The Long Conversations
The world is a hurried place. We walk fast , we text faster, we type at robotic speeds and we are instant beings of slow processing. We try to go faster and faster hardly stopping or taking a pause to appreciate the collateral beauty emanating in a subtle disguise from every event.
We want everything short and concise , packed, organised and neatly classified. We want information ordered and stories told in five words and we call them ‘haiku’ or ’terribly tiny tales and shit’. While doing all this we terribly ignore the depth, the exploratory genius and the pearls that lie beneath layers of useless phrases.
I believe that it is important to go deep and into the details. Engage yourself in deep and thoughtful conversations. Talk till words and topics are exhausted. Brainstorm and fire new neural pathways. Use your grey cells damn it!
So next time when you talk to someone , listen to their story and learn from their experiences. Do not get impatient to know the end or conclusion because you know journey is important and destination is just another end to a new beginning. Think upon that.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” —- Evelyn Beatrice Hall [A Quotation often cited as the modern principle of freedom of speech]
The constitution of India has enshrined in itself a few fundamental rights, ‘Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression’ [Article 19(1)(a)] grants the people of India the most basic of all rights. The rights to express one’s beliefs, opinions and convictions without any fear in any form of writing, printing, music, art, painting, film etc. The foundation of a free society rests on an open flow of ideas and thoughts. This freedom to express encompasses a whole spectrum of liberties against suppression and regulation.
Such stated freedom is essential to create an atmosphere of open discussion which leads to an active participation in democracy and peaceful co-existence of diverse communities. This makes it a lot more crucial to preserve this right from violation or misuse. Celebration of free speech requires a policy and behavior of mutual respect than merely tolerating each other’s opinions. Social media is the most widely used platform to exercise this right. From negotiation to allegation, from chat to debate, from live cam to scam it is all happening out there. A status update, a tweet, a like, a comment, reactions, #tags. From celebrity sensationalism to widespread outrages, it is all laid out on the world wide web. This freedom and access brings many dynamic variables in the system, and so these rights are subject to certain restrictions imposed on print and electronic media. However, quite interestingly social media is far out of any regulatory scope of any such restricting laws or provisions. The First Amendment to the Constitution which was a result of journalist Romesh Thapar’s efforts, made on June 18, 1951, states that “interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with Foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence” will be paramount and freedom of expression will not be unconditional.
Rajshree Chandra a political science teacher at Janki Devi Memorial College, DU and the author of the book The Cunning of Rights: Law, Life, Biocultures discusses at length various examples of how powerful political figures like Adityanath Yogi (CM-UP) use the constitutional principle of “reasonable restrictions”– embedded in one or more of the IPC provisions of section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), section 124A (sedition), section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and section 505 (statements that clause “public mischief”). Section 292: Makes obscene publications (book, paper, pamphlet, writing, drawing, painting, representation, figure or any object) an offence. The penalty is 2 years (first conviction) or 5 years (second conviction), and/or fine. Section 298: Penalises the “utterance of words” that might hurt the religious feelings of any person; the penalty is 1 year and/or fine.
IT Act of 2000 has been the subject of much debate, it’s section 66A criminalizes online communication that is “grossly offensive”, has a “menacing character”, or causes “inconvenience or annoyance”. Section 69A authorizes the government to block websites, through a set procedure, Section 79 deals with the online “intermediaries” – search engines, social media platforms etc. to “take down” illegal speech/content that users might have posted and are hosting. The Apex court in a landmark judgement has scraped Section 66A, upheld Section 69A and it upheld Section 79, limiting its scope by “reading it down.”
Heart of the Article 19 says: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” In a highly digital era and unprecedented speeds of connectivity we can share videos, hashtag celebrities, blogging, microblogging , YouTube channels are flooding the social media. Users generating and consuming content in high quantity must promote the practice of self check and research. Only real awareness of the responsibility that comes with these great rights can prevent their violation and abuse.
Judgments and case studies exhibiting the ‘Status-quo’ of India -on violation of constitutional right on social media sites.
• On March 25, filmmaker Sirish Kunder had a FIR registered against him over his tweets criticising the BJP’s decision to appoint Adityanath as UP chief minister.
• On April 15, the Delhi BJP lodged a complaint with the police against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for dubbing the Election Commission as Dhritrashtra!
• 20 November 2012, Two girls arrested in ‘Bal Thackeray Facebook incident’, Shaheen Dhada posted a comment on Facebook wall on the demise of Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thakeray regarding his death. Her friend ‘liked’ her content. They were arrested under Section 295(a) of IPC and Section 64(a) of IT Act, 2000. Granted bail after fine of Rs.15,000 each and written apologies.
• “The Cunning of Rights: Law, Life, Biocultures” – Rajshree Chandra
The situation of torment between Natural Force vs. Forced Nature
I have never forced myself to write. I believe my writing is a creative gift bestowed upon me, it is my karma, something I am destined to do forever. Even then, I never force it. There are all those guidelines out there telling you to do this and that. To keep writing like a maniac. To write first and think later. I have never been down that road where you have to vomit words just because you want to be a writer. Words need not be coaxed out, because usually they flow, and when they do just grab a pen and paper or a laptop or pull out your cellphone and write away.
You can’t force creativity, something like feelings and poetry writing cannot be produced at demand or at the drop of a hat. These feelings which a writer generally expresses through words, poetry, painting, music or any other form of art, are buried deep down in the catacombs of our brain, and our task as writers is not to break down the tunnels where these creative thoughts reside but to pick them out one by one and confront them with your art by your side, and hopefully whatever the result is will be your original, natural flow which has been subjected to no pressure. You have to let your creative parts mature, and then when it can not be held inside anymore, you have a duty to share those wonderful thoughts in the best way you can.
Forcing creativity is like infanticide, or to put it better it is like plucking an unripe fruit right off the branch, it is useless to the tree and to you. On similar lines, if you force creativity when it doesn’t seem to flow naturally, you murder yourself, your purpose and your words which amounts to nothing in the end.
There are moments when an artist feels his art has deserted him and finds it extremely hard to produce any more of his remarkable work. Almost every artist in the history has been through one such phase in life. It is an indication that your cup is empty now and you need more experience to fill it. So when your flame is low, experience the world and brighten your mind.
We are product of big bang. I mean all matter, including us comes from somewhere. There are secrets buried out there in the past but I am sure about us being celestial objects and stardust and all. I am unique, meteorite rare material that is priceless. I know nothing normal constitutes my being.
What do , the we know, we don’t trust without a proof. We want it all written down and explained to us. What happened to feeling things? Huh, what about the vastness of the sky, what about having no choice and what about those infinite impossible events you can’t just explain the reason behind. Yeah, the so called mysteries. We came from a big explosion or whatever it was, it is obviously big given our minuscule sizes. Instead of cowering from the universe and shying away I suppose the better way out is to embrace it, feel yourself at ease. Start with the very ground you set foot upon, design your room to your interest, then our home. Reach out, transform the society. Change the environment and the world. Feel you are a part of this wonderful creation and your role will be assigned to you soon enough.
This universe needed you for something and that is why you were created. A beautiful gift has been bestowed upon us and as humans I have to sadly admit that we are squandering these gifts away. We need to seek out and connect to our baser instincts be better human beings. When we die we should take leave from a better society than we came in.
We all want to be different, hell who wants to be a copycat. I am gonna be the original dog leading the pack. Yes, of course I want followers. It’s in our code to be unique, which we are if we look inside ourselves : literally. Why not be your own genuine self than to start copying others to become ‘different?’
Somewhere in the crowd we too have joined in, copying this and that to remain in the ‘trend’ , forgetting something we told ourselves when we were little.
Losing your originality to become wanted and appear eye-catchy decomposes the whole idea of a personality and uniqueness and ends the discussion like a downpour ends a storm.
You are a nobody if your universe doesn’t come to lie at your feet working at your command. Be yourself and I guarantee you will be different and unique in a beautiful way you never thought existed.
Between Lord and me.
For once I may have been driven away from what I think of the matter of God, but that was centuries ago and the air was just clearing for my race to pitch camp. From what I have seen God has always been an experience for an individual and never a community. The first human to have thought of God always thought in his own genuine manner and so God was more important to a person as an individual and not as a mass.
The race grew, flourished, evolved and began the deterioration of God, while humans grew senseless enough to divide the land and make boundaries between people, they were further retarded to divide Gods. This, to please them so that, when they couldn’t fight their Gods would, and so Gods became enemies. Gods were now limited to little areas and lesser people. Mankind has done terribly to something which it created with so much passion and devotion. Who wouldn’t look at this act and not say that man was selfish before mankind had barely begun on Earth.
Refuting Gods, people fighting in the name of the Lord, confusing God with religion and deepening this poison day by day in the minds of everyone. Rough present situation points its way back to the first days of man, when Green and blue and white were the only three colors visible on Earth from space. Thereafter people went fanatic on religion and red color of blood started marking stark religious boundaries on our beautiful blue-green-white ball of life.
God is a personal phenomenon; it is a process of discovering the outside world through deepening knowledge of the self or the individual. When we begin to know ourselves from inside of us, then comes the realization and understanding of everything outside. But this is all futile too because if you look around no two things are separable completely. There are no clear demarcations of anything whatsoever. The whole system is in a constant state of flux, and for me this flux is God. Yes, indeed the ‘constant change’, thought flow and breathing are just a few representations of the intricate magic spread around us.
Only when we train ourselves to look with one eye, the eye which takes in all views simply and without attachments. And contemporary writers and thinkers understand this concept slightly less than the legendary geniuses. Even then, they put it aptly in a TV series titled Mr. Robot, when the protagonist an extraordinary hacker takes on huge corporations with his hallucinatory visions. When Elliott, the male lead goes for a religious therapy session, he walks out abruptly when the moderator gave her a sermon about Jesus, his reply went thus, “Why should I believe in your imaginary friend, when you don’t believe in mine?”
Our Gods are imaginary, what are real is us and the universe. Trust me there are no Gods, no heaven, no hell. It’s just us and this infinite universe. You may choose anyone or anything to call your God. The Vedanta philosophy puts it aptly when they reflect that God is in us or simply we are potential Gods of our own universes.