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The Joys of the First Amendment

JK notes that the good people at the Shiv Sena are protesting a book that paints Shivaji in an unflattering light. Of course, Indians are not alone in banning what they don’t like, it’s just that they do it more often (and with more enthusiasm) than Western Europe. The irony is that most Western Europeans and Indians celebrate their right to free speech without being aware how fragile it really is. The lack of a strong First Amendment in both places means that freedom of speech is malleable, subject to the tastes of the ruling classes (or mobs) of the day. Freedom of speech means nothing if it does not include the right to gore sacred cows.

16 May 2006 8:32 am

2 Responses to “The Joys of the First Amendment”

  1. tarun upadhyay Says:

    Prasenjeet,

    this is a very valid point. it was only after coming to America that I realized that we did not really have free speech in India (when it comes to religious or historical matters).

    Recent ban on deepa mehta’s movie water is a good example of the limits we go to hide what is an established well-known practice.

  2. musings of an iconoclast: tarun upadhyay’s blog » Blog Archive » does indians really have freedom of speech on religious matters? Says:

    [...] Prasenjeet makes a valid observation about freedom of speech in India and western Europe: The irony is that most Western Europeans and Indians celebrate their right to free speech without being aware how fragile it really is. The lack of a strong First Amendment in both places means that freedom of speech is malleable, subject to the tastes of the ruling classes (or mobs) of the day. [...]

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