Freedom To Speech, Dissent And Expression Is Not Unlimited
Coming straight to the nub of the matter, let me begin by first and foremost pointing out that the freedom to speech and expression as envisaged by the founding fathers of the Constitution certainly did not mean that the citizens had the unfettered right to say anything and everything whatever they liked. Freedom comes with responsibility. What price our freedom fighters had to pay to secure freedom cannot be even dreamt of by most of us who are all born after independence!
What I find most disquieting is not that students studying in colleges who are yet to mature freely utter anti-national slogans even though I condemn it strongly but it is the abetment given by some political leaders of different political parties who justify it on one pretext or the other. Not to be left behind, even some senior and eminent lawyers back them and say there is nothing wrong in allowing students to chant whatever they like as long as that does not lead to violence. This is nothing but a theatre of the absurd!
Freedom of speech and expression as envisaged in Article 19 of our Constitution has certain restrictions imposed on it which tend to be generally ignored by those who support anti-national utterances! They must read again and again Article 19 and ponder deep and honestly self-introspect. They will themselves realize that they should not say anything which disturbs peace and tranquility in our country in any manner. Right to dissent can never be misinterpreted to include the right to disintegrate. Highly provocative anti-national slogans like “Bharat teri barbadi taak jung ladenge jung ladenge! Ek nahin do nahin hazaar tukde karenge bharat ke! Bastar kya mange – Azaadi! Kashmir kya mange – Azaadi! Etc, etc, etc!”
What type of dissent is this? Dissent has to be expressed in a more refined manner and every citizen has the unfettered right to dissent against the government of the day but it certainly cannot justify anti-national slogans under any circumstances. No citizen can be allowed under any circumstances to glorify a terrorist!
JNU commanded worldwide respect and recognition but the anti-national utterances by few students has certainly brought disrepute to the whole University and even serving and retired Army officers who are awarded degree by JNU have expressed their utmost consternation and disapproval with what all ugly scenes happened in JNU! Campuses are meant for free discussion and dissent but they cannot be allowed to become nursery for planning on how best to disintegrate India and by openly shouting anti-India slogans and demanding azaadi for different parts of India something which the dreaded terror leaders like Syed Salaluddin who is chief of Hizbul Mujahideen and Hafiz Saeed who is chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba always keep rabidly shouting even though in last seventy years that has turned out to be nothing but utopia even though Pakistan itself disintegrated in 1971 and Bangladesh emerged as a separate country owing up to half of Pakistan’s population!
What the students of today don’t realize is that the children of dreaded terror leaders like Syed Salaluddin are either studying engineering or are doctor or are teacher and in fact one of them who was pursuing engineering course I saw live on television some years back totally terrified running away from the hostel site where terrorists had attacked and security forces accompanying him! Similarly children of most Hurriyat leaders are all leading their life comfortably and it is the youth on streets in Kashmir who easily get misguided who are bearing the maximum brunt and losing their precious lives aimlessly! But youth of today fail to see all this!
I must extend my heartfelt congratulations to our Home Minister Rajnath Singh who had the exemplary courage and conviction to publicly hail Sartaj Ahmad who disowned his son Saifullah and refused to accept his dead body to cremate him as he had become a terrorist. No doubt, what Sartaj Ahmad has done has no parallel. Every father must always emulate Sartaj but in reality we don’t see this happening. But what Rajnath Singh who is our Home Minister has done is no less courageous and I from the inner core of my heart hail him for doing so because this has sent a clear message that the whole nation is solidly behind Sartaj even though his son wrongly chose the wrong track !
Truth be told, Sartaj minced no words in saying that a person who cannot be of his country cannot be ours. He also made it clear that for them country is bigger than son! It must be revealed here that Sartaj’s son Saifullah who had left his home about two and a half months back after having a fight with his father became a terrorist even though he was a BCom from Manohar Lal Degree College in Kanpur and was killed on March 8 after an encounter with security forces and a lot of ammunition, pistols, bombs etc were recovered. Sartaj in a very bold move said that a terrorist should not get the shoulder of any person and refused to extend it to his slain son’s dead body!
Every Indian must be proud of Sartaj. What Sartaj has done is unprecedented and must be emulated by the father of all those sons who pick up guns and become terrorists! I must bestow my unadulterated appreciation to all those especially politicians like Rajnath Singh who in Parliament publicly backed Sartaj and appreciated him lavishly! He certainly deserves it! Many often we don’t see such appreciation but in this case we are seeing it and this is a very good news! Rajnath Singh deserves full credit for summoning the courage to speak publicly in Parliament in favour of Sartaj and hailing him in no uncertain terms! We are proud of you Rajnath!
How I wish our other politicians too pick up some lessons from it! Leaders should never encourage those college going students who publicly rant anti-Indian slogans like “Bharat teri barbadi taak jung ladenge jung ladenge! Ek nahin do nahin hazaar tukhde karenge! Bastar kya mange – Azaadi, Kashmir kyan mange – Azadi etc etc”! What is most shameful is that some shameless politicians of different political parties shamelessly hail such misguided youths and boost their morale for further indulging in more anti-national acts! Not stopping here, they honour such misguided youth and try to defend them in the name of “freedom to speech and expression”! Freedom of speech and expression cannot be deemed to mean freedom to disintegrate India! No eminent lawyer or intellectual or Judge can ever try to justify it on any ground whatsoever! Anyone who tries to justify it in any manner is not serving best the national interest of our country which has to be supreme under all circumstances!
What such politicians fail to realize is that their wrong support further encourages them and then some of them like Saifullah decide to actually fight and say “Bharat teri barbadi taak jung ladenge jung ladenge”! When such misguided youths like Saifullah then these same politicians who when they were in college and whom they used to honour publicly refuse to even recognize them! This must stop once and for all if our nation is to stop seeing more and more youth wrongly picking up guns!
Where did Saifullah land after picking up gun? Died at a very young age and shamed his entire family to the extent that his parents refused to accept his body! Where are now those politicians who encourage separatism? Shamelessly laughing in private! Why don’t they themselves start shouting anti-national slogans? It is because they themselves want to play safe and fire through the shoulders of such misguided youth who are not mature enough to decide what is good for them and what is bad for them.”
My best friend Sageer Khan once rightly said to me way back in 1994 that, “Defend a rapist or a dacoit or a robber or a murderer or any other ordinary criminal but never ever in life defend a terrorist. I say so because a rapist or a dacoit or a robber or a murderer or any other ordinary criminal never goes to Pakistan or any other foreign country to get the best possible rigorous training on how best to destroy India but a terrorist goes and is brainwashed to cause maximum possible destruction in India. A rapist or dacoit or any other ordinary criminal attack and adversely affects one or few persons but in case of terrorists things are quite different because they want to attack and adversely affect our nation as a whole whom they want to destroy completely! A rapist or any other ordinary criminal can never attack India with nuclear weapons and destroy our nation as a whole but terrorists can do so anytime and they always want also to do the same and will spare no opportunity if ever they get the same!”
Sageer Khan also very rightly said that, “Terrorists are worse than enemy soldiers because they don’t fight on borders with our soldiers but they place bombs in trains, places of worship etc and kill maximum innocent people in the most cowardly manner! Still our politicians shamelessly hold talks and dialogues with them, declare ceasefire with them, appoint IAS, IPS or Ministers as interlocutors to engage them, treat them like VVIPs and refuse to hang them even after Supreme Court sentences them to death and even after their own PM or CM is killed by them most brutally! Why politicians have so much soft corner for terrorists? This only our politicians can reply best and not ordinary citizens like you and me!” He also firmly believed that, “There are three things which no person should ever shun nor exchange under any circumstances – Desh, Dharam and Daddy-Mummy. They are non-negotiable and non-changeable. Rest everything can be changed or negotiated except these three Ds (Desh, Dharam and Daddy-Mummy).”
Truly speaking, shameless politicians who hail anti-national slogans in the name of “freedom of speech and expression” and try to justify even waving of Pakistani flags and burning of Indian flags must slap themselves with full force and then ask “Why can’t we become like Sartaj Ahmad and place country above our own vested political interests? Why we try to justify what can never be justified? Why we don’t allow killers of our former PM Rajiv Gandhi and former Punjab CM Beant Singh to be hanged and shamelessly plead mercy for them with folded hands while at the same time naming so many things after the departed leaders? Whom are we trying to fool?” Their own conscious will give them the right reply!
Killing innocent people, chanting anti-national slogans and waving flags of Pakistan or terror groups like ISIS can never be justified under any circumstances and must be strongly dealt with! No eminent lawyer or jurist or judge worth his salt will ever try to justify such anti-national acts because even they themselves cannot be above the nation! Nation stands first, always and every time and this is what Sartaj has bravely demonstrated by rendering the supreme sacrifice of placing his national interests above his parental interests! I salute Sartaj Ahmad from innermost core of my heart! Each and every Indian must follow his worthy example that he has set before us!
All said and done, the youth of today as well as the leaders and lawyers who try to justify anti-national slogans on one pretext or the other under the garb of freedom of speech and expression and right to dissent must bear in mind that the amount of independence which India gives to all its citizens has no parallel but there has to be a line drawn somewhere! No individual can be above the nation! We are all below our nation! It is true that nationalism cannot be imposed on anyone but it is equally true that if someone tries to sow discord and harm national interest in any way then must be prepared to face the music!
Finally and most importantly: Why should citizenship be given to those who openly rant against India and vow to disintegrate it into thousand parts and thus speak the same language as terror leaders do but they do it in hiding or from foreign land but these youth are doing it right in the college and university campuses itself which under no circumstances should ever be tolerated! They must be given warning to either mend ways or be prepared to face the unpalatable consequences emanating from their anti-national acts! Freedom to speech, dissent and expression is not unlimited and every citizen has to exercise it in such a manner that national interests are not harmed in any manner! We must always all remember that, “India is for Indians and not for Pakistanis or Bangladeshis or terrorists or traitors”. Those who like Pakistan must migrate there just like eminent singer Adnan Sami migrated from Pakistan to India and took Indian citizenship! No citizen has the right to chant anti-national slogans and try to justify it on one pretext or the other! Freedom comes with responsibility and it is high time that now fundamental duties as envisaged in Constitution must be made mandatory! We cannot just keep chanting “Azaadi, Azaadi, Azaadi but never talk anything about what is envisaged as fundamental duties in our Constitution as it does not suit our vested interests! How long will we keep fooling ourselves? How long will we keep running away from fulfilling our fundamental duties? We all must honestly introspect!