A string of incidents that took place in the recent past signals to something very ominous. In the realm of words and expressions, an unrecognizable threat lurks round the corner. In absence of any meaningful freedom to make our voice heard on ground, we had withdrawn ourselves into close confines. Realizing the power of the online medium, we jabbed away at the keyboards, exploring a new mechanism to register protest. Until now!
About a week ago, Facebook pulled down cartoon of a Kashmiri artist it found unpalatable. The cartoon depicted roots bursting out from Afzal Guru’s grave in Tihar and reaching for their counterparts of a massive tree epitomizing Kashmir. The cartoon underscored the reality the way it was. Kashmir has seethed with fury every time February drew closer. Both Guru and JKLF founder Maqbool Bhat had been executed in the same month. With painstaking efforts, an unmistakable message was sent across: We identify with them.
Yet, the state moves to stifle any such effort stoked more indignation, steered the people clear of any prospect of reconciliation and forestalled self-reflection before it ever began.
On the heels of this incident, the authorities yet again revealed a complete absence of spine when it scrambled to block the page of a well-known Bengali musician Kabir Suman who translated poem of Agha Shahid Ali into Bengali.
The lyrical composition eulogized Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, also lent support to Kashmir cause.
On Thursday, Suman found his Facebook page taken down. The latest incident reveals the utter disregard the Indian state has for the freedom of expression in the real sense.
Whilst it champions the concept of liberty in the constitution, in reality, it is the other way round.
There has been a systematic onslaught of the free speech in India, which is being progressively ratcheted up to effectively decimate every expression, which the state dislikes. This doesn’t gel well for the nations that pride themselves for being a democracy.