“Justice From The Devil?” Why Aseem Trivedi Is Wrong In Asking For Freedom Of Speech In Land Of Hooliganism

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By Tanaya Singh:

The arrest of cartoonist, Aseem Trivedi, on sedition charges says just one thing. “In India, you can rob or rape, go and party after that, sleep peacefully and go back to work the next day. But if you work honestly the whole day, come back from work, sit before your computer screen and share your opinion about a few (all) wrong things going on in the country, you might end up in jail, the same night.” That’s India, democratic, free, and independent.

Arrested on the charges of portraying “ugly and obscene content” content, Trivedi has been sent to judicial custody till 16th September. Earlier, his website was banned when he had displayed his cartoons at the Anna Hazare, “India Against Corruption” rally. He now puts up his work on his blog.

Cartoons against corruption” is what his page is called. Which part of the word cartoon was difficult to be understood by the law makers and the “protectors” of law is unfathomable. Unlike the general notion behind political cartoons, that they should be “light”, Trivedi’s illustrations are sometimes “dark” and full of rage, but they are not meant to “incite people to violence against the Government… or with the intention of creating public disorder.” They speak the truth as seen by the cartoonist, just like the fury in an article written against the wrong that is happening in India, or maybe an artist’s depiction of his/her view of the country. Nothing other than that.

Now from where did the sedition law come in between? Maybe, just because you need to name a law before you arrest someone or maybe, it makes the government look serious about the laws of the country. Whatever the case maybe, this is only a depiction of failed democracy.

The person, who launched the complaint against Trivedi, is a 27-year-old activist, who according to him, was unable to tolerate an “insult to the constitution” and thus was angered by such a display. An image of Ajmal Kasab, in the form of a dog, peeing on the Indian constitution, filled people with angst and made them feel rebellious. Where was this rebel, when each and every aspect of the very same constitution was being or I must say, “is” being completely abolished, by everyone, right from the common man to the people sitting (read fighting) in the parliament?

What about the words in the Preamble of “our” constitution? Modifying the law to arrest someone is “Justice”? Banning something for the thoughts depicted is “Liberty”? Making the citizens of North East India, feel like foreigners in their own land is“Equality”. Showing brotherhood and unity while raping a girl is “Fraternity”? Where were the protectors of the spirit of “great India, great Indian constitution” when these things were happening? The integrity of the nation is maintained when the government sinks shoulder-deep into the filth of scams, but when a citizen tries to depict the emotion against all the wrong happening around him, it becomes a scar on integrity. When angry speeches motivate a crowd to turn into a violent mob leading to bloodshed, it’s just “another” incident that happened, but when a person makes cartoons to show his feelings against corruption, it becomes something that can incite people against the government.

His cartoons are being shared by people on facebook, twitter and via social media. Does this mean that everybody who shares his cartoons or likes them, must be arrested for sedition? The irony is that, a cartoon has already been made by Aseem Trivedi on the present scenario, where he shows the condition of India in 2050, when cartoonists will be hanged under such charges.

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