Recent months have seen increase in freedom of expression and freedom of suppression from one side !! Many of you by now should have known the timeline of events concerning Kapil Sibal`s efforts to censor internet and High courts pathetic display of ignorance and arrogance towards Social media sites and Constitution as a whole!
Internet, unlike anything in the past, is a spectrum of ideas and it can’t be defined with particular ideology. One is quick to compare it with news medias, books etc. Internet can be anything depending on what you want to see it as. It can be from online gaming portal , place to gather information , a bank (don’t remember when I last visited my bank in person) , a place to meet friends , discuss and solve issues , to meet your loved ones who are on other side of the planet , a stage to spill all the dirty beans (scams , scandals ) and much more.
So putting a blanket term for internet is plain stupidity. Internet has been very effective in one thing , spread of information. For a person from rural area , if there was no internet , it would take ages to find even the simplest information. Today I can not only find the information I want , but also relevant , agnostic information pertaining to it. For eg , difference between Jan Lokpal and Govt`s Lokpal. It has also made world news and world events more reachable. Previously we used to depend on 5 minutes “World news” section in local news channel, which won’t even give enough emphasis on the issue. Or one page allocated in newspapers for world news. And world news coverage usually was given to entertaining news, rather than pressing issues. Today I can track any event happening in the world with minute to minute update, in-depth details, and varying thoughts about it. Internet in the hands of the rural villagers is a boon which no government or education system can achieve, bringing entire knowledge of this universe upon few click of a button.
Image Credit : Hindu
So why censor such technology?
The very reason it unloads entire information on your screen, is the very reason our rulers are afraid of. A single tweet is all that is enough today to bring out a major issue to the public domain. Previously it has to pass through various mediums, like reporters, editors etc. And already with many news agency in the hands of powerful and rich , the effectiveness of such major incident could be down played , or totally suppressed ( Occupy wall street , SOPA , Paid news , allocation of homes by indian govt to reporters , etc etc..). And for the rulers it was easy to handle countable number of media outlets . But with the increasing number of users online and the anonymity it offers, anyone can be whistle blower! And it becomes even more difficult when the content one posts , could not be taken down by the rulers , since it is no longer within their reach. Google transparent report is all one needs to look at if one wants to know the real motive behind the recent censoring crusade carried out by our rulers!
Obviously our rulers cant parade on the media stating, many are posting critical stuff of us on internet and we want it removed , which will eventually lead to more coverage of such posts. That is where religion comes in.
Religion on the other hand is a spectrum of stupidity and irrational ideology. When we have plenty of religion and particularly in india , anything and everything , one way or the other , in one religion or the other can be taken as offending , sinful and outright objectionable.
It is also very easy to draw the lines of “It offends me” ,where one sees fit , mainly because it is their personal “Wall of rationality” , smaller it is , more offending anything can be for them.
Religion as such in my opinion is evolving too. Many of the practices in many of the religion are now considered “Too medieval” . It is the hard-core fundamentalist who want these condemned practices to be upheld ,even if needs sacrifice of Freedom of speech , expression. What they forget is this very freedom that enables them to carry out such speech , moral policing , upon others is possible because other secular citizens have allowed them to do so. This very fact is always forgotten.
Minister Sibal has knowingly or unknowingly have unleashed the war for rationality. The core issue will now have to be scrutinized , ie the religion itself ! Will the courts take the words of medieval books to uphold ones faith , at the same time suppressing the freedom of expression and speech ?
How far are we going to sacrifice freedom of expression and speech to soothe the fundamentalist ?
Today few photoshopped picture offend the fundies , tomorrow it will the atheist who will be in spotlight for speaking against religion . By saying that “God doesn’t Exist” , even today in some rural places and hard core fundies , can and will elicit a undesirable response. Actually in recent news , one person posting the same on facebook have resulted in 5 years of jail in Indonesia, Even though we are from it , but we might well be laying the foundation for it today. For them , what they know is the sanctity and sacred field . Anything against it or opposing it cant be tolerated that easily. Mainly because, search to seek the truth is almost died in them. If you have been a frequent viewer of “Neeya Nana” program in Vijay TV (Tamil Channel) , you will come across such deep rooted , undeviating ideologist and practisers on the show. However well you tell them its not true or doesn’t work ,it will not have any effect , mainly because , their mind is so tuned and fixed to the thought , it doesnt works. Call it a placebo effect or repeated exposure to false information and false stimulus to attain a fixed response and thought towards the stimuli.
It so happened with my grandma , when I told her that Sai Baba`s ash formation is a trick , she didn’t believe me , but when I showed her the video , she was first taken aback , then later resorted to “ But he does good , who cares if it’s a trick or not “. I don’t blame her , its years and years of BELIEF , which cant be changed overnight.
Even though I don’t totally support the morphing stuff , because to oppose to these medieval practices doesn’t necessarily need extreme content . At the same time , as one quote says , which I love too
“Even though I disagree with what you say , but I will fight till the end for the right for you to say it “
If religion has any effect on these true believers, then its time they show it with love and affection. They should even have the courage to say that “ Those photoshopped materials have ZERO effect on what we believe” , ie , in my opinion is the honest and truthful faith. Nay speakers will continue to spill venom , and they cant be stopped on a medium such as internet.
What might be small victory , if the websites in question are blocked , will be the starting point of moral policing in large scale supported by politicians for vote bank !