“ARREST ME, For Writing This Abhorrent Article”: Questioning Democracy

Posted on September 11, 2012 in Society

By Mahitha Kasireddi:

“M.F. Husain, Salman Rushdie, Ambikesh Mahapatra, Harish Yadav and now Aseem Trivedi”. 

As a writer I vehemently condemn the arrest of the courageous award winning cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who refused the bail and preferred to stay behind the bars. His decision is a straight slap on the system- the politicians, the complainants and the police. It’s like anybody files an FIR on anybody and the police of our country are so ignorant that they easily entertain illegal complaints and arrests. There is something I need to tell to all the people involved in the nexus.

To the Complainant:

Mr. Katarnaware, my compatriot and fellow young citizen; as a law student you may be having a complex and rather intellectual perception about the symbols of constitution. But to be a good lawyer you have to be good at both speaking and listening. May be you should open up yourself to radical ideas and learn to respect other’s opinions. As you are a protagonist of the constitution you should not forget that this is a democracy. Please read your law books keenly and acquaint yourself such that it helps you to draw the line between disagreeing with the principles of an institution and “sedition”.

To the Political class:

It is an insult in itself to the collective noun that describes you. How do you even call yourselves representatives of public opinion when you cannot digest a variety of opinion? The very essence of democracy is assassinated once you try to suppress voice of the common man and you talk about preserving the respect of the constitution.

Just as Justice Markandey Katju had addressed the issue “the allegation is true, in which case you deserve it, or it is false in which you ignore it. This case of behaviour is not acceptable in a democracy

So, introspect on what kind of impression the arrest of Trivedi is going to leave in our minds. You should learn to accept criticism. By arresting people who criticize, you are further polluting the democratic values. Using a privilege and fundamental right cannot be judged as whether it is used in a constructive or destructive way , ethical or unethical way, criminal or law abiding way. That takes to redefine the whole 65 year old democracy.

May be you have other important issues to eradicate in the society and contribute to better living conditions. Hate speeches can be condemned if it triggers chaos in the religious integrity and security of the nation. But, Aseem Trivedi had voiced the views of his fellow countrymen. Will you arrest the entire nation? Will you now rule over the thoughts of a billion people?

To the POLICE:

I have a relatively weak vocabulary to write about you. Less of public service and more of buckling down at the mercy of the bureaucrats. Though you were aware that the complaints were on illegal grounds you went to sincerely execute the arrest after taking a good nine months to track his residence. Well done, keep it up! I wish you were equally vigilant and accurate when a woman calls for help.

To my Compatriots:

Criticize, criticize, and criticize!! Speak up, condemn, disagree, express your dissatisfaction, let there be a revolution, blame, make them guilty, celebrate democracy, endorse the freedom of expression, acknowledge your rights, like I am doing through this write up.