So we criticise Comedy Nights with Kapil. And we criticise political leaders who make misogynistic statements.

So we criticise Comedy Nights with Kapil [link]. And we criticise (or strongly condemn) political leaders who make misogynistic statements.

I think there is a difference (Please correct me if I am wrong) – Comedy Nights with Kapil is not paid to represent us or our interests, it’s a commercial enterprise, we are free to disapprove and stop watching the show.

I don’t think we can or should attempt to silence misogynistic voices, one, because they have the right to voice their opinions (however offensive we find them), and two because there are probably many others who hold the same views and perhaps it would be much better to start a conversation about why the ideas are so offensive to us.

Silencing will not change misogynistic views – talking about them would ensure that the other more rational view is heard.

Silencing is not a good idea anyway. When the Silencing of Voices begins – it always begins with silencing of the unpopular voices first. Obviously.

There are countries where feminists (or Liberal views) are not allowed a Voice. That makes it very easy for feminists to be made unpopular, and since they are allowed no voice they have no opportunity to become ‘popular’. And unpopular voices are amongst the first to be silenced.

So if we want our own voices to be heard, we have no choice but to allow others the have their say too. Would some of us rather hear what we like to hear at the risk of being denied the Truth?

There can be no Freedom, Equality and Justice without the right to speech. And those who have the most power and most responsibility should be accountable to those they serve.

For example, what if we could not blog about these two cases?

‘The liberties that are guaranteed to our citizens, cannot be stretched beyond limits nor can such freedom be made weapons to destroy our fundamental values or social establishments like families’

Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage – Karnataka HC

Women have been denied the right to speech (or Freedom of Expression) for centuries and it lead to women being the least valued in the society, seen and valued only as future wives and daughters in law.

I think the only speech that should be censored is the one that directly leads to violence to others (Hate speech).

But this is only when equal citizens are in disagreement.

What about when we criticise political leaders who make misogynistic statements? (or say anything else we disagree with/disapprove of?) Unlike Comedy Nights we do pay them to represent us, and we have authorised them to make laws to ensure that our Fundamental Rights are protected.

I think we have more right to challenge political leaders who make statements that indicate that they are disrespectful of our Fundamental Rights – including the right to have a Voice and the rights to Justice and Equality.

Do you agree?

Related Posts:

“Tell me will you ever think of putting any posts on facebook after this?” “No.”

Is Democracy possible without a chance for everyone to argue about issues that matter to them?

So who said these words, and do you disagree?

What is it that you would never blog about?

Why do we hear concerned voices about ‘misuse of freedom’ the moment we talk about Freedom?

Are u ok if ur daughter smokes at 24yrs to express herself? Freedom of expression is quite quite difficult to practice.

Who defines the ‘limits’ of your freedom?


But what about the speeches that non-internet users hear?

So some internet sites have been blocked and amongst other things, now some users are not able to access any blogs.

Read more: India’s Net nannies run amok.

But what about the speeches that non-internet users hear?

Let me share some bits from a conversation with an auto-wala.  What do you think of the speeches that convinced him of all this (and worse)?

The autowala: They have four-four wives and ten-ten children, they want to increase their numbers and become the majority and make us a minority in our own Bharat. Age chal kar inhika raj chalne wala hai… siwai ek Gujarat ke har jagah inhiki chalti hai. (They are going to rule in the coming years, apart from Gujarat, they get there way everywhere) [Possible influence:]

IHM: The more the education, awareness and opportunities, the less the chances of anybody having children they can’t feed and educate. 

My mom’s maid, a Hindu, has had eight children; my one cook, also Hindu, had six kids. My one maid in Kerala had only two daughters – she was educated, and had been to Dubai. And most middle class Indians I know have one or two children, no matter what their religion. 

He had a lot more to say. I disagreed politely, and in the end he expressed what I am sure he always suspected,

The autowala: These neta-log (political leaders) care for no one but their kursi (votes). 

IHM: True. 😡

* * *

Speeches are also made against some Indian citizens or ‘outsiders’ (often Biharis and North Indians) in Maharashtra.

And let’s not even begin about the statements that convey support to violence and crimes against women. 😦

Since it’s almost impossible to control what people hear, maybe it would help if they could also hear the other side?

By this logic, should it be free speech for all, for those who spread hate and violence, and those who fight to spread peace?

What do you think?

Related posts:

How do you decide which Indian state you belong to?

So who said these words, and do you disagree?

How do you feel when somebody else puts in a few crisp, simple sentences something you have always wanted to say?

On being asked,

“At what point of time, does liberty for yourself becomes license to abuse others?”

This person (can you guess who?) said,

“It’s a loaded question ofcourse because I am not talking about liberty for myself but about liberty also for others to abuse me, which they have freely utilized. I am not trying to say that I am the only one who gets to speak, only that I also get to speak. The question of the limits of freedom – unfortunately, these days, people have begun to fall into the trap of believing that it is right to limit freedom, at that point which you were mentioning the point of where other people don’t like what you are saying, I am telling you, if you go down that road, nobody will be able to speak at all, because everybody can object for whatever reason to somebody else and you silence all speech…that’s the consequence of that mindset, it is better to be in a world where people say what they want and if you don’t like it, you say so in return. That’s how the debate of an open society proceeds. Of course I am not saying I am the only one who gets to talk, obviously I am not saying that…”[Link] – Don’t click before attempting a guess!!!

Can’t guess?

Here’s some more from the same source!!

“Freedom. It’s a beautiful sounding word. We say, who would be against freedom? It’s a word that you would automatically be for, one would think. You think of a free society as one in which a thousand flowers bloom, in which a thousand and one voices speak… what a simple and grand idea… But in our time, many essential freedoms are in danger of defeat and not only in totalitarian or authoritarian states, here in India also a combination of religious fanaticism, political opportunism and I have to to say public apathy, is damaging that freedom upon which all other freedoms depend which is the freedom of expression…”


Answer and win the Prestigious Yellow Polka Dotted Cup!!!

Not publishing the correct answers yet – please do mention if you agree or disagree with the speaker.

Related posts:

What is it that you would never blog about?

What is it that you would never blog about? Even though you think you should be able to. Something you feel strongly about and you feel should be discussed and something you are well within your legal rights to discuss, but you self censor and don’t write about it. What stops you? Do you think blogging about it would help you or somebody else? Does not-blogging about it benefit you or anybody else?

Some bloggers seemed to be censored by their immediate families – they may not write against religion, tradition, sexual orientation etc. Does your family read your blog? How much influence does their reading or not reading makes to the way you blog?

Some bloggers are ‘censored’ by the comments that disagree too strongly – this seems to happen mostly if your political ideology supports tolerance and secularism.

Bloggers who write about women’s issues also face criticism and troll attacks, (it is generally assumed they are women).

If you did not self censor what do you think would you like to blog about? What do you think should never be discussed on blogs or at least you would not discuss, even though that’s what you blog about.

Would you criticize something if you are not sure it would help the cause – just to convey your own views on the subject?

This is my second post for Make Blog Not War – A Freedom of Expression Training for Bloggers.

Trying to understand a blogger’s legal rights and responsibilities.

I attended Make Blog Not War – a freedom of expression training workshop for bloggers, organized by the Internet Democracy Project recently.

The idea was to be able to write confidently about issues close to my heart with more awareness and clarity about a blogger’s legal rights and responsibilities.

As someone who thinks the best thing about India is it’s Democracy [link] – I wanted to be aware of the rules that ensure it functions smoothly; to understand, if and when objective criticism of social norms or religion or a book or a Court verdict could become a legal offense.

What did I learn? (Please correct me if I am wrong.)

Blog owners are responsible for not just the content they publish but also for the links they share and the comments on their blog. As ‘intermediaries’ they are,

//…not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information that —

…is grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous defamatory, obscene,
pornographic, paedophilic, libellous, invasive of another’s privacy,
hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating or
encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise unlawful in any
manner whatever;//

[Read more: Intermediary Guidelines]

I have more problem with ‘disparaging’, ‘obscene’ and ‘blasphemous’.

1. Disparaging to whom? So, if we are to criticize without breaking any laws, it would have to be without being ‘disparaging’?

Does it mean when we rant against Dinesh Reddy, C C Patil, Muthalik and even Mamta Banerjee and Kapil Sibal, are we breaking a law?

This is confusing because Kapil Sibal clearly said we are not; in  his own words, “I think that the media has the right to criticise, the media has the right to be satirical and that’s part of the freedom of expression that we ourselves in government cherish.” [link]

And what did Kapil Sibal mean when he said we could even say we hated him?

2. Obscene includes what? Are discussions/opinions about premarital sex obscene? The Supreme Court has made it clear they are not. “At the most it is a personal view. How is it an offence? Under which provision of the law?” [Link]

There should have been clarity, since ‘pornographic’ and ‘paedophilic’ are separately listed.

3. Blasphemous reminded me of Pakistan’s Blasphemy law.

It also seems unconstitutional.

In Jan 2010, Bombay High Court,…brought joy to civil rights activists when it held that, “in our country, everything is open to criticism and religion is no exception. Freedom of expression covers criticism of religion and no person can be sensitive about it.”

…”Healthy criticism provokes thought, encourages debate and helps us evolve. But criticism cannot be malicious and must not lead to creating ill-will between different communities… (it) must lead to sensible dialogue.”  [link]

4. It seems these Intermediary Guidelines also make us responsible for the links we share? What if a blog post was edited after we have shared a link to it?

Why make rules that are impossible to follow?

The new ‘Intermediary Guidelines‘ and the Cyber Cafe Rules that have been in effect since April 2011 give not only the government, but all citizens of India, great powers to censor the Internet.

…Such censorship existed during Stalin’s rule in the Soviet Union. Not even during the Emergency has such censorship ever existed in India.

[Read more at]

I had expected clarity – well defined rules so that law abiding citizens could feel confident when they blogged for what they cared about – social justice in my case.

What is the government trying to achieve by these guidelines? Has the government forgotten,

“It is not the task of the criminal law to punish individual merely for expressing unpopular views. The threshold for placing reasonable restrictions on the ‘freedom of speech and expression’ is indeed a very high one and there should be a presumption in favour of the accused in such cases.  [Click to read more of what the Supreme Court had to say…]

In Feb 2009, 19 year old Ajith D was told by Supreme Court,

…if someone files a criminal action on the basis of the content, then you will have to face the case. You have to go before the court and explain your conduct.” [Link]

But perhaps we should not lose heart, because MediaVidea explains, “…all the court has done is to say that “let the law take its own course and let the Maharashtra High Court look into the matter.” [Do read!]

He further says, “… I have faith in our Justice system. Bloggers are not going to face a million lawsuits in India.”

That’s true perhaps, and I think Ajith D will win the case – but the problem is,  ‘The process is the punishment — just going through arrest, bail or being banned can unsettle anyone’ [link]

Blogging in a democracy should not be like walking on egg shells.

So what is it that we cannot discuss on our blogs?

‘Are Indians not allowed to have any (to put it mildly) uncharitable opinions against Shiv Sena (or any political party, for that matter)?’ and ‘If no, is it a crime to open that opinion to discussion — in print or online?’ [link, Karthik S, Feb 2009]

But there is hope,

The Supreme Court observed in Union of India v. Assn. for Democratic Reforms:[5] “Onesided information, disinformation, misinformation and non information, all equally create an uninformed citizenry which makes democracy a farce. Freedom of speech and expression includes right to impart and receive information which includes freedom to hold opinions” [Freedom of Expression in India, Wikipedia]

Reminds me of what I have always believed –

Freedom of expression comes with responsibility. The responsibility to protect it from censorship.

Related posts:

1. Censoring Indian Blogs – Monumental Stupidity Bhagwad Jal Park
2. Invisible Censorship – How India Censors Without Being Seen: Pranesh Prakash – Kafila
3. ‘Our policy is to ban first and hear later’
4. The Indian Blogger as a Journalist, and legal implications – MediaVidea
5. Should Indian Bloggers Vote as a Bloc? – Bhagwad Jal Park

Three BJP Ministers, including the Women and Child Welfare Minister caught watching porn in assembly.

I am sure nobody is really surprised that three ministers were caught watching ‘obscene video’ in Karnataka assembly. I am just glad they are caught on camera. Maybe now we can expect stronger attempts at censorship to protect our religious and cultural sensibilities.

CC Patil and Lakshman Savadi were caught watching an obscene video on their mobile phones on Tuesday while the Assembly was in session. A regional TV channel aired the footage of the duo watching the clippings when the Assembly was debating the issue of hoisting of Pakistan national flag in a town in Bijapur district on the New Year’s day. [Link]

This post is not about my views on whether or not watching porn should be a crime. C C Patil is was the Women and Child Welfare Minister, this is what he said about last month about sexual crimes against women.

Women should know how much skin they should cover: Karnataka minister

I personally don’t favour women wearing provocative clothes …” He also said women should know how much skin they should cover.

Patil said incidents like rape and sexual harassment occur when moral values among men decline – the subtext being women dressing “provocatively” cause men’s morals to nosedive.


Perhaps apprehending he would be accused of being a misogynist, Patil hastily added, “Over the centuries, we have given respectful position and dignified status to women. We worship women in many ways. As a mark of respect to women, many rivers are named after them in the country which only indicates the respect we have towards women.

[From here]

I believe anybody who talks of naming rivers after women when asked about an average woman’s safety doesn’t care what happens to an average woman. If he then start talking about women’s clothing causing men’s morality to nosedive – then maybe he is  making excuses for himself.

Karnataka state had recently banned a peaceful protest against sexual harassment (Slut walk) and has in the past defended violent attack and molesting of innocent citizens in a Mangalore pub (resulting in the now famous Pink Chaddi Campaign). This is how Savadi reacted to being caught watching porn in the House.

After local TV channels began airing the footage, Savadi reportedly blocked power supply in his constituency, Athani, in north Karnataka. He said later, “I was watching the video clip of how a woman was raped by four people to know about the incident and prepare for a discussion on the ill-effects of a rave party in Udupi recently. I do not have the cheap mentality to see pornographic visuals.”[Link]

I wanted to call this post – We worship women in many ways. – C C Patil.

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?


This what we did at the Delhi NCR Indlibloggers Meet :)

This Sunday I attended my second Indi Bloggers Meet, met some familiar and many new faces.

(Photograph shared by Indibloggers)

So what happens at these meets?

You finally see the faces of the people you have been disagreeing with 😀

You eat.

You really want to see what you missed? 😀 Aabha Midha and Indiblogger have shared some sadistic pictures. (Will link asap!)

You tweet.

(Picture updated.  🙄  )



You introduce yourself.

Indiblogger calls this ’39 seconds of fame’… you take longer, you go to jail. Or ****  (censored)

You write comments 🙂

Does it still look too formal to you?

Prateek Shah as Rajdeep Dutt Goswami anchored the ‘We the Bloggers’ show. Esteemed guests included Kapil Sibal and facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

So here’s what else you can do in a bloggers’ meet 🙂

You can ask Mark Zukerberg what he thinks of Kapil Sibal 🙂

You can ask Kapil Sibal a pertinent question 🙂

You accept an apology from Guess Who? 😆  (…from the cheering I gather he is being forgiven?)

And finally, you can say cheese to the blogarazzi  🙂

More pictures shared on facebook,

Kapil Sibal assures he won’t be sending legal notices to those who say they hate him.

I was glad to hear Kapil Sibal say, on NDTV 24X7, that he had no intentions of censoring or sending legal notices to those who were saying they hated him or other public figures. ( Couldn’t find a link to this 😦  )

Also read what he says to Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advicate. (Click for video and transcript).

“I think that the media has the right to criticise, the media has the right to be satirical and that’s part of the freedom of expression that we ourselves in government cherish.”

Now I suppose Giribala of The Grist Mill need not add the reassurance below, while sharing her photographs with ‘public figures’ on facebook?

Kapil Uncle I only share good pictures of Sonia G and Rahul G‘ – Giribala

And we can continue to enjoy expressing our angst with our politicians in the  ways we are inclined to. This one is a delightful parody (found it being shared on facebook) of Sada haq aithe rakh.

Please watch Advani Jee singing Sada rath aithe rakh 😉 😆

And Sandhya can continue to safely quote Mark Twain 🙂

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.


So we can safely continue to turn to the Social Media for information like this one shared on facebook. Read the 22nd name.

Is this true or legal?


But the BJP (as opposition they were a disappointment as usual) would be glad to know [Link] that Kapil Sibal still insists that he wants to choose what ‘our people‘ find offensive. I agree with Bhagwad that we are not anybody’s ‘our people – most people I know are their own people, and can decide and avoid what hurts their own sensibilities.

A question: Do you think political leaders are the right people to decide what we find offensive? What are the chances of their selfish interests interfering with their otherwise honest intentions?

Another question.

If we were all permitted to say nice things to each other (i.e. if what we say is not objectionable or offensive)  we will not only not be stopped from saying it, we’d probably be paid to say that, then why do we need the Right to Expression? The very idea of Right to freedom of expression is to allow us to say what others may not want us to say. Read Bhagwad’s post if you disagree.

Freedom of expression comes with responsibility. The responsibility to protect it from censorship.

Thursday Challenge – Communication, Technology…

All quotes are from an open letter to Dear Mr Sibal, here. (read the post, it will make you see why you are so right to be proud of being a part of this community)

You don’t have to believe that I have a right to post what I will on my profile as long as I follow the laws of the land and the platform I am using. But when you chose to become a leader in this constitutional democracy, you made the commitment to uphold everything written in its constitution, or if you change it, you follow due process.” 



A vibrant country that is able to use humor to make a point. I think this is better than slaps and shoes and burnt buses and what nots. Maybe it is time to laugh at a few of them, dislike a few and move on knowing that freedom of speech is not a popularity contest, but a matter of values” []

So a rioting mob is now the fault of some citizen of some other country on some other continent rather than those breaking laws right here. Why? You can’t govern what happens in the country? Why are they not expected, not assisted to learn to be legal?
‘You don’t understand the magnitude of what you are throwing a tantrum for. You don’t understand what it is. You fail to see that social networking isn’t like television, but like conversations. It is way beyond censorship to monitor and edit interactions. You censoring them is as good as gagging me in the online world. And, frankly, I refuse to be gagged. From a person minding my own business, I will become a virtual rebel, but I will not allow another person to have power over every word I say. No matter what. It is as simple as that’

“Sachin Kalbag put it well: Dear Mr Sibal, it is YOU who are accountable to the people; we are NOT accountable to you. Now repeat 100 times

Pictures shared by the internet community while peacefully protesting against Kapil Sibal’s attempt to decide for Indian people what they find offensive and what hurts their sensibilities.

Related Posts:

All your posts are belong to us.

Kapil ki Censorship by Amit

Kapil Sibal is an Idiot.

Indian Authorities Try (And Fail) to Make Tech Companies Block Politically Offensive Content

Kapil Sibal and the screen.