone can be prosecuted by anyone.  What a wrong precedent!

Related Posts: Scrap sedition laws

28 comments:

  1. Arundhati Roy is the Noam Chomsky of India, she forewarned about the Corporations taking over our democracy about how the So called elites of Corporate Social responsibility like Ratan Tata and Mukesh Amabni accepted awards from the Facist Narendra Modi.
    No wonder the Recently released Radia Tapes expose just the tip of the Rot in our sytem.

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  2. Forget about the Sedition Act , think how liberally the Govt imposes Section 144 , banning public assembly, a true democracy can never have such frequent Suspension of basic human rights.
    Can anyone file a RTI about how many days AP govt imposed 144 on Hyd.

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  3. INDIA,THE NEW ABUSER OF DEMOCRACY.....There,I said it.

    Power at the international level,is costing India it's democracy.

    Wonder,if I am going to be in trouble for this.

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  4. @Lavanya: I don't think you or even Sujai will be in trouble. But if Sujai's blog becomes much more popular than it is now, and the if the Govt feels that his support for Kashmir and diatribes against the Indian nation amount to seditious actions, then yes, Sujai will be in trouble.

    It is sad that we as a nation need to curb free expression.We should allow all kinds of perspectives in the market place of ideas, and may the best idea/s win.

    However, this is just one aspect of India being a democracy- there are rights but the exercise of the rights has some limitations, and the discretionary power about those limitations exist with the Govt, though it can be challenged in the court successfully.

    But if a person is accused/suspected of sedition in the US, the repercussions would be much stronger.Take the case of Vikram Buddhi, a Telugu American who has been in jail for the past few years, after allegedly making seditious remarks.

    And if Arundhati, Sujai or any one else makes such statements in China or Saudi Arabia, they would have been in a jail or dead by now.

    So, the bottom line is: India is not a perfect country with perfect laws. But none of the countries in the world are. We are better off than 95% of the countries though. We are much more free here.

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  5. i like this blog very much and i feels like it is very informative too

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  6. What you want to say is OK.
    However, examples taken are childish. A government employee is not the government.
    Elementary thing, but some people forget.

    -chirkut

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  7. @Kumar Narsimha

    There is a reason why freedom of speech is called a FUNDAMENTAL right.
    There should not be IF's,BUT's,or conditional clauses to exercise them.

    You say that a citizen should not be given the right to express his views because,a section of society does not want to hear them or feels offended with it.But,'I'and people like me would feel offended if we are NOT given the chance to speak up.

    So,who in here is right and who is wrong?????

    AND who should decide???

    Let me give you an example.

    If a student is taught about something in a class but is told NOT to ask any questions about it,how much do you think he will learn from such a system????

    Questioning is the first step towards learning.

    A person who never questions,never learns anything....
    As a teacher I can vouch for that...

    This is my country,I will damn well raise my voice,if I find something wrong with it.
    That is the least one can do.QUESTION....

    Our politicians have time and again proved that the system is flawed.
    If you take the power to question their actions,away from the common man,you are providing all of them easy and unquestioning access to fool you.

    YOU SAY SEDITION,I SAY COWARDICE.

    YOU HAVE YOUR OPINIONS AND I HAVE MINE....

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  8. @@Lavanya
    <<INDIA,THE NEW ABUSER OF DEMOCRACY.....There,I said it.Wonder,if I am going to be in trouble for this.


    Lavanya if you have some Itching to get arrested you would have to do better, I would suggest to login a Radical Islamic Forum and Threaten to blow up some prominent landmark or email a threat to a President or Primeminister or Share some Child pornography. Then I can guarantee your Incarceration.

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  9. I would support ANY law that would arrest and keep Arundhati Roy behind bars for life. Sedition should be punished. She is not fit to be a part of civilized society. Those who don't like what India stands for, they can follow MFHussain or go to a far better and more hospitable neighbouring country. I am sure they will treat them as guests for life and take care of them well.

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  10. Freedom to speak is a right AND responsibility. Those who just look at it as a right cause more problems and harm to society than criminals, because they pose as intellectuals. Indian laws are pretty lame in dealing with sedition. The APHC leaders, Roy and their ilk should be kept behind bars without bail and if they do not change their views, they should be air dropped in AfPak region.

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  11. "There is a reason why freedom of speech is called a FUNDAMENTAL right.
    There should not be IF's,BUT's,or conditional clauses to exercise them."

    Arm chair liberals try to show off their absolute stand without understanding what they are saying.

    OK. You say there should not be any ifs/ buts on freedom of speech.

    I want to organize a mass rally where I want to lecture people that every muslim girl should be raped or we should kill all the christians in this country or scheduled castes should be castrated.

    Come and support my freedom if you can.

    -chirkut

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  12. @Anonymous 1 & 2,

    I said,that the Indian government is acting insecure by arresting her,when the government itself has agreed that Kashmir was not a part of India at a U.N summit.
    When the government has taken such a stand at an international podium,how can they arrest her for saying as much...

    Sedition laws are fast becoming Hindu scapegoats.
    Anyone who dares say anything against the set up MUST be sent away to AfPak borders....

    Show me one sedition that happened to a Hindu who has done or said anything against Islam,Christianity or any other religion in India.....

    Don't tell me you do not remember the deaths of a Christian Bishop in another state.
    The Babris and the Godhras,1984 Sikh riots...

    Why does it not bother us if the victims are not from the Majority????Are THEY not Indians????

    If we are not a democracy,we should stop pretending about being one....

    @chirkut,
    "I want to organize a mass rally where I want to lecture people that every muslim girl should be raped or we should kill all the christians in this country or scheduled castes should be castrated.

    Come and support my freedom if you can."

    There sure is a hell of a difference between the U.N and your secret society,brother....

    If our government makes a statement at a U.N meeting and retracts in actions,then as citizens we have a right to question its integrity in solving a sensitive problem like Kashmir.
    Procrastinating the decision would only lead to more problems instead of solving the existing ones.

    No citizen should be afraid of asking questions,no matter how embarrassing or inconvenient it is for the government to answer????

    It is like punishing someone who tells everybody that you are an idiot,when you have agreed to being an idiot in front of the court....
    Don't call on sedition laws when you have no answers.....

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  13. Right post on right time. excellent job Sir..

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  14. @Kumar Narasimha

    Your logic completely illogical and not in context...
    vikram buddi threatened US prez that he would kill him...
    How the heck are you comparing him to Arundati Roy? You are one of those 'internet flippers' who argue against any article you don't like without proper research...go and do a proper research and come here..

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  15. @Krishna,

    As people of the Telangana region,when we come to know about all the different ways in which we have been "officially" exploited, our blood boils.
    As an educated generation we know of the indecent ways our requests or pleas have been treated,and underplayed.We will fight for our rights using all means we can muster,trying all possible ways to get what is ours and will not give up or settle for anything less.

    But,if someone from another state or country understands our problem and sympathises with us,the government should/can not arrest them and hold them responsible for breaking laws of the country,since Telangana is still not a state.(yet)and supporting it would be considered as illegal

    Kashmiris have been protesting and screaming their lungs out about their problems at all possible regional,national and international forums.
    If an Arundhati Roy speaks in favour of her fellow countrymen and the issues that are bothering them,she is arrested.

    Why?????????????

    Like the post says in here."You cannot arrest me,if you hate me".

    But,if the protector turns abuser,and brutal force is used to drive your point home,then I would speak up for the wronged person,no matter who they are....

    Let me put it this way,
    If you have admitted yourself into a hospital for a tooth ache,and the surgeon removed your kidney instead.
    You complain to the management about the surgeon.The management ignores your complaint and a counter argument is thrown at you,that you have admitted yourself wilfully into the hospital.So,they cannot help you in the matter....

    If a fellow patient sympathises with you and offers some kind words,should the hospital throw him into an operation room and remove his kidney as well?????

    Can they do that????

    What would you call it????

    I will further my argument based on your reply.....

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  16. @KumaraNarsimha,

    "We should allow all kinds of perspectives in the market place of ideas, and may the best idea/s win."

    Who should decide which idea is the best????
    On what basis should an idea be judged?????
    What could be seen as a good idea by you may be seen as a wrong one by me.

    How do you reach on a consensus then???

    "However, this is just one aspect of India being a democracy- there are rights but the exercise of the rights has some limitations, and the discretionary power about those limitations exist with the Govt, though it can be challenged in the court successfully."

    I don't remember India being partially democratic.Care to explain????
    Either you are democratic or you are not.

    Either you are an apple or not.

    Selling oranges in an apple crate will not turn them into apples.

    The government is using discretionary powers only when it suits them.
    It soft gloves all the hate speeches made by the Modis,the V.H.P leaders that cause so much unrest.But,a nobody like an Arundhati Roy makes a speech and all their might is shown in full force to exercise their discretionary power.

    "And if Arundhati, Sujai or any one else makes such statements in China or Saudi Arabia, they would have been in a jail or dead by now."

    My entire argument is summed up on this very statement.WE ARE NOT IN CHINA,SO,WHY SHOULD WE FOLLOW CHINESE RULES?????

    INDIA IS A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY,NOT A COMMUNIST ONE.

    Communist countries are not above problems.They have their own set of problems to deal with.

    Thinking that brute force should be applied to solve all our problems is like giving the same medicine to cure all your diseases.

    India has set a wrong precedent by following sedition laws mostly or only against Muslims or pertaining to them.

    The gun silences everyone,by making the most noise.

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  17. @Lavanya

    ###@chirkut,
    "I want to organize a mass rally where I want to lecture people that every muslim girl should be raped or we should kill all the christians in this country or scheduled castes should be castrated.

    Come and support my freedom if you can."###

    $$$There sure is a hell of a difference between the U.N and your secret society,brother....$$$

    Oh, shut up. I was not replying to you nor did I mention UN. I was replying to some ANON dude who thinks that freedom of speech should be without ifs and buts.

    If you want to respond to me please first read what is being argued. Don't just jump like an idiot without a clue.

    -chirkut.

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  18. You openly preach throwing stones at policemen and Govt property.You openly advocate destruction of property.You should be booked too.

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  19. @@Anonymus

    From the security point of view that is a good idea, you can Improve law and order By arresting Protestors, suspending basic human rights like right to free public assembly using section 144, May be thats the reason Dictatorships like China and North Korea have a very good law and order Situation.

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  20. I dont believe that government should have "monopoly" over legitimate use of violence, People have the right too.

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  21. @lavanya

    "There is a reason why freedom of speech is called a FUNDAMENTAL right.
    There should not be IF's,BUT's,or conditional clauses to exercise them."

    if i go to a fully packed theatre and shout a fake bomb alert and the ensuing stampede kills a few people, should i be prosecuted or not???

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  22. @True story,

    "if i go to a fully packed theatre and shout a fake bomb alert and the ensuing stampede kills a few people, should i be prosecuted or not???"

    There is a lot of difference between exercising your rights for legitimate demands and screaming in a theatre...

    If you belong to the"support India no matter what"group who think that India or it's people can never do anything wrong,let's end this right here.

    It is improper understanding of the most important issues of our life that has made Indian democracy a comedy of errors.

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  23. @lavanya

    i know there is lot of difference between constructive criticism and screaming in a theatre.

    i was questioning the validity of your statement: "...There should not be IF's,BUT's,or conditional clauses to exercise them"

    here you are contradicting yourself.
    either stick to your above statement or agree that freedom of speech must have conditional clauses (ifs and buts) like in shouting 'bomb' in the theatre.. and hence it is not absolute.

    be consistent with your arguments.

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  24. @True story,

    "either stick to your above statement or agree that freedom of speech must have conditional clauses (ifs and buts) like in shouting 'bomb' in the theatre.. and hence it is not absolute."

    This is one of the vain arguments that I've come across.

    The government cannot take away fundamental rights of a citizen,when it suits them.

    If one has to go to a court to exercise FUNDAMENTAL rights,then it is NOT a democracy.

    Arundhati Roy said that India agreed that Kashmir was not a part of it,at a UNITED NATIONS conference.She was arrested for saying that much.You cannot arrest someone for exercising their right to expression and speech to suit yourself.

    She did not cause any harm to any individual.So,the governments hasty decision speaks for itself.

    Why doesn't the government arrest politicians like Modi or T.G.Venkatesh for their hate speeches????

    If you have time to spend,I suggest you listen or read the speeches made by the above and decide for yourself...

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  25. @lavanya

    the responses you are posting is not addressing the point i have made against your "no conditional clauses" argument.

    i am not arguing against roy's right to criticize the nation without being subject to prosecution.. i totally support her right although i dont agree with most of her views.

    but, my point is solely based on whether absolute freedom of speech is a plausible thing or not.

    do u retract your statement that there shouldn't be any conditional clauses for free speech or not???
    if u dont then you are also agreeing that there could not be any legal course on the person shouting fake fire/bomb alert.

    again dont go like "there is difference between shouting bomb and rational criticisms". i know that.

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  26. i also wish for an answer from Sujai on the above issue.

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  27. Sedition is an outdated and anti- democratic concept, which got carried over from our feudal past. There is no need to cling on to such out dated concepts. This is the right time to call for revoking such laws.

    Another such law that need to be revoked is the one that makes hurting religious sentiments a crime. This is another anti- democratic law that supports and propagates intolerance. We should be fighting for the right to hurt religious sentiments. Only the intolerant will get hurt by discourse, and it is the intolerant that should be dealt with, and not the person partaking in discourse.

    Indian laws and those of other nations were framed during the transition from feudalism to democracy and as such have major influencing factors of the feudal practices and norms. It is long due for a re-look.

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  28. @Truestory,

    "the responses you are posting is not addressing the point i have made against your "no conditional clauses" argument."

    I have always been clear about my stand on Freedom of expression and speech.If you did not understand it for whatever reason,let me make it clear once again.

    Freedom of speech and expression when exercised for LEGITIMATE causes/reasons RECOGNISED by the constitution of the country must NOT be conditional.

    A citizen must/can not be harassed,hounded or embarrassed in the name of hurting the sentiments of a group of people,unless the said HURT is violent in nature.


    "but, my point is solely based on whether absolute freedom of speech is a plausible thing or not."

    No law can be absolute.It is the citizens of the country who need to enjoy them responsibly.

    I have already given enough examples how people can abuse them in my previous comments about it.

    "if u dont then you are also agreeing that there could not be any legal course on the person shouting fake fire/bomb alert."

    If the fake bomb alert has caused a stampede PHYSICALLY injuring people,then yes.

    Now,I don't see how paintings and books could lead to physical violence on their own....

    So,your comparison is not valid here.


    "do u retract your statement that there shouldn't be any conditional clauses for free speech or not??? "

    No.Any fundamental right exercised for legitimate demands should not be made conditional.

    Unfortunately some people do not understand the concept of a legitimate demand,and think that anything that a large group of people FEEL is correct HAS TO BE correct.


    Inspite of being in the majority I feel responsible and offended when some minorities are forced to follow laws concerning or pertaining to majorities and their sentiments.

    I hope this was clear enough....

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