Anil Thakraney: Criticise. Don’t piss

12 Sep,2012

By Anil Thakraney

 

And we are back to debating that same old contentious issue: Freedom of speech. This time it’s been triggered by a young cartoonist who decided to have some cheap fun. And Trivedi has got what he obviously wanted: Attention and free publicity.

 

No, I am not supporting the fellow. While I agree that charges of sedition are misplaced in this case (and are likely to be dropped due to the brouhaha in the media), it is equally true that Trivedi needs to face the music. Yes, I am totally fine with freedom of expression as guaranteed in the Constitution, and am all for criticism and negativity (I thrive on it myself!). But I have no time for people who piss on symbols/emblems that are sacred to the nation. Because, aside from generating some publicity for the creators, they bring about no change at all… in fact, they make many of us cringe with disgust.

 

Writers and cartoonists must understand that while it’s kosher to lampoon netas and their political parties, it’s not cool to trash the nation itself. India is a great country, it was founded on the correct principles, it is indeed the microcosm of all the good things the world has to offer. It is the unworthy leaders of post-independence India who have consistently damaged the idea of India, and it is THEY who deserve our scorn. Not the nation itself.

 

In that context, I am all for Trivedi being punished a bit. So that the right lesson goes out to all attention-seeking mischief mongers. RK Laxman made us smile/angry/sad with his satirical cartoons on politicians, but not once in all those years did he cause offence. Young cartoonists like Trivedi must learn something from him.

 

Having said the above, the one good thing that must emerge from this controversy is that the law of sedition needs to be redefined and amended. It must be reserved for those who provoke violence and hatred in the country.  Cartoonists with ‘g&%d mein kida’ must be made exempt from this charge. Ironically speaking, it’s too big an honour for them!

 

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PS: Noticed this at a shop in London. Free mineral water when you buy a newspaper! An example of the intense pressure to survive that newspapers find themselves under, in the Western world. One fine day this is going to happen in India as well. Proprietors will have to offer condoms and papads to entice us into buying their akbaars. Sad.

 

 

 

 

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2 responses to “Anil Thakraney: Criticise. Don’t piss”

  1. sanjay austa says:

    I used to read him as a rookie journalist and quite liked his columns. Today this guy seems to have regressed. Freedom of expression without causing offense means bullshit mr Thakraney. This includes the right to piss of `sensitive’ souls like you.

  2. I think freedom of speech allows you to be as distasteful as you please. The kind of cartooning committed by Mr. Trivedi deserves to be ignored. Apart from being aesthetically displeasing and shocking for the sake of being shocking, it breaks the first law of humor – it’s not funny.

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