Since its advent in the constitution, Freedom of Speech (FoE, as we like to call it) has been a witness to a plethora of polemical issues, thus tagging itself as the most 'talked-about' fundamental right. Given our intrinsic talkative habit, we continue to exercise FoE in the best possible (not plausible) manner. But what if our best national-cum-fundamental friend, FoE, starts turning into a FOE?
Dearth of prudence is where the hitch lies. Impertinent choice of words, comments involving and encouraging gender-disparity, rough & rogue tones are some of the trepidating claims to the right to freedom of speech & expression. Of all these, ornamental abuses seem to top the charts.
If we keep an hawk eye on the sporadic claiming to FoE, the invective adjectives seem to spearhead the campaign.
The bar keeps on going high. But the caveat here is our limited domain of exercising FoE.
We remain confined with our favourite abuses in our favourite areas. Friends' chats, discussions, social media are like PROTECTED ACCESS SPECIFIER. Given that it's our fundamental right( or the birth right as we like to boast), why not expand this domain of abuses? Why cant we use the F-word with our teachers or mentors? Why cant we use it boldly with our family & acquaintances?
Why cant an employ or employer be abusive in a rendezvous? Or why cant our elected ministers & use the worst possible adjectives for the previous governments, the incumbents? And why our charismatic PM cant use the F-word regarding the undesirable cliffhanger to the granting of NSG status to India.
The most amusing part in all of the above Sisyphean tasks is that none of them attracts any legitimate action, or criminal proceedings. At maximum, they might fire a heavy public outrage, which might not even get the apology out. Dehors, we need to understand our past colonial scenario, and the consequent concept of FoE.
Owing to their appetite for hegemony, the Britishers left no stone unturned in oppressing the voices of the then revolutionists. Vernacular Press Act remains the quintessential evidence.
Keeping this in mind, framers of our constitution devised Article 19, clause(a) which immunes every citizen from court proceedings or trials for their verbal acts & spats, provided they do not incite any form of violence and other such conditions as mentioned. Therefore, what we need to acknowledge here is that the main purpose behind such a concept was to raise our voices against the domination or ill-governance as we might find it. Of course, it too empowers us with the freedom of speech, but our way of implementation still marks the lack of wisdom & conscience, something India has been known for & far.
The prudent & pertinent exercise of FoE doesn't ensure or conserve a puritanical society in any way.
It only aims to conflate our claim & conscience, which mostly seem to be at loggerheads with each other. If the constitution provides us with claims, our conscience provides us with responsibilities. We claim, but we aren't that responsible. So the nitty-gritty of the issue appeals for a parallel execution of 'claim' and 'responsibility', not the competitive one.
Mea culpa is one of ours' most significant features. It acts as a prerequisite for the divine process of introspection, which in current context of our beloved Bhai (Salman Bhai, yes i am a fan), might be a lesson for all of us to learn, to claim with responsibility. When we gain a little sagacity & sensitivity towards the society, we actually begin to master the art of the words.
And as a homosepian could put it,
Owing to my wisdom & conscience,
Intelligent is what I am called in science.