From the eyes of a 22-year old, I can see some unsettling instances that ask for greater enquiry, but only to have the door slammed on them, again and again. Our Constitution, a book I consider to be among the most sacred books on the planet, owing to my interest in law, justice, politics and philosophy – does give us the right to life and liberty.
The Constitution accepts and offers us our right to freedom of speech, in Article 19. However as with much in our Constitution, a few volatile instances is really all it takes to subvert a right, and so did Jawaharlal Nehru choose to pass the First Amendment to curtail speech rights by way of Article 19(2), after some vicious noises for war with Pakistan.
We are told these are ‘reasonable restrictions’, funny as it may be it is the only instance in the whole book wherein the law explicitly states that this is ‘reasonable’. Perhaps the rest were self-evident but we needed a bit of convincing for this one.
We are to find peace in our hearts if we do what we ought to do, follow the deepest truths and the voice in our heart, and find our dreams and destiny that will bring us bliss. But we can only ever do this if we have the freedom to do so, which is, the freedom to do whatever we wish with our own body, and all that we own.
The vocal chords are a property of a person, and so long as we speak in an acceptable decibel of volume, it must be perfectly acceptable to say anything at all. This is a God-given right, endowed to all by our maker, and one that no other man has the right to step upon.
Furthermore, saying what may be deemed offensive, doesn’t guarantee offense. It is always for the listener to know what is being said, and why and how they are to feel about it. Sure, there may be times when one experiences pain, anxiety and agony upon the very uttering or the reading of some content. We are to know that even here, it is possible to not be offended and accept that such emotions are just how the body reacts and that we are doing exactly what we must.
And there may well be a time, and a place, when no words at all can cause pain or agony and that we know and do exactly what we know we should at that time.
We must seek to gain our right to speak our minds without fear of violence and imprisonment and seek to abolish Article 19(2) of the Constitution which imposes so-called ‘reasonable restrictions’ upon our freedom of speech. It is worth mentioning here, though just as a side-note, that the only nation in the world that does guard this God-given right of all, is the United States, which did so when they drafted their Constitution in 1776.
Absolute freedom of speech to express an opinion is the only reasonable demand.