Feb 14 – Free Speech Day #flashreads

THE IDEA: To celebrate free speech and to protest book bans, censorship in the arts and curbs on free expression.

WHY FEBRUARY 14TH?

For two reasons. In 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the death of Salman Rushdie for writing the Satanic Verses. In GB Shaw’’s words: “Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.”

February 14th or Valentine’s Day has also become a flashpoint in India, a day when protests against “Western culture” by the Shiv Sena have become an annual feature. In Chandigarh, 51 Sena activists were arrested by the police after V-day protests turned violent in 2011. Our hope is to take back the day, and observe it as a day dedicated to the free flow of ideas, speech and expression.

#flashreads is a simple way of registering your protest against the rising intolerance that has spread across India in the last few decades. At any time on February 14th—we suggest 3 pm, but pick a time of your convenience—go out with a friend or a group of friends and do a quick reading

For instance, you could read AK Ramanujan’s Three Hundred Ramayanas,which was withdrawn from Delhi University’s syllabus after protests from Hindu right wing groups.

Read more here: http://akhondofswat.blogspot.in/2012/02/flashreads-for-february-14th.html

Do you think insulting should be a punishable offense?

1. Do you think ‘insulting’ should be a punishable offense?

If yes, then why? And what kind of punishment?

2. Are threats of violence an insult to the Indian Constitution?

3. Do violent protests achieve their goals better than peaceful protests? Could it be because they are generally politically motivated?

And so,

4. Are violent protests politically motivated/supported, or are they spontaneous?

And finally,

5. Salman Rushdie it seems has visited India earlier and there were no problems, why do you think has this become such an issue this time?

Updated to ask: Isn’t Freedom of Expression the Right to express what we can’t express without the Freedom of Expression?

 

 

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