Tuesday, July 18, 2006

If the government actually bans complete access to all of blogspot or other blogging sites, it will be an unprecedented act. We will lose our hold on one of the most important reasons why we are proud of India, and which can enable us to criticise censure in other countries. One of my American friends asked me two days ago, when I was aware of the government's planned action only a rumour, whether this fact was true. I confidently told him that I am sure that something like this could never happen.

Voila! Today, I ask a couple of my friends in India, and none of them can access my blog. Frankly, this is quite shocking for me, because as I said before, no matter how much freedom of speech is trampled under the feet of fanatic fundamentalists and bigots who take out on the streets the moment someone makes a comment about a national matter, I am not aware of any incident where the government itself has ordered a large scale suppression of this right in any way. I also hope that the government does not exploit the fear of terrorism and conflict as an excuse to indulge in this, an action that has ample precedent in history, most recently in the US.
In recent years, many of us have lamented the loss of freedom of speech by informal threats and extreme criticism which makes anyone automatically wary of speaking out for or against any national matter, from sex in cinema to Naramada andolan. Is this government action simply a transition to making this paradigm a formal one? It still would be outrageous, and the day would go down as a black day in our recent history.

From today onwards, let me keep my mouth shut about the curtailment of civil liberties in Pakistan and China, which I frequently used to aggressively quote, to make a point about Indian democracy.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good news is that the ban on blogs has been lifted and the ISP admitted to a technical glitch (or a mistake in interpreting directives).

I am slightly torn on this news:
1. All ISPs making the same mistake sounds very fishy
2. Why did the govt try to deny access to any website in the first place ... makes me jittery
3. The government listened and lifted the ban .... probably I am supposed to feel good about "democracy being at work". Now if only the democracy at work mechanism works for the reservation issue.

~Neelesh

7:53 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Yep. It IS jittery. We don't have the kind of development that China has, but in true tradition, we are again following the wrong kinds of things from another country.
It won't work for the reservation issue. It's too important for them!
And to add to the embarrassment, they even misspelt the names of the sites I hear!

7:50 PM  

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