Monday, October 05, 2015

On free speech in India

Postscript at the start - it may be best to first read MEMRI's Tufail Ahmad - he captures the sentiment accurately: "India's Thought Cops are Angry with Modi".


Let it also be absolutely clear that there is no justification for a lynching or a murder.  There are time-honored methods of protest available in India, such as the Gherao and the Dharna. There is no indication that the aggrieved tried these methods.

In the New York Times, Ms. Sonia Faleiro makes the claim:
IN today’s India, secular liberals face a challenge: how to stay alive.
There is some truth to it;  Bangladeshi writer, Taslima Nasreen, who had taken asylum in India, fled to New York City earlier this year, after the government could not secure her against further Islamist threats emanating from Bangladesh.

Oh, sorry, wrong topic.

In the assassinations of 3 rationalists, the investigative agencies are making progress.  Just a couple of days before Ms. Faleiro's screed, the Hindu reported:
Documents seized from Samir Gaikwad — an accused under arrest in connection with the murder of social activist Govind Pansare — indicate a link to the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and noted scholar M.M. Kalburgi.
Mr. Gaikwad is a full-time member of extreme right wing Hindu organisation, Sanatan Sanstha, which has its headquarters in Goa’s Ramnathi village.
which is not exactly the center of the Indian universe.  Anyway, we have to wait and see if the agencies come up with enough to launch a prosecution.

Supposedly, the ruling party at the center not speaking about this is some kind of crime.  Anyway, in other worrisome news, no one is talking about 
IN today’s Uttar Pradesh, journalists face a challenge: how to stay alive.
A TV journalist was assassinated a couple of days ago; it was the third assassination in four months in Uttar Pradesh.  The motive for the killings seems clear, these journalists were touching on the government-mafia nexus.    But Uttar Pradesh is not ruled by a "right wing Hindu Nationalist Party" and so the journalists of the New York Times cannot spare two lines for their martyred colleagues in that state.

Oh, by the way, the Prime Minister has not publicly condemned these murders either, so no doubt, by Faleiro logic, he must be complicit in them.  Somehow.

Comment:  if Americans wanted to comment on, say, Hungary, there is not a lot of English press, and so what Krugman puts on his NYT blog may have to suffice; but with India there is available, on the web, free -- not behind paywalls -- the national English press; and yet Americans are happy to make categorical comments about India without bothering to even keep up with that press.  People who do so are to be shunned like the plague.

I'll contrast with the Pakistan watchers on BRF - the Pakistani English press is avidly consumed,  there are a few who follow the Urdu; and the Urdu broadcast media is also followed.    Some people also keep track of prominent Pakistanis on social media; and others follow Pakistani forums online (e.g.,   Yet, opinion emanating from there, no matter how informed, is likely to be dismissed offhand.  Yet spout off about "the threat posed by India's Hindu nationalism" and sound both learned and liberal!  And for Americans, a master of foreign affairs; a globally conscious citizen of the world!!

As to Sonia Faleiro herself, she seems to be of the school that Hindus are superstitious, but the miracles of the Bible are true religion.