28 July, 2021

Don't Imprison Voltaire

We will never progress if we allow the closed mind to take open charge

Don't Imprison Voltaire
Here is a paradox: Mumbai is India's most modern city. It is also home to the Shiv Sena and various other senas. And I think this paradox accurately reflects our situation today. India is a mini-world with a multicultural population where people don't always see eye to eye. There should be room for competing ideas in a democracy—but if I cannot disagree with someone without vandalising his house or burning his book or bashing his head in, then this method of banning, unacceptable to me, amounts to terrorism. Mumbai has seen a lot of it. Other parts of India have seen it too, backed by religious sanction or government sanction. Its most hideous and extreme form calls itself honour killings when young couples—who have got married in defiance of caste or community, or simply the wishes of their parents—have been brutally murdered and the murders justified as honour killings. A debate becomes meaningless—merely an intellectual exercise—in a climate where mobs have made themselves the arbiters of right and wrong, moral and immoral....

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