Atanu Dey On India's Development

Still Laboring in Serfdom

Only humans are capable of free speech, and those who value free speech have freedom. The rest are slaves. They may be slaves to a religious authority or a political authority, but slaves none the less. The whoremasters who try to take away the right to free speech under the pretext that it may be offensive to some are the worst enemies of human dignity and freedom.

For centuries, the people of India have endured foreign rule. The lack of freedom — especially that of free speech — has fundamentally altered the character of the average Indian leader. Out of sheer disuse, he (or she) has forgotten how essential a freedom it is. Cowering before authority has become part of their nature. Sometimes they stoop lower than they have been ordered to. Some in India wish to be more Catholic than the Pope, even though the Pope does not directly rule India, and wish to be more Roman than the Italians.

Banning books and movies is a hoary tradition in India when it comes to the sentiments of the so-called “religious minorities.” Dhimmitude apparently is a part of the DNA of some Indians.

The main stream media will probably not have the guts to tell it to the leaders like it should. We, the average citizens, have to speak up and express our disgust at the craven surrender of our freedom that is at the core of being a free human.

Back in 1995, the US congress had attempted cybercensorship by inserting language in a telecommunications reform bill which would ban “indecent speech” which is “harmful to minors.” One cyber newspaper, the American Reporter, took the principled stance that it would challenge the bill because it violated the First Amendment to the US Constitution. The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were not slaves and gave themselves the freedom that free people enjoy. The attempt to erode that freedom drew vigorous response from free people. I especially like the way the American Reporter editorial said it in an Indecent Comment on an Indecent Subject. I think Americans are a free people because they are willing to fight for their freedom.

We, on the other hand, are only too eager to roll over. They will ban the movie The Da Vinci Code. The road out of serfdom is an uphill road too difficult for the shackled to traverse.

[See previous related post "Fragments--13." The Acorn writes about the topic and warns of the dangers of competitive intolerance.]

  • http://broadbandblog.in Abhishek

    Hmm. Atanu, I beg to differ here. Christians are just 2% of the population, but don’t their “religious sentiments” hold any importance? Specially when the “nun incarnate” madam ji would be so upset about the whole thing?

    Media has it’s role, Atanu. It wouldn’t question because it is paid NOT to question.

    Dhimmitude? No Atanu. That’s just being “Indian”. We are “Indians” and “like that only”.

    As for the “freedom of speech”, the next barrier for them to surmount would be Internet. People like me would go out, hit the torrents and make sure that the word spreads around.

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    I couldn’t believe this when I saw this on one of the 24-hr news channels here in the US. I don’t get it, It can’t be the libel laws, it’s fiction, is it just blatant censorship?

    I hope whatever ruling/vote is overturned.

    Let me know if you need it, especially over the internet :) , but you’ve probably read the book… it’s barely worth a read. All the fun is in watching catholics scream blasphemy. (Note to self: Catholic bashing is not a contact sport)

    The last couple of times the church has tried to ban a book or a movie, the readership and the viewership actually increased, like with the da vinci book, so they’re barely trying this time.

  • Sahil

    Duh comment: the average populace needs to be educated. Your general reasoning is sound, but this type of thought will not miraculously manifest itself. It is all fine and well in theory but until the regular folk who vote these leaders into power are exposed to different perspectives, even a corruption-free election (let’s dream for a moment) is likely to deliver the same morons to every echelon of government.

  • IndianCatholic

    This post is ridiculous…the American founding fathers were actually fiercely Christian and very religious..America was conceived as a nation under God..
    Also..the so called freedom you describe established by the founding fathers allowed slavery for a hundred years more and denied civil rights to African Americans upto the 60s..

    Yes minorities are sensitive in India, especially Christians beacuse their institutions have been under relentless attack from right wing Hindu parties and their ideologues like you..they have tried protesting in a civilized way..but that does not work in India..and Christian groups have not resorted to any violence unlike any Hindu groups like the BJP/RSS/Shiv Sena who are known to burn theatres etc..

    Freedom of speech under Indian law is not absolute like in America and in fact has a provision that allows bans if it hurts religous sentiments..that is the law of the land..Americans have prospered because they follow the law..you ought to learn from that and accept that the protests are within Indian laws..

    Atanu’s response: Not surprisingly IndianCatholic thinks that the founding fathers of the US of A were Christians. They were most emphatically not and they did not found a “Christian nation.” Get yourself an education, IndianCatholic, and until you do so, keep your hands off the keyboard to avoid advertizing your ignorance. (There are thousands of sites which will help you learn. Do a google. Or just follow this link to get a clue–it is free.)

    Talking of Hindu tolerance–remind yourself that Hindus are the overwhelming majority in India. If they had been truly intolerant, they have had centuries to wipe out the non-Hindus; non-Indian religions would not have survived in India. Those foreign religions would have been toast long ago and you would have been an “idolator” today instead because your ancestors would have continued to be “idolators.” And while you are educating yourself, do learn how vicious and murderous your co-religionists have been throughout history. They have murdered by the millions — even hundreds of millions — with the Bible in the hands. Learn the history of the conquest of the New World. Entire peoples have been entirely wiped out. The Religion of Peace has converted entire nations and wiped out all traces of existing religions. See Afghanistan: Buddhists once upon a time, and now even the status are rubble, leave alone the people.

    Thank your friggin’ lucky stars that Hindus don’t convert and don’t push their religion on other people. Instead of 18 million Christians, India would not have even 18 if Hindus were not tolerant to a fault.

    IndianCatholic, you are one heck of an ignorant person. For god’s sake, get yourself an education. Just in case you did not realise, you have been flamed and it was done because you begged to be flamed.

  • http://ipatrix.com Patrix

    Apparently, the movie has been allowed for release without any cuts albeit with a distasteful (and obvious) disclaimer that the tale is fictional (duh!). If people mistake a movie as the holy gospel (pardon the pun)and beging mass-deconverting from Christianity, then they aren’t real Christians, are they? However, the entire exercise unmindful of the result has set a danderous precedent of threatening violence to make your voice heard. I am saddened that Indian Christians are represented by such dimwits. They certainly deserve better.

  • Navin
  • Spy

    Atanu,
    Your blogs are being copy-pasted into the trashcan of the internet known as Sulekha.com, by one chap Karthik Kannan.
    http://atanudey.sulekha.com/blogs/blogdisplay.aspx?contributor=atanudey

    Just wanted to bring it to your attention.

  • http://akaroundpeg.blogspot.com/ AkaRoundPeg

    Indian Catholic said ” a especially Christians beacuse their institutions have been under relentless attack from right wing Hindu parties ”

    Thats not true at all.

    Ok, so there have been protests against the Catholics that go on large-scale attempts to covert Hindus and actually teach newly converted Christians to berate their orginal Hindu religion.

    Mother Teresa no less used to try and convert people and I personally know of people who volounteered at her hospices only to give up after being persuaded to convert by Mohter teresa and her nuns.

    When the Pope John Paul came to India, he exhorted the Christains in a public rally to go forth and convert.

    All this is in bad taste. The Pope was a guest in a country that is largely Hindu and he should have respected the Hindus and Hindu religion. He was welcomed in India and it did not befit him to call for more conversions. WOuld he have dared to say the same thing in Saudi? Would he have been even allowed in Saudi or Dubai for that matter?

    But relentless persecution of Christian institutions? IndianCatholic you are living in some unreal world.

    And learn to give credit where it is due.

    Hinduism is perhaps the only religion in the world that does not attempt to force its religion down non-Hindu throats.

    Thats why we welcomed the Pope and will probably do it again.

  • http://akaroundpeg.blogspot.com/ AkaRoundPeg

    I said Hinduism in the only religion that does not attempt to force itself down other people’s throats.

    I am wrong.

    Zorastrianism is another religion. Zoraster preached that all religions are equal and conversion implies that one religion is better than the other.So they do not convert and give all religions equal respect. Wow!

  • Jayant N

    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”
    Thomas Jefferson – 3rd President USofA

  • guru

    Relentless attack from Hindus??? talk abt hypocricy, ingratitude and propaganda. can we have examples? opposition to conversion (shouldn’t other religions oppose?) means relentless attacks? are you refering to what happened in Goa? oops wrong reference. or may be the trouble in eastern states where hindus are fighting a secular state? oops wrong facts again. i know as a matter of fact people being converted in return of seats in educational institutions. i can give names. anybody interested? that brings a lot of glory to Him I am sure. where you are only 2 percent and your numbers are growing faster than the rest, that’s a sign that the rest are relentlessly attacking you? Its this kind of treacherous attitude that causes social disharmony. what will make you happy? when all of us convert in return of bicycles? hey that only works on adivasis of thane. I want a merc.

  • Prateek

    Well Atanu, you seem to have a view of democracy which says democracy is rule of people, who people, we the people, who are these we? We who believe what I believe, do what I do, eat wht I eat, sing what I sing.

    You who have a different belief, morality. You who dont like anti-religion banter are not democratic are not secular.

    and someday you will push the democracy pill down there throat.

    Atanu’s response: I am totally unable to figure out what this is all about. I have read the comment several times and it is still very opaque and unintelligible to me. I am allowing it with the hope that someone may decipher it for me. Thank you.

  • Sri Theo

    People, I agree with all of you Hindusim should be rooted in tolerance, understanding and mutual respect, but are you seriously arguing that its ideals have never been corrupted? That idealogues have nevr inspired mob rule in Hindus?

    I don’t thinks so.

    But what I originally came to say was- damn have none of you ever heard of modesty? alright we’re generally nice people but thats no need to feel superior, one would think that defeats the point.