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?



Related Posts:

Who defines the ‘limits’ of your freedom?



12 thoughts on “Do you think insulting should be a punishable offense?

  1. 1.What would be the definition of insult? Anything are everything can be made a insult.
    2. Yes Yes Yes.
    3. Unfortunately Yes 😦 By the way I consider fasting till death or not moving from one place until their demands are met also violent in a non- physical sense.
    4. Violent Protests are definitely politically motivated.Don’t you think so?
    5. Because of elections????


  2. I don’t think some people realize that what they’re asking for is for the government to make bad manners illegal.

    One of the most important freedoms we have is the freedom to be jerks as long as we don’t injure anyone else.

    The Salman Rushdi issue is a victory for thugs and criminals. Not for democracy. How Orwellian for this Deoband fellow to call it a victory!


  3. Elections and the political baggage.
    Satanic verses was so long ago – not in our generation or time. I wonder if the people protesting against Salman Rushdie have even read it themselves!
    Everybody seems to be super sensitive when it comes to issues that don’t even matter to one’s everyday life. There is no electricity, water is dirty, education levels are so low, women are not safe, girls are harrassed, murderers get away scot free, local babus hold onto pensions, public transport is deplorable, infrastructure is in a mess – can’t do anything. Some politician said Rushdie is coming and he insulted one religious sect, let’s take to the streets…


    • I agree with you that there are bigger fish to fry and that Salman Rushdie issue should likely be a minor blip on the radar of the people who so think that they are affected by it. I don’t think that the concerned people have the right to threaten violence on Rushdie. But they do have the right to express their discontent in other ways–maybe boycott his events, not buy his books, peaceful protests, whatever other peaceful rightful ways. I wouldn’t tell them that they can’t protest this issue because they have bigger issues to worry about. If we apply the same logic to ourselves, why are we reading and commenting on this issue when there are much much bigger issues in the world? Why are we concerned about some rich guy’s freedom of expression instead of about the poverty in our neighborhood?


      • Just to clarify: I don’t think it’s a real contentious issue. From my comment it may seem like I take issue with what Rushdie said. I haven’t read Satanic Verses (I plan to read it though). So I can’t really know why it’s perceived as offensive.


  4. if insulting is made an offence the Government, the judiciary and the police stations will have a tough time
    all the men ( read the husbands ) will qualify for especially the husbands take pride in insulting their wives .

    may be my answer is out of context as far as your this post is concerned as i have taken insulting in general sense and not in terms of politics


  5. We have, sadly, become a nation where any one can take offence at anything and stifle all artistic and creative freedom. Things do not augur well for our country. As Yuvika says, there is no focus on the amenities and safeguards that are needed in our daily lives:(


  6. 1.Who decides what constitutes an insult and what doesn’t? I might take in my stride something that another person finds insulting , and vice-versa. How can something as subjective as this ever be criminalized?

    2. ”Are threats of violence an insult to the Indian Constitution?//
    I have never studied the Indian Constitution in detail, so I don’t know what the statutes are regarding insults to the constitution. But if they begin to treat mere threats as insults, they will find themselves insulted all the time and unable to do much about it.

    3. Violent protests do not necessarily achieve their goals better but they do get more publicity, and they do inspire fear in the authorities–that by itself might or might not work in their favour, it is kind of dicey.

    4. Violent protests may sometimes be spontaneous but they tend to fizzle out pretty quickly in the absence of political support–the more sustained episodes of violent protests are indeed always politically motivated/supported.

    5. Because of the UP elections, pure and simple. Rahul Gandhi has made it a do-or-die battle for himself. The congress has been bending over backwards to woo the UP muslims–the last trick to be pulled out of their hat was the sub-quota thing, and they want to be able to milk it for all it is worth. They do not want even a hint of bad press at this stage amongst the muslims.If keeping Rushdie out helps them win even a few brownie points, they would jolly well do that, wouldn’t they?

    Very unfortunate.


  7. 1. Verbal insulting should not be an offense. It’s too easy to insult someone, even with simple words that may not be hurtful. For example, take how “childish” and “simple” are used in North India. Neither is an insult there but as an American I find them very insulting. And even the way they seem to use “simple” would mean stupid in the US and I find it offensive even if it’s not said to or about me. This also works in reverse with some of the words I’ve said to my husband that were completely non-offensive in the US.

    2. While I’m not sure threats of violence are against the Indian constitution, those should be punishable. They have lasting long term effects and only promote fear just like terrorism would. People do not have the right to physically harm each other so they shouldn’t be allowed to threaten it as well.

    3. Violent protests rarely achieve the goals they set out to achieve. They don’t serve any real benefit to anyone and they destroy communities.

    4. I have no idea, I avoid them entirely but I will say that I’ve never seen one spontaneously erupt.

    5. I avoid politics, so I have no idea who this is.


  8. As much as I want anyone who insults me to be punished, I realize how hard it is to define insult. Because it is a feeling. Sometimes people feel insulted by perfectly fine doings or statements.

    Violent protests banks on the fear. I have stayed home during bandh only because I feared violence. It mocks the rights of every citizen.


  9. 1. I think insults (like calling someone stupid or even those words that are usually censored in this comment section) should not be punishable. Freedom of expression and all that. But it doesn’t mean that the insulter should not be held responsible for it. Hate speech is different ballgame. That should treated severely. And slander and misrepresentation are not acceptable.

    2. I am not sure. But threats of violence should be taken seriously, instead of blaming the victim. If someone says that they want to kill Salman Rushdie or MF Hussain, take that person into custody and not blame Rushdie or Hussain for exercising his freedom of expression (books or art).

    3. I think it’s because we don’t have the right infrastructure/resources to counteract violence. We chicken out whenever we are threatened with violence. E.g. Rushdie not being allowed to speak at the book festival

    4. I don’t think all violent protests are politically motivated. It could also be because that a section of people feel oppressed (whether true or not) and helpless against the agents of the flawed democracy. It also brings attention to the issues at hand much faster than peaceful protests.

    5. Don’t know. I am not very familiar with what the purpose of his earlier trip was (if there was one–he shouldn’t need a purpose to visit his country). I didn’t even know that he visited earlier and that it was without an (major) incident.


    • I forgot to add:

      1. Insults can be offensive. Just because it’s offensive doesn’t mean it should be punishable. Yes there are things I am offended by (mainly intolerance). I sometimes would like to see them punished. But it’s not right/fair. I find it very insulting when someone uses “female” as a noun when referring to girls or women that is not in a medical or scientific context.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s