Free­dom, but Not Ab­so­lute

India Today - - MAIL -

Apro­pos it may be a mat­ter of pride for an in­ter­na­tion­ally known lawyer and ac­tivist like Amal Clooney to suc­cess­fully de­fend the in­de­fen­si­ble and prove a per­son guilty of crime in­no­cent, but not so for civil so­ci­ety. Her ser­mon that the “mi­nor­ity voice is the one you should al­ways pro­tect in a so­ci­ety that ad­vo­cates free speech” is an­tag­o­nis­tic to the spirit of democ­racy. Yes, the mi­nor­ity should have the right to free­dom of ex­pres­sion but it should not be ab­so­lute; it should be mod­er­ated so as to not of­fend the feel­ings of the ma­jor­ity. Oth­er­wise, it is no democ­racy. Should peo­ple, even if a mi­nus­cule mi­nor­ity, have the li­cence to work for the de­struc­tion of a na­tion? Should the brave sol­diers de­fend­ing the coun­try stand on the same foot­ing as those wish­ing to an­ni­hi­late it? than Modi in your view to fit the role? He has a vi­sion for In­dia on the lines you de­scribe. He is hon­est, hard­work­ing and to­tally com­mit­ted. How­ever, there are two im­ped­i­ments in his path. First is So­nia Gandhi, who out of power is like a fish out of wa­ter and will do any­thing to de­fame him and bring down his gov­ern­ment. Sec­ond are the fringe el­e­ments in the Sangh Pari­var, who see this as an op­por­tu­nity to push their var­i­ous agen­das. Modi seems to have de­cided that he will not get bogged down with any un­nec­es­sary con­tro­versy, and has asked his min­is­ters to work hard, hon­estly and sin­cerely, which they seem to be do­ing. What more can one ask for? At this stage, what he needs is me­dia sup­port, be­cause even­tu­ally it is they who make or break the im­age of the gov­ern­ment. But the me­dia is so scat­tered and ob­sessed with its agenda that an ob­jec­tive as­sess­ment has be­come too much to ex­pect. The In­dia To­day Con­clave does well to flag is­sues such as the state of the In­dian econ­omy and the de­bate on pseudo-na­tion­al­ism of the right­ist kind. It serves as a sig­nal to PM Modi to sit up and take no­tice, lest it gets too late and he loses the battle for want of a nail. He be­gan well with his twin avowals of “sabka saath sabka vikas” and “max­i­mum governance, min­i­mum gov­ern­ment”. How­ever, with fringe el­e­ments tak­ing cen­trestage, the first dream is in tat­ters, while the fact that the econ­omy has not taken off de­spite NITI tak­ing over plan­ning has made a mock­ery of the lat­ter. Ev­ery prime min­is­ter since Jawa­har­lal Nehru has had his share of highs and lows, but even af­ter two years in power, the Modi gov­ern­ment is yet to see a sig­nif­i­cant high; the lows, how­ever, are com­ing thick and fast. Go­ing by the im­pres­sive list of in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed per­son­al­i­ties who par­tic­i­pated, it is clear that the In­dia To­day

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