Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution guaranties the citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. But in the last many “acche dins”, under the visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it seems that this right can only be exercised by the few in power or those belonging to a certain favored community.
The sad part here is—that everyone reading this cannot be sure of exactly which case I’m talking about. Is it lynching? Is it the declining GDP rate? Is it regarding fake news? Is it regarding the death of journalism?
It is not as if it’s the first time power has been misused by the powerful— in order to exploit those without power—for their personal benefits or in order to protect the image they’ve constructed over the last so many “acche dins” to appease the majority. And if anybody even dares to tamper with that perfect portrayal of our beloved politicians, then you bet there will be consequences.
You may doubt the response time of the authorities during an “ordinary” situation like lack of oxygen in hospitals, lack of an adequate system to provide justice to the mob lynching victims, rape and murder of minors etc., but you can never doubt the vigilance and determination of authorities when it comes to the image of their beloved leaders or anything related to Gau Mata.
We recently saw the arrest of journalist Prashant Kanojia for “defaming” the honorable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath. Kanojia had recently posted a video on Twitter and Facebook of a woman speaking to various TV channels about wanting to marry Adityanath. In the video she said she had been in touch with the CM over video chat, and now expressed her desire to spend the rest of her life as his wife. An FIR was registered against Kanojia by a sub-inspector of police at Hazratganj police station claiming that the social media post was “objectionable” in nature.
I prefer to have an optimistic approach towards life, and I feel that if the cyber cells of our country have found this post objectionable, then it means the cyber cell might someday stumble upon the mess the troll army has been creating on our social media, some bizarre fake news piece claiming Nehru was a Muslim or social media bullying and find that “objectionable” too. And put themselves to work!
Time is such that even writing this makes me slightly scared. What if someone finds it objectionable and I end up spending the next weekend in jail for just speaking my mind out loud. Such is the norm of the “acche din” bestowed upon us. All we can do as citizens now is just be optimistic, and obviously, worship cows.