A lot of hue and cry is raised now a days on freedom of expression. I must admit that most of time it is right and that without this freedom, humankind would not have progressed as far as it has done now. But at times, the logic is twisted out of shape, stretched to an extent that it breaks.
It is quite strange that without reading the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, people start taking sides. People in favour of Salman get eulogised as liberated, keeper of civilisations, erudite and generally all the platitudes that one can heap. On the other hand, people opposed to him get branded immediately as fundamentalist, regressive and medieval. isn’t it amusing that without even reading a bit, camps get created, position harden and the society in turn suffers. Truth be damned. As starters, Satanic Verses is banned in India, so one cannot get hold of it unless one enjoys stepping on other side of law, but the net is full of relevant excerpts from the book and the reader is free to make his opinion. As you would read the excerpts, it becomes abundantly clear that under the shelter of freedom of expression, a lot of liberties have been taken which should not have been. Over the ages, its is proved beyond doubt that mankind has always leaned on religious teachings, texts as anchorage and there is no reason why something is written which is clearly mischievous in a way and unnecessarily creates divisions . It clearly hurts sentiments, no doubt. I am not going into a treatise as why it hurts, but reader is free to surf the net, read the relevant excerpts, also read the holy religious book, read about the revered personalities and it is abundantly clear that it is mischievous.
Offcourse, fatwa is not a solution.But don’t eulogize the author, fete him with all the awards, call him to literary festivals and praise him for his work. That work is mischievous to say the least and definately approaches blasphemy. If he is so stubborn on his freedom of expression, keep it in confines of his home.
Well same for late M F Hussain. He had painted some canvasses which in true sense were again mischievous and should be abhorred. There is simply no logic for the paint brush to go so much wayward that you paint a naked goddess holding on to the tail of a monkey and you assume that people will not connect the dots. This is clearly no freedom of expression. These paintings again should be confines to home and not a gallery. How can somebody do like this?.
So this treatise is religion neutral, freedom of expression gets into mainstream whenever one tries to play with religious sentiments.
Freedom of expression has led to great discoveries, inventions, new thought processes, new way of thinking and looking at things in perspective. Lets not abuse it so much that it becomes a dirty word.