Blogging, freedom of speech, et al

What seemed to be just another issue relating to the so called ‘freedom of speech’ that every Indian has been granted – courtesy Article 19 which speaks of the protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech among other things, now has blow into a full fledged news item considered worthy of being put up on C-Net.

Wow, didn’t quite realise that blogging in India has come this far and could have such far reaching consequences. This is reflective of how mature a society that India has become and how socially aware and relevant this generation of Indians have become.

It is quite rare to see Indians embrace technology with such open arms, and in this case, actually use it to put forth their views and opinions so strongly. Now what remains to be seen is whether our legal system, other forms of media, and the regulatory authorities would intervene and try and regulate this issue. They could trivialise the entire issue and dismiss it as a fad, or actually use this as an opportunity to bring in some progressive changes in the system as it is.

In my opinion, this issue could be used as an opportunity to usher in some changes in certain archaic concepts such as ‘freedom of speech’ as it is currently envisioned. People, mediapersons, and everyday individuals are using this particular tenet of the constitution to meet their own personal, selfish ends. What these people conveniently forget is the fact that the same constitution which gives these people the freedom to speak, also lays down fundamental duties of every citizen of India.

Funnily enough, Article 51A which lays down these duties is an abstract piece of literature which goes something like this –

It shall be the duty of every citizen of India –
(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.

All of the above seem absolutely abstract in nature and can lead to multiple levels of interpretation. Hmm, the lawmakers of our country need to give some serious thought to simplifying our constitution a bit more.


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