Several readers have shown their surprise over unequal standards shown by government in defending freedom of speech/artists over the matters that supposedly affected religious sentiments of people. I am not at all surprised. In fact it is perfectly logical to see why the government was extremely prompt in banning the CD while not so in the Ganesha Paintings case.
The agitators in case of the Ganesha painting case were immediately labelled as Hindu fundamentalists. That puts almost everyone on defensive including the agitators themselves. But no ban was imposed because clearly public tranquility was not disturbed in order to evoke section 144. That was a very right decision on government’s part to defend the artist.
However in the CD case the prudence that the government displayed indicates two possible compulsions.
One, that the agitators in the CD case were capable of disturbing public tranquility and peace. By invoking section 144 that is clearly the official stand of the law enforcers.
Secondly, I feel that the issues that could have actually surfaced up when many people would have seen the CD and contemplated on it, the uncomfortable questions it could have raised about the “holier than thou” attitude of certain people; could have hurt the private interests of many people and their henchmen in present government. I suspect this is the real motive behind the unequal treatment and sense of urgency that was displayed in imposing section 144.
Congressian secularism is not about having same laws for all but it is about conceding equal number of concessions to religions that make more noise. The government will surely wash up its current sin and established equality when some other religion makes noise next time. The dog that barks gets the bone. Congress has been sending these signals to the public right from the day India was partitioned. The trend continues and more than the artificial “Communal” groups, this attitude of the government which now even BJP and other political parties have learned to harbor is the root cause of many problems in India.
Certainly the government’s decision to ban the CD is ridiculous. So it would have been if the Ganesha Paintings were confiscated. We should learn to get offended.