R.I.P Section 66A But May Our Conscience Never Die

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While our ancestors gave us the power of words, we struggle even to this day to make the right use of words. Did you know that every zebra has a unique pattern on its body, no matter how similar two zebras look, they are never alike. We have the power of words at our disposal, hence more than the faces it is the words that make each human unique.

The Supreme Court’s verdict on Section 66A of the IT Act to strike it down came as the last nail in the coffin for this, much debated law. The incidents of people being arrested for voicing out their opinions on some of the public figures in India posed numerous questions on our right for freedom of speech. While this verdict came as a relief to the public, it did leave the so called public figures grinding their teeth.

What we speak is what we think, what we think is what we believe, what we believe is what we experience and what we experience is partly our own deeds and partly what our destiny brings on our plate. Freedom of speech is a basic right that every citizen of any democratic nation must have. We are part of a hypocritical system where it is considered justified for a 12th class student to get arrested for making comments about a politician while the same politician in the past went to the extent of comparing our present prime minister with a dog in one of his many controversial speeches.

Such a provision in the IT Act did give the police the right to make arrests, which was hugely violated at will or under undue pressure from the political parties. Whatever be the case, such arrests did make the citizens question their liberty to express their views. The agitation was more pronounced because of the bias that was shown towards the citizens rather than the law itself, as in case of most of the laws that exist.

Turning the table around, recently there was another disturbing stream of posts on Facebook that I came across. Some students in Karnataka posted insensitive comments about the deceased IAS officer D K Ravi, as the one day close called on after his death made the exams get postponed for a later date than scheduled. Such blunt use of words might be another practice of freedom of speech but such an act of callousness does call for moral police. Such posthumous cyber bullying certainly poses big questions on the insensitivity that spreading like termite in our society.

Laws are made to protect the people. Abolishing a certain law that was misused will certainly call for accolades on part of our judicial system. But there can never be any law robust enough to protect us from our own thoughts.

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India’s Daughter: banning the film will not ban the crime

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India’s Daughter has made more news being banned in our nation, than it would have otherwise. The documentary does not show anything we do not already know. The coverage done by the Indian media, of the heinous crime that took place on the night of 16th December 2012, did not leave anything to our imaginations. Almost every Indian is aware of story inside out. A major part of the documentary has been narrated by one of the men convicted of that crime, Mukesh Singh.

One of the reasons why the Indian Government has banned the documentary is because it contains the interview with Mukesh Singh, who is being held at Tihar jail, which is a high security prison, and letting in someone to interview a prisoner poses many questions on the security situation in our country. But what is more disturbing to me is the fact that, when there is a genuine witness of what really happened that night, why was he not a part of the film? Apparently, he refused to be a part of it as he did not support the motives of making the documentary.

Avanindra Singh, the other victim and the only surviving witness of the crime has called the documentary fake and backs its banning by the Indian Government. Banning the documentary will not ban the crimes. It’s time we learn to accept our follies. Be it access to the Tihar jail to interview one of the convicts or the thoughts that have been shared in the film. It is indeed appalling to hear how and what a rapist thinks. The audacity with which Mukesh Singh talks in the documentary shows the limit of shamelessness existing in our society today. People say that lack of education is the root cause of such a deformed thinking. I wonder what could be the root cause for the malefic thinking displayed by the defendants’ lawyers in the film.

Any change that is required in a society at large must begin at home. The long existing patriarchy in our country is one of the main causes for a number of issues that exist in our society today. I feel mothers can do a lot to bring such a reform in our country. This does not mean that fathers are excluded from the responsibilities of providing the right upbringing to their children. Why mothers can help a little more in the process is because they can make the sons better understand the value of a woman. If there is domestic violence in the family, either the child will grow up to treat women the way his father did or if the mother takes up a stand against that violence, then the boy may grow up thinking of woman as being strong enough to stand for themselves and worthy of respect.

It has been proven that boys generally have greater affinity towards their mothers. The first female figure in any boy’s life is his mother; hence the mothers hold a huge responsibility in creating the right mentality of a man towards women at large. In an ad by Vogue India titled “Boys don’t cry”, Madhuri Dikshit talks about how instead of telling our sons that boys don’t cry we must educate them about the fact that boys don’t make girls cry. It is a powerful statement that can help to solve the problems of violence against women in our society.

It isn’t easy for women to stand up for themselves when there is any kind of violence happening around them or with them. It needs courage of unpredictable magnitude. In all honesty no one can help you if you don’t want to help yourself. People may empathise with the victims but only the victim truly knows what it takes to get out of the trauma they suffer. The crime that happened on the night of 16th December 2012 shook the citizens who take pride in calling their nation Bharat Mata. This shameful event made to the list of the most gruesome crimes in the world.

I am no one to decide whether the ban on releasing the documentary in India is justified or not, but what I do know is that it is doing what it’s meant to do, maybe just with a slower pace than expected.