Shishir Tripathi | January 24, 2015 | New Delhi
There is an inherent deformity in the hearing range of all those in power. Their ears are seemingly too sensitive to criticism and harsh realities. George Orwell while articulating his views on freedom of speech said “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”. When he said this, he would have surely been talking about the power and the powerful.
Two instances illustrate this intrinsic intolerance of the powerful. The first is about a law enforcing agency and other comes from the world of words.
Manik Taneja and his wife Sakshi Jawa may never have heard of the Orwellian maxim but they acted and their action gave rise to new interpretations.
On one bad day of June 14, 2013, the couple’s car collided with an auto rickshaw causing injury to driver. They reportedly paid compensation and thought that the matter was settled. However, they were summoned by the Bengaluru police next day where the cops allegedly misbehaved with them.
Unable to do much they tried to register their grievances on the official Facebook page of the Bengaluru police. This expression of resentment was not appreciated by the police and they registered a case against the couple under section 353(assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty) and section 506 ( criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code.
The case went to the judiciary. The supreme court quashed the FIR against the couple. While quashing the FIR against the couple, the highest court in the country observed that the page created by the traffic police on the Facebook was a forum for the public to put forth their grievances and its “considered view, the appellants might have posted the comment online under the bona fide belief that it was within the permissible limits,” Liberty in the age of social media has been redefined.
In the second instance, it is very clear that in the nature of things, brute force cannot prevail always. This about “dramatized biography” of the matriarch of the most influential political family of the country that finally hit the bookstore. Five years ago Spanish author, Javier Moro wrote The Red Sari, which he claimed to be the dramatized biography of Sonia Gandhi president of the Indian National Congress.
The book chronicled the humble background of Sonia Gandhi and touched some unknown areas of her life. To guard the image of the party supremo, the party followed the obvious course.
Effigies of the author were burnt and all efforts were made to ban the book. Book was not published in India.
However, with a change of guard at the government level the book finally saw the break of the day this month, five years after it was due to be published.
Everyone one is entitled to his own opinion, however, power can enforce what it wants. But it cannot last beyond a point. Have patience.
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