Blogger, TypePad and Geocities have been blocked across my country. An Indian is not allowed to read views put forward by various people across the globe, views put forward by their own countrymen, information that could change lives, the only media that stood tall when phone lines went down across my city, Mumbai.
Many have cried out that our freedom of speech and expression have been violated. I did too initially. But look closer at a very minor technicality, especially in case of blogger.com. A blogger can post articles on to his blog. So he is being allowed to speak up, express himself. The only catch is that nobody is allowed to hear them.
When our constitution was designed, every citizen was given a few fundamental rights; Freedom of Speech, Expression and Movement. The basic tenet of democracy is that while one may disagree with a view, he/she has no right whatsoever to silence the opposition and refuse his/her right to speech and expression. This is an aspect of our democracy that has always been disturbing. If someone talks against a popular opinion, he/she is crucified, stones thrown at their homes, effigies burnt, bandhs called. Such blatant violation of one's rights, one's integrity goes unnoticed time and again.
Finally, there is one basic freedom and right that we, who call ourselves one of the most intelligent nations in the world, still haven't been given. The freedom of using our own intelligence. India, the State has time and again taken the onus on itself to "protect" its people from the evils of information in all forms. They want to have control over what we view, read or listen to as they do not trust our maturity and choice.
Too much corruption in our society, too many lords violating the innocent under the pretext of tradition and social justice, too many eggheads ruling and quarelling over the State. It's time for someone to stand up and be counted. Will you, the common but intelligent citizen of India, stand up?
Will I, another common citizen of India, stand up and be counted?