Blog Action Day: #RaiseYourVoice
“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.”
― Oscar Wilde
We are living in an era where freedom to express, articulate and write cannot be censored with social media being a huge platform which makes it almost an impossible task to muzzle voices. You know the irony! There are arm twisting and violent methods to crush the voice of dissent by attempt to censor blog posts or Facebook status by invoking draconian laws. Naturally, it can work to a certain extent but beyond that, there is no way that words can be crushed with the sheer power of digital media. Ignore the power at your own risk!
In the start of the year, we have seen how terror organisation mounted an attack against Charlie Hebdo-we may disagree on the issue of hurting religious sentiment and I am someone who respect all religious beliefs-Bangladeshi Bloggers hacked to death and at home, we are witnessing violence where rationalists such as M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare were ruthlessly killed.
India is considered to be the biggest democracy in the world where rights of people are upheld and it led to the growth of intellectuals, challenging the status quo which paved the way for cultural richness. It’s horrendous to see the climate of intolerance in the country where right wing extremists have mounted pressure on eminent poet such Perumal Murugan, a social critic, to stop writing. It’s dangerous to the democracy and doesn’t augur well when we see that the country is hijacked by a minority hell bent to impose their racist agenda and kill in the name of religion. It’s terrorism. Let’s call a spade, a spade. No country can afford to breed terror whether it’s Hindu or Muslim terrorists. The killing of a Muslim laborer in his home town, UP, because it’s alleged that he kept beef in his house when it turned out to be mutton is revolting. We are living in dangerous times where there is a need for us to raise our voice against such increasing intolerance, be it against a book launch, banning beef or preventing a group of singers to perform. The irony is that it’s a small minority calling the shots and we know that India is a land where the majority believe in freedom. We have no right to make a false perception the holy grain.
It calls for drastic action against such heinous violence in the name of religion to further political and religious agenda. The radicals are targeting reformers who are unafraid to bring a change in society for social, political and gender equality. It’s high time for intellectuals to come together and raise their voice against violence perpetrated by Hindu right wing groups. No country can tolerate such violence and pretend that (Ache Din) better days are here, where voices are crumpled. The power of the pen is mightier than the sword. Our freedom of expression is at stake when we look how generations before us fought for our rights to dissent to be not only respected but given prominence. This is true hallmark of a vibrant democracy. Let’s not pretend everything is honky dory and speak about digital media, cleanliness and economic growth where the free right to speak and write is being trampled.
Eminent writers are looked upon in society to bring revolutionary change to restore our assets-freedom and our voice, loud and clear, is considered to be a resource that cannot be quantified in money terms. The pool of knowledge that we take pride in boasting about cannot be taken for granted and it’s a sin to sit like passive spectators, pretending that everything is fine. Writers and recipients of the Sahitya Akademi Awards-the highest literary awards-are right in returning the honor bestowed upon them. It’s significant that writers are taking charge to protest the assault against freedom. Naysayers may hit at what they call hypocrisy but I want to refresh their mind that freedom are being threatened and it’s not the first time that awards are being given back. The national treasure, Shri Rabindranath Tagore returned his Knighthood in protest against the massacre of Jalianwalla Bagh. I think it holds significance where rights and freedom is being violated and it’s an alarming situation that should concern everyone. One cannot remain a mute spectator to violence and shedding of blood on such a scale. Like respected author Salman Rushdie said, we live in alarming times where thugs are wrecking havoc in their attempt to assault freedom of expression.
As a blogger and writer, it is within my right to speak about any issue and truth should be told in any form. I might be at risk since bigots may attempt to crush my pen but the freedom to speak is something that I regard as fundamental. It’s written in the constitution. It is my freedom to criticize your religion, dissent against the status quo or political ideologies. I have the right to offend. But, at the same time, you have every right to defend your stand and criticize my writing but you should be denied to kill or crush my freedom as an individual cum free thinker. You have no right to murder me.
It’s high time that the Indian Government take a firm stand against the killing of innocent people or crushing to death writers. We live in dangerous times and what is happening right now cannot be condoned by a sane individual. We demand actions against the crushing of civil liberties and freedom. The madness must be put to an end. Let’s rise together to restore our freedom as human beings.
Today, I join Blog Action Day: Raise Your Voice to protest against censorship, threat, violence and gruesome killing of men and women where voices are being under attack. Every global citizen has the inherent right to practice its religious faith, free to speak against inhuman act or discrimination and be the change in society.