Furthermore, freedom of expression is vital for the formation of an independent public opinion. It is instrumental In achieving positive social change In a society. It enriches the social fabric of the society by exposing Individuals to diverse perspectives that help them grow Into a more tolerant society. In addition to the merit of freedom of expression in facilitating the working of a democracy in the abovementioned ways, it is vital as a stand-alone concept too. The freedom of expression protects a person’s individual sovereignty which is a basic human right.
On the other hand, however, I maintain that the excess of anything is harmful. An individual’s freedom of expression, when It hinders the rights of another person, cannot be lauded as a positive. There are certain greater goals for the achievement of which, limitations must be placed upon freedom of expression in a democracy. The freedom of expression is vital for the successful participation of people in their government. According to Mill, a liberal representative democracy must create maximum space for people to take part in the functioning of the government and not strict their Involvement to mere voting.
He considered participation Important because It develops the confidence of people In their ability to govern themselves. 1 Alexander Mellowing believed that freedom of speech and expression Is instrumental to the proper working of a democracy. He believed that it is only after citizens are exposed to a variety of perspectives, ideas and opinions, that they can make informed democratic decisions and hold the government accountable for its actions. 2 Freedom of expression facilitates the formation of public opinion.
It is only hen the public is exposed to a Juxtaposition of varied political ways and beliefs that they can make a comparative analysis and chose for themselves, the way or belief they think will work best for them. By this logic, even contrary political beliefs should be allowed freedom of expression so that there can be a check on the power of the government. It allows for the views of the minority to be heard. This freedom of expression is pivotal to ensure that the democracy does not turn into a tyranny of the majority or the powerful.
A democracy, for its proper working, requires that people be tolerant towards he functioning and government of a diverse society. Intolerance of differing opinions translates into bigotry, which harms 1 Cravings, J. (2008). Democracy. In R. Bargain, & A. Chary, Political Theory – An Introduction. Pearson Longing. Seth’, A. (2008). Freedom of Speech and the Question of Censorship. In R. Bargain, & A. Chary, Political Science – An Introduction. Pearson Longing. 2 the social fabric of a society. If the intolerance comes from the government itself, it may be a compromise on the liberty that a democracy like India offers its citizens.
Lee Bobbling in his book ‘The Tolerant Society (1986) proposes that freedom of speech and expression helps inculcate this sense of tolerance in a society. 3 He says that the presence of contentious opinions in the public discourse act as a constant reminder to the people that the society they are a part of diverse and that this diversity needs to be respected. Bollixing says that free speech and expression functions as a ‘zone of tolerance’ wherein people are compelled to understand and respond to views that may be antagonistic to their own.
Moving away from the merits of freedom of expression with regard to the working of massacres, it is important to note that freedom of expression is important even with respect to the autonomy of individuals. To live a fulfilling life in a democracy, it is imperative that a citizen should be realize his/her individual sovereignty. Individual sovereignty implies that an individual should be able to make informed decisions for his own self after critical reflection of the various issues at hand. He must not be dependent on others to spoon-feed him with the ‘right’ opinions.
Even if a person believes in a socially unacceptable idea, he should have done it by using his personal discretion. In addition, even if the belief in question does not conform to societal norms, he must have the ability to hold fast to them. It is here, that freedom of expression and speech holds pivotal importance. The above mentioned idea is taken from the “Million Principle” proposed by Thomas Scandal in his book “A Theory of Freedom of Expression” (1972). 4 This importance of freedom of expression, as explained above, has been legally recognized by various definitive entities such as the Indian Constitution as well as the United Nations.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. ” Additionally, on the national front, the people of India declared in the Preamble of the Constitution, which they gave unto themselves their resolve to secure to all the citizens liberty of thought and expression.
This resolve is reflected in Article 19(1)(a) which is one of the Articles found in Part Ill of the Constitution, which enumerates the Fundamental Rights. 5 It must be mentioned, however, that as much as the protection of the freedom of expression is vital for the functioning of a democracy, at times, restrictions upon it sets out to achieve if it takes on the form of ‘hate speech’ or defamatory speech/ actions or actions that may risk the national security. A balance has to be 3 Seth’, A. (2008). Freedom of Speech and the Question of Censorship.
In R. Bargain, & A. Chary, Political Science – An Introduction. Pearson Longing. 4 Scandal, Thomas, ‘A Theory of Freedom of Expression’, Philosophy and Public Affair, (2), 1972:204-226. 5 Sings, S. (n. D. ). Freedom of Speech and Expression. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from Software: http://www. Software. Com/articles/formulator/article. HTML struck to ensure that the freedom of expression brings with it only the positive consequences upon the working of a democracy and does not handicap it by compromising public order.
The need for such restrictions was recognized in India when public order was used as a ground of imposing restriction on the freedom of expression by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951. As with any other right hat is given to citizens of a country, the freedom of expression should find its limits when it infringes upon the rights and liberties of others. In this regard, Potential Astrid J. In the A. K. Eggplant case, observed, “Man as a rational being desires to do many things, but in a civil society his desires will have to be controlled with the exercise of similar desires by other individuals”. Keeping in mind the abovementioned points, I believe that it was indeed a momentous defeat of the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India when Ruminant’s essay ‘Three Hundred Remnant’s’ was banned from the History syllabus at the Delhi University and when Rhino Misery’s novel ‘Such a Long Journey was removed from the syllabus at the Iambi University. Banning of books is extremely questionable as a myopic action as the imposition of a ban happens in ignorance of the fact that books offer the important element of choice. If a book hurts a particular faction’s sentiments, they very well have the right not to read it.
In a country as diverse as India, it is important that tolerance for intellectual freedom be inculcated to help roper inter-cultural or religious debate and discussion to bring about a society that is inclusive and secular in the real sense of the word. Ruminant’s essay merely presented the different versions of the Ramadan. It is understandable that the various versions of the Ramadan discussed in the essay may not sit well with the Hindu version that is popular in India; however, it is to be noted that the very principle that was used to Justify the ban is indeed violated by it.
It was contended that the essay hurt the sentiments of the Hindus in a secular India where all religious life must be respected, and based on that, the essay was removed from the syllabus at the Delhi University. What is not realized is that in the same breath that this removal condemns hurting of religious sentiments, it also propagates it. Removal of the essay essentially means that the Buddhist, Gain or Tamil adaptations of the Ramadan (as discussed in the essay) are of a lesser value than the Hindu version. Its removal means that in ‘secular’ India, these adaptations did not find the right to be discussed and taught.
Moving beyond that, I believe that this removal hints at a actions that are depicted as representative of larger communities have, in many instances, pressurized leaders to take harmful steps and censoring literature. Students have the right to engage with all types of literature and then form an independent opinion either for or against it. Political considerations should not be allowed to influence the atmosphere in which liberal arts are taught in the country. It is imperative that the freedom of expression be allowed to each individual with regards to his opinion and no faction of the society be favored over the other in this regard.
On the same lines, J. S Mill, in his essay ‘On Liberty stated: “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more Justified in silencing that one person, than 6 Patella, D. (2007). Freedom of Speech and Expression India V America – A Study. India Law Journal. He, if he had the power, would be Justified in silencing mankind… Elf the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. If wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. This above opinion is extremely important with regard to the current issue at hand as it deals with education. The very goal of an education is to have a better understanding of the world around us which resonates as much as possible with what the truth’ (a highly contentious topic) may be. The importance of dissent in helping form a productive public discourse is reflected in the following lines by poet Arrived Krishna Amenorrhea: “I’d go further and say that if books are being banned we’d soon be banning even Backbit poetry. A lot of Backbit poetry is against religion, specifically against Muslims and Hindus, especially Kabuki’s.
So are we going to ban Kabuki next? Are we going to ban texts that have been in existence for hundreds of years because Veda gather Saab shoot hat’. That’s the Veda, the holy book… There has been a tradition of dissent in this country for a long time. Backbit itself was born out of dissent that you don’t need a temple or a mosque. ” 7 In the same way, the removal of Rhino Mistress novel from the syllabus of the Iambi University course was a regressive move wherein intellectual freedom had to bend in the face of political opposition.
The spineless nature of dealing with political criticisms of literary work on no literary ground whatsoever has been censured time and again in India. It has been mentioned that the state has failed in its duty to protect the freedom of expression of its people in the face of threats of bodily harm from crude, extremist factions of the society. Much of this condemnation was seen during the Jasper Literature Festival 2012 when Rushed came under the radar of the Daryl Loom Debase and other fundamentalist groups.
Conclusively, it can be said, that the removal of the above mentioned literary pieces from the syllabi of the two universities is a move that must be condemned time and again for the compromise it makes on the liberal freedoms promised to Indians by the Constitution of India. Susan, N. (2012, Jan). Rushed in a Land of Shame. Retrieved from Thelma: http:// www. Thelma. Com/story_main. Asp? Filename=hub040212RUSHDlE. Asp 8 Chuddar, S. (2012, Jan). The Jelly legged war over Salaam Rushed. Retrieved from Thelma: http://www. Thelma. Com/story_main. Asp? Filename=Ne280112Jelly. Asp