Using freedom of speech for separatism is perversion of democracy

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We earned our freedom through a long arduous struggle spanning two centuries. This hard-earned freedom must really be something to cherish and something to die for. There is no doubt about that in anyone's mind. In the same breath, it can also be argued how important must the 'freedom of speech and expression' be. After all, in a free society, if one can't freely express oneself then what is the point of such freedom. Something so obvious can't be a subject of doubt, right?

Freedom of speech is as precious as all supporters of democracy deem it to be, should be guarded with life. But what if some punks start gaming the system. 

However, all this freedom applies to the act of speech and expression only in the paradigm that mere speech and flow of ideas can't harm anyone. Ergo, nothing useful for a state to put restrictions on it, except may be a malignant will to control everything, like a dictator. This is the entire theory on which any means to control the ‘freedom of speech’ is taken very seriously, almost like a catastrophy, in our extremely vocal and open democracy, followed severe backlash in our free media. And not just in India, on this understanding liberals operate in any democracy, 'compromise on freedom of speech' is a region where a democratic government better not step in.

There are reasonable restrictions on hate speech but such objections are mildly put in Indian constitution. And considering the snail speed at which our judiciary functions, it can be safely said that within the legal framework nothing much has substantially challenged some perils of so much freedom to speak and express.

It should be emphasized that the assumption of ‘speech’ being harmless was made before the information era.

Don't get me wrong, freedom of speech is as precious as all supporters of democracy deem it to be, should be guarded with life. But what if some punks start gaming the system. It should be emphasized that the assumption of ‘speech’ being harmless was made before the information era. Even the worst of the defaulters could be managed within the legal provision that the penal code provided. But not quite today where the spread of information has become so efficient and quick, that law can't keep up with it.

One most obvious example of misusing this freedom is fanning separatist sentiments. And India has seen it being played out again and again. Another one would be hate speech, but that has been addressed under the law. Separatism and hate speech, both are a means to divide and threaten the integrity of our country. Where hate speech is an overt expression and separatism happens to flourish in the background, hidden from public eyes, behind closed doors, slowly over the years. It's a passive act. And it is never organic, it is externally organized and funded. Organic sepratism in a functioning democracy won't find many takers over a long time. It can be kept alive only through external support. Sepratism is always more planned, unlike some hot head giving a hate speech to please a crowd.

Separatists have not only been tolerated but constantly appeased by the successive governments of India.

Another quick comparison will tell you, in Indian set up, more Hindu leaders are known to have exert their domination through hate speeches, whereas it is more Muslims (or other minorities) who have indulged in separatism. Which is probably WHY, hate speech is openly vilified, while separatism is played down and tolerated. However, the effects of hate speech can last just a few months, over a small area, in a small population, the act of separatism is way more dangerous and can compromise the integrity of an entire country permanently. Yet, separatists have not only been tolerated but constantly appeased by the successive governments of India. Now, why is that?

In the garb of freedom of speech, to allow democracy to be used against national integrity, is a complete perversion of democracy. 

This covert act of sedition, commonly known as separatism, needs to be taken to task. It is a complete perversion of democracy to allow democracy to be used against national integrity. They're just people right, who can be bought, their  loyalties can be compromised. If they have genuine concerns, they have to be resolved internally. How do they reach to the “demand of a separate country “ is completely beyond logic. Imagine if this starts happening at every border state. What is India, a cake? Anybody can raise a voice using the freedom that India provided and take away a piece? This is not tolerance or freedom, this is stupidity in the name of democracy. This is the perversion of democracy.

Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga

Political Analyst. Social Visionary. Editorial Journalist. Founder of open-magazine Indian Exponent.

Follow him on twitter @IshaanMohan
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Indian Exponent: Using freedom of speech for separatism is perversion of democracy
Using freedom of speech for separatism is perversion of democracy
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