Saturday, July 22, 2006

Blocking the Blogs

Dangerous Path

Fighting with the Idea of Freedom By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Thanks a lot to the bloggers, mediamen and other freedom loving people that forced the government to withdraw its draconian notification which barred bloggers and websites. In this age of modern technology, if the government's babu's remain caged to 18th century wisdom, then we need to ponder over the state of affair in the country.

We can understand that the aftermath of Mumbai blast have been very tiresome for the security agencies in India. They have not been able to pin point who the perpetrators of the ghastly crimes are yet with leaking stories to media about various outfits our intellegence and security agencies are trying to communalise the entire issue. Today, every Muslim is being seen as suspicious person with his loyalty to nation being questioned every time. Till this date, despite several arrests and crucial indication of Pakistan's involvement, our agencies still do not have proofs strong enough to implicate Pakistan internationally. Bloggers and authors do not come in government's way to find the truth. Ofcourse, many of them may have their own doubts and loyalties like anyother fellow and government. The government has every right to question people and prohibit sites that spread hatred yet to generalise the entire community as dangerous to the security of the country is not only foolish but frought with grave implication for the future of Press Freedom and civil liberties.

The response to Mumbai's bomb blast cannot come from the likes of Narendra Modi who have not been brought to book by the superficial structure that we have. Neither have the law of the land been able to cage that Maratha tiger of Mumbai who has time and again used media and political clout to spread hatred against the minorities.

In wake of this, when the Muslim leadership is in denial mode and without any perspective, when Mullahs are starting giving slogan for a separate Muslim state, when Ashok Singhal and his brand of hate politics want elimination of Muslims from the earth, the government of India has come out with an absurd solution. It has blocked various internet website and which host a number of blogs. It is strange that after having occupied a large space in the air including print and electronic media, the government of India now feel threatned with a few blogs.

We all know that those in power abhor ideas, for ideas change the world. The government of India, its boorish advisers should consult their security experts that they cannot win any war fare by 18th century mind. Even if some blogs may have traits which do not confirm with mainstream Indian ideas, there is no need to fear from them. Let the ideas flourish and people exchange views.

We at consider freedom of expression the first and foremost principle of a democratic nation. No democracy can survive if it muzzle independence of thoughts and action. It is the dissenters which provide fodder to the rulers to make laws and protect people. To fight against manace of terrorism and hatred, the government must come out with a better idea. It is strange that the Babus of the South Block and North Block have felt threatened by a new community of bloggers who the mainstream 'experts' look down upon and who even the government rarely acknowledged. We thank the government that it consider the webloggers as the most serious stuff. A certificate for the webloggers by the government and its securities agencies is a matter of pride. In the meanwhile, those who are bloggers or not bloggers, those who read news papers or watch TV channels, must understand that government has no idea about how to tackle with the important issue of terrorism. By stiffling the freedom of expression, the government will get nothing except wrong information by its inefficient agencies which gave Indira Gandhi the information that she was going to win the Lok Sabha Elections with a heavier mandate. Mrs Gandhi believed them in 1975 and order for the Lok Sabha Polls and the result was : Massive defeat of Indira Gandhi. While many of her colleague term ordering the polls as her democratic spirit, the fact was that Mrs Gandhi depended too much on her 'intellegence agencies'. In the absence of criticism a goverment sleeps and the result is chaos.We sincerely hope that the goverment of India would realise that by blocking the sites, it cannot block the ideas. Terrorism and ideas are two different things. Terrorists spread hatred and cannot debate on an issue. We are debating a issue, asking for a healthy debate on every controversial and conflicting issue. If the government cannot understand difference between discussion, debate and terrorism then it need to change for better. Please do not make India a police state where every criticism is considered as antinational. A healthy society cannot run by sick mindset. Violence and terror can only be eliminated by a debating society which has knowledge and sensitivity towards others, which respect the dissent despite disagreement. Debates and discussions do not kill people. They inspire people to solve their issues by democratic means. Terror and Violence are the mean of cowardly people who have run out of ideas, who think they can kill an idea with their guns. Sorry, both the government and the terror mongers seems to be on the same side at the moment. To look different, the government must come back to realise that it is representing a secular, democratic state and not a old faishoned communists state or other religious state where freedom is considered dangerous by the ruling elite. Please run India on democratic secular values of freedom and dignity. Improve yourself for a healthy debate. Do not try to kill ideas from the guns and policing.