Friday, February 6, 2015

Freedom of Expression

What is the "Freedom of Expression" ruckus all about? Does it mean to talk ill about individuals? Does it mean make fun of everyone's beliefs? What is humour? Does humour have categories? What is satire? Why are we all taking up for AIB and not for Shireen Dalvi, the only woman editor of an Urdu daily? Artist M.F. Hussain painted Hindu Gods and Goddesses as nude figures and made cartoons of all our national leaders and national emblem. That was art, right? That is Freedom of Expression in India. If you ever get offended by anyone's humour , you are Right wing. I thought wing was a part of a theatre, where performers had to wait before going on stage. Its only now everything 'not okay' and 'not liberal enough' is termed as 'Right wing'. Leela Samson removing all Ganesha idols from Kalakshetra is artistic but any removal of a Cross or a Majar from the road side by the city corporation is seen as Right Wing.
I read film reviews which actually say both the Right and Left wing audience will appreciate this.The Media is constantly hounding us with the Right and the Left wing conversation. To be an educated broad minded elite, criticising all things Indian, has become a pre requisite. And they have the halo around their heads that they are doing it for the higher good.  I would say go with facts. But the Media is constantly distorting them. AIB's humour had gross sexual content. Yes there was foul language and foul actions. They did say it was for consenting adults. Gosh, even the words 'Consenting adults' have sexual connotation for me. The clean jokes AIB cracked were in the newspapers long back. So it was the gross content which was left for adult viewing. They never said you can view this with your parents or children. They just wanted to send a social message to Indians to loosen up and have humour like the Westerners. What people don't realise is our mental makeup, our heritage is very different from any other place in the world. We do not have the 'stiff upper lip', at the same time there is a lot of respect given to parents or senior members of the society. I definitely do not want my children viewing content like this. There is so much good we can pick up from the West. 
We human beings like to categorise ourselves all the time. I want to say I am  different from you and better than you. At the same time, I have this urge to be accepted by the masses. I move from one tide to another. If I criticise a film, I am not broad minded. If I don't like something , then I have no appreciation of the free art forms. If I proclaim my vegetarianism, I am being a narrow minded Gujju. Because eating Non vegetarian food is cool and more acceptable. If my children are vegetarian, people have an issue with it. It simply means I am a dominating mother and dominating wife. Indians who have hardly explored their own country , are busy praising all foreign locales as they negate their  own tourist places. My need to take up for my Country in front of my fellow Indians, is viewed as funny or fanatic by them.  I would be very upset if my child or spouse or parent were constantly criticising their own selves. It would be a sure way of self destruction. 
Two trees in my area are concretised around as a florist and a barber set up shop. I told the barber that this tree has been your 'Roji Roti' why don't you let some water go in. The tree might die in a year with all the concrete. He said he pours  a bottle of water after the hair cuts and the shave, he does during the day. He said the tree branches are dry. I made a request to him to remove some concrete at least . A young man was listening to my pleas and he said " Ek ped ke marne se kya hoga? Hum toh khaana bhi chemical waala khaatey hai". ( What happens if one tree dies? Our food is full of chemicals.) I was so angry with him. Here I was talking and pleading with the barber who was not convinced. Then this man who is just a bystander gives his own view. It was like he was throwing water on all my requests. I was sizzling with anger as I told him "Every tree matters". Somebody not going along with my view was so upsetting. Not that this man was uneducated. But Like I always feel,  When has education made someone broad minded, aware or sensitive?  
I am unable to categorise my thoughts and put it in under various topics. Everything gets so interlinked and entwined. Thoughts in chapters is something I am not striving for...yet.

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