Dear Mr. Rahul Gandhi,
Some JNU students chanted slogans wishing destruction of India and when action was taken against them, you and your party took their side citing the cause of freedom of expression.
I would like to point out two things about Freedom of Expression.
First, freedom of expression is not a wild card or a blank check the way you are imagining it. It does not give you right to yell “Fire” in the middle of a packed theater or “Bomb” in the middle of a flying airplane, neither does it give you right to shout “I will kill you” at a fellow human being without repercussions. The chants of “Death to India” are exactly that, a threat.
Second, freedom of expression indeed gives you right to express freely provided you use this for betterment of community that bestows such right. It comes with an implied responsibility to earn trust of the said people. With chants of ‘Death to India’, those who chanted those slogans have directly threatened the country and lost the country’s trust and henceforth as a country, we are not willing to tolerate their actions and if we choose to retaliate within the premises of law, it is within our right of self defense.
You are more than welcome to use freedom of expression to cast doubt, provide constructive criticism or share a different perspective and thereby add value to the discussion. But what happened at JNU is abuse of such freedom and must be dealt with in strictest possible terms.
You see Mr. Gandhi, India does not exist so that freedom of expression can be practiced. Freedom of expression is permitted in India because that creates necessary environment for progress of Indian society. And if at times the expression turns and threatens the very country and community that nurtured it, it has to be curtailed. We are not alone in curtailing it. In Europe you can be jailed for denying Jewish holocaust. In USA, you can be denied entry to board a plane if you write articles in support of Islamic State. In Saudi Arabia, you an be jailed for praising any God other than Allah.
Not just freedom of expression but advocating practice of any noble value like non-violence or compassion or forgiveness IN ABSOLUTE is dangerously delusional. These values have to be practiced in a balanced manner in order to ensure survival. If you decided to practice absolute non-violence, it dictates you kill no plant or animal, thus pretty much sealing starvation and death as your only fate. That might be OK for some saints, but that’s not OK for me or my family or my friends or my community. Same goes for freedom of expression. If freedom of expression thrives but India dies, it is of no value to me.
It has indeed happened in the past. Blindly followed good values have caused destruction of the very people who followed them. The American Indians welcomed the Immigrant Europeans with open arms as guests, only to lose their land and people in the end. Persian kings fought with Chengiz Khan following “the noble code of warriors”, only to have the entire nation of Persia looted and the people massacred by Khan and his armies. I have no desire to add India to that list.
Moral of the story. There is no absolute freedom of anything anywhere. And India does not need to be an exception.
P.S: You are deeply traumatized by your massive loss to BJP and you are behaving like a headless chicken. All of your actions are coming out of that traumatized feeling and they make no sense for our country. Please gather yourself.