Where the mind is without fear
India is the land of mass-hysteria, here Ganesha-idol could drink milk and ‘Monkey-man’ could cause horror in the people of Delhi-Ghaziabad border, even a film has depicted this ‘Monkey-man’. Here fear factor is the most notable thing, children are taught by parents that be away from any scuffle, don’t get dragged in other’s trouble, never take pangas (enmity).
Sunday, 18 November, marked the day of funeral of a politician from Mumbai whose 2000 followers ransacked and attacked one facebook user Shaheen Dhada and her orthopaedic uncle’s clinic at Palghar near Thane, sub-urban city of Mumbai. Her fault was that she is a college going 21 year old, free-thinker of a young democratic republican India, where she dared to pour her heart on an issue which has touched the lives of millions of Mumbaikars.
She expressed her opinion on facebook as –
“With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on. Just due to one politician died a natural death, everyone just goes bonkers. They should know, we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time, did anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians? Respect is earned, given, and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect.”
Her friend Renu Srinivasan was not spared too, her fault was to like the post by Shaheen Dhada. Both were booked under section 295A of Indian Penal Code for hurting religious sentiments and under Information Technology Act, Section 66A.
As you can notice that Shaheen Dhada’s comment doesn’t include any remark to religion or religious beliefs but still she was implicated in a frivolous case and the man who was died was never a religious person but a merchant of hatred and politics. Could you imagine how it will damage the impression of just and fair judicial system in young minds and this generation?
And I am sharing all this because no one wants to get associated with troubles, the second name of dirty politics in India.
Tonight, I saw a posting by famous weekly magazine Outlook, which says –
If you ‘like’ or ‘share’ this, you could get arrested. For this is the full-text of the status update by Shaheen Dhada which was ‘liked’ by her friend Renu Srinivasan, that led to the arrest of the two:
So no one dared to like this or share this in this country of 4 crore facebook users, where within a minute such postings get hundreds of likes, shares, and comments. For first fifteen minute me and my friend were the likers and I commented to that – now arrest me.
After one hour, there were barely 6 more likers and 2 people who shared this posting. So, such is the fear factor in my country that you are not free to think free.
I remember on this occasion, Nobel prize winning poetry of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote it originally in Bengali as Chitto jetha bhayashunyo (Where the mind is without fear) –
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action —
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”