Free to live. Not free to do and say as we please?

Professor Jyotirmaya Sharma of the University of Hyderabad and author of “Terrifying Vision”: M.S. Golwalkar, the RSS and India, in Mail Today:

“There is a significant difference between saying that all Indians are free to live wherever they want to, and saying all Indians are free to live where they want to and do what they feel like, live the way they want to and say what they wish to articulate.

“Living, doing and saying are activities and choices subject only to restrictions imposed by the Indian Constitution and the rule of law and are not activities that are hostage to the mercy of outfits like the RSS, Shiv Sena, VHP and the Bajrang Dal….

“In practical terms, this means that those Indians who choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day ought not to be attacked by the thugs of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal in the name of preserving Indian culture. It means James Laine has the right to write a book, using the resources of the venerable Bhandarkar Institute in Poona, without the Institute being attacked and vandalised by criminals of the Sambhaji Brigade.

“It also means that individuals have the right to convert freely to any faith as long as they do so voluntarily. It means that Aamir Khan has a right to express his views on the Narmada issue and not be hounded in Gujarat by lumpens encouraged by the tacit approval of the state government. It means Amitabh Bachchan the right to show Narendra Modi his latest film, and agree to be the brand ambassador for Narendra Modi’s Gujarat. It means M. F. Husain has the right to express his creativity in a manner that he chooses without being hounded out of the country into voluntary exile.”

Read the full article: Mail Today

Image: courtesy Prasad Radhakrishnan/ Mail Today

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