Tag Archives: freedom of expression

मई दिवस और गणपति

मई दिवस और गणपति में सम्बन्ध ही क्या हो सकता है? दोनों की न तुक मिलती है और न ही अनुप्रास की छटा दोनों के पासपास होने से बिखरती है. फिर गणपति  शुद्ध हिन्दू देवता हैं, गणेश चतुर्थी के अवसर पर तो उनका नामजाप समझ में आता है, लकिन मई दिवस पर उनका आह्वान? इससे बड़ा दूषण हो ही नहीं सकता और इसका दंड उन्हें तो किसी न किसी रूप में भुगतना ही पड़ेगा. सो हुआ.

सती  अनामंत्रित अपने पिता दक्ष के घर गई थीं  और अपमान न सह पाने के कारण उन्हें यज्ञ वेदी में ही कूद कर जल  मरना पड़ा . किसी भी जगह बिन बुलाए  नहीं जाना चाहिए, इसकी सीख देने के लिए   यह कथा वे  सुनाते हैं जिन्हें इस समय भी कुछ कथाएँ याद रह गयी हैं. निश्चय ही त्रिथा को यह प्रसंग या तो पता न होगा या वे इसे भूल गईं जब मई दिवस पर जवाहरलाल नेहरु विश्वविद्यालय में  एक वामपंथी छात्र संगठन द्वारा आयोजित एक संगीत संध्या में मंच पर वे  अनामंत्रित गाने चली गईं. एक तो वे स्वयं अनपेक्षित , अतः किंचित अस्वस्तिकर उपस्थिति थीं , दूसरे आयोजकों और श्रोताओं  को , जो मई दिवस पर संघर्ष और क्रान्ति के जुझारू गीत सुन कर अपने शरीर के भीतर जोश  भरने आये थे इसकी आशंका थी कि वे इस पवित्र अवसर पर जाने  क्या गा देंगी. और आखिरकार  उन्होंने इस आशंका को सही साबित कर दिया, जब वे शास्त्रीय संगीत के नाम पर वक्रतुंड, महाकाय …. गाने लगीं. थोड़ी देर पहले जो  सैकड़ों शरीर हिल्लेले हिलोर दुनिया पर झूम रहे थे, उनसे नहींनहीं का शोर उठा. इस छात्र जनता के नेता जनभावना का आदर करते हुए मंच पर पहुंचे और त्रिथा को अपना गाना बीच में रोक कर मंच से जाना पड़ा. Continue reading मई दिवस और गणपति

Letter to the Press Council Chair Person Justice Markandey Katju about SUN News reportage of the arrest of the supporters of the Kudankulam Struggle

Guest Post by V.GEETHA

My name is V. Geetha, and I live in Chennai. I am a writer, with an interest in civil rights issues. I write this note to register my shock and bewilderment at some recent developments in my state. Given your concerns about the relationship between freedom and responsibility as far as the media is concerned, I felt it important to convey some of my – and other peoples’ – misgivings over media reporting of sensitive political events.

Throughout today, March 25, SUN News, part of the SUN TV network, while reporting on three men arrested over the last few days, for supporting the anti-nuclear plant struggle at Kudankulam has alleged they are all ‘Maoists. The channel has further gone on to note that it has got wind of a ‘ naxalite plot’ that is all set to take over the anti-nuclear plant protests at Idinthakarai. Continue reading Letter to the Press Council Chair Person Justice Markandey Katju about SUN News reportage of the arrest of the supporters of the Kudankulam Struggle

On the arrest of Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi

On 7 March, Delhi Police arrested Delhi-based journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi on charges of being part of the plot to kill an Israeli diplomat’s wife in Delhi on 13 February. Many have expressed concern that Kazmi is being falsely implicated. Give below is the text of a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner by the DELHI UNION OF JOURNALISTS, followed by a statement from the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS, and thereafter by a statement issued by a group of citizens.

    9 March 2012 

The Commissioner of Police,
Delhi Police,
New Delhi

Sir: Continue reading On the arrest of Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi

Screening Jashn-e-Azadi at Presidency University, Kolkata: Waled Aadnan

Guest post by Waled Aadnan

It can be said that 86/1 College Street, Calcutta, has seen a microcosm of the history of modern India unfold within its walls. Since 1874 when the already fifty-nine year old Presidency College shifted to its current address, future Presidents and Prime Ministers of  India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; Nobel Laureates, freedom fighters, an Academy Award winner, Bharat Ratnas; the leadership of the Naxalite movement of the 60s and 70s; and eminent judges, writers, journalists, scientists and actors, have spent their student days at 86/1.

Two years ago, soon after I joined the institution, the Left Front government upgraded Presidency College to the status of a state University in a last-gasp bid to hold on to the votes of the bhadralok intellectuals. 2012 dawned with no Student Union elections having been held the previous year, and it is in this backdrop that the following events unfold.

Salman Rushdie’s well-publicised ostracism from the Jaipur Literature Festival was met not with outrage in Presi’s canteen addas, but with the absence of even a poster put up in protest. News filtered in of a seminar in Symbiosis University being “threatened.” But little awareness existed among students who were more inclined to read tabloid-like, unputdownable newspapers than their relatively austere counterparts, including The Hindu which broke the story.

Continue reading Screening Jashn-e-Azadi at Presidency University, Kolkata: Waled Aadnan

Beyond the Four Corners of the Law and the Diggy Palace: Faiz Ullah

Guest post by FAIZ ULLAH


Highstreet Phoenix, an upscale shopping mall, rose from the ashes of Lower Parel’s semi-functional Phoenix Mills in the late nineties’ Bombay. It has since successfully emerged as one of the most popular shopping and leisure destinations for the city’s affluent set. Highstreet Phoenix is just one of the many mills in the South-Central Bombay’s Girangaon that have been leased, sold or redeveloped in contravention of industrial and land-use policies and court judgements especially in the last two decades. These large swathes of urban land, two thirds of which was meant for low-cost housing, civic amenities and open spaces, are being fast converted into exclusive housing societies, office complexes and recreation zones that only a few can access and afford. Such tensions, some like McKinsey & Company (of Vision Mumbai report fame) would say, are inevitable, even necessary, for the cities that aspire to be world class.

Continue reading Beyond the Four Corners of the Law and the Diggy Palace: Faiz Ullah

My friend in Thailand, may you be free

‘Prachatai’ means “free people” in Thai. Prachatai calls itself an online newspaper, with Thai and English versions. You can see the English version here. Prachatai in the Thai internet universe is a bit like this website, Kafila, only a lot more popular. Prachatai’s webmaster, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, is facing trial for comments posted on the site that allegedly violated Thailand’s lese majeste (insulting the monarch) laws. While the lese majeste charges against the person who wrote that comment have been dropped, Chiranuch is still being charged under lese majeste and other laws, including ‘intermediary liability’ laws. Intermediary liability laws in relation to internet freedom mean that if you post a comment on my site that violates the law, I too will be charged as having abetted the crime. India’s cyber crime laws were amended some time ago to remove the intermediary clause, not because the Government of India was concerned about free speech, but because of Ebay India, whose head was charged and arrested when a user uploaded a pornographic ‘MMS’ on Ebay India that featured minors.

I first met Chiranuch at an social media workshop in Thailand, and then again last September in Budapest, Hungary, at a Google conference on internet freedom across the world. It is curcuial to note that upon her return from Budapest, she was arrested, given bail for a very high bail amount, and fresh new charges – and a lot of them – were added against her – clearly, they don’t like her talking about internet freedom. If convicted, she faces up to 50 years in jail! See here an article in The Economist. The trial began today, 4 February, a few hours ago.

Chiranuch could easily have escaped Thailand and taken asylum elsewhere by now. She hasn’t done that because she is consciously fighting a battle for freedom of expression in Thailand. She didn’t want to run away because it would have discouraged, rather than encouraged, that crucial fight.

One expresses solidarity with her, one hopes she is free, and that her case becomes the turning point in the fight from democracy and democratic rights in Thailand. Above all, one salutes her courage. For those who are interested in the details, given below are notes from the Thai Netizen Network.

Continue reading My friend in Thailand, may you be free