Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ban the Community !!!

Every so often, I get a message in my Orkut inbox from some patriotic Indian who thinks it is his calling to get every one of his Orkut friends to join him in attempting to ban some community or the other than he finds insulting to his religion or his country. I have visited quite a few of these communities and am often bemused by what I read. Pakistanis creating India-centric hate groups and hurling abuses at Indians and the latter retaliating back by creating their own communities and doing the same. Hindus creating Islamic hate groups and vice-versa, and of course abusive language punctuating the statements. But I fail to understand what these vigilantes hope to achieve.

Not that I am even sure that Orkut does block/ban communities when a certain number of individuals complain, but even if it does, the founders of these groups will just create more groups. And if everyone were to complain about everything that they found insulting or derogatory... then where do we draw the line? Slowly we will slip into a situation where everything is banned and everything is deemed inappropriate.

The freedom of speech should be the freedom to insult!

Beware of what you do, say or even think. I just came across a news report while perusing India Uncut, of a Bangalore based Computer Engineer being arrested for allegedly uploading blasphemous matter about the great Shivaji, on Orkut. Here is what I can't wrap my mind around ...

"....After Pune police pointed out the aberration on part of Laxman to Google office, the matter which he posted on the website on October 29 last using his PC at home, was removed"
"The cyber cell of city police, investigating the crime for the last ten months on a complaint registered by BJP workers here last November, zeroed in on the IT professional Laxman Kailas K and arrested him in Bangalore yesterday, police said."
Now granted that I have not read the uploaded content because Google has removed it, I still find it infuriating, that the freedom of speech is virtually non-existent in our country. What is the "aberration" on the part of the accused, Laxman Kailas K? Just because all Maharashtrians deify Shivaji and I am sure lots of other Indians respect him, does Laxman not have the right to disparage him, if he so chooses? Is he not allowed to express a different opinion? An insulting one even?

Second, it is frustrating to see the tax payers money being spent on something as inane as this. For 10 months a bunch of computer savvy pandus, were spending night and day, working overtime even, to crack a case that was most definitely a grave threat to our security, morality and everything else our beloved khakee clad individuals swore to protect.

What if far from being a Saint, I find Mother Teresa a hoax and a dangerous woman who probably endangered more lives than she saved? What if I chose to disparage Bal Thackeray or any other one of our infallible leaders? Sigh... These are very trying times.


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