Gandhiri, Gandhism and "i hate gandhi" group
Kindly Refer to one of my previous mails about a group on Facebook named “i hate gandhi” . There I had presented the basic facts about the group saying that these people having great fascination for other great patriots, seem to singularly and immensely hate Mahatma Gandhi for many reasons and are using extremely abusive, filthy, dirty and improper language for the Mahatma.
I had said that while there can be views and counterviews on a person, but no one can openly use foul, intemperate and abusive language for any person, least of all for Mahatma Gandhi who is respected and revered by millions across the globe. I had said that these people had gone beyond all limits in using intemperate and abusive language, which shall never be tolerated in any civilized country. I had said that I have sent emails to all of them individually to apologize for their act and to disassociate from such criminal activities of using abusive, filthy and offensive language, also asking the Facebook to immediately disband this group, saying that if appropriate actions are not taken within a period of 15 days, I shall proceed as per law, both against these people and the Facebook.
In the aftermath of my mail, I got a very large number of responses of all kinds. While many of them appreciated and endorsed my work, others disagreed with me. I divide these people in two groups. The first group agreed with me theoretically but said that going for a legal act would be against the basic Gandhian values.
There were another large number of mails that I would particularly like to address. These are the people who are the votaries of freedom, who espouse for liberal values, who believe in freedom of expression and are completely against use of any kind of prohibition on freedom of expression- i.e., complete freedom. Some of these people have even criticized me personally for being pedantic, orthodox, harsh, rhetorical, kill joy, intolerant, bullying, overbearing, hypocritical and what not.
My question to them is- “To what extent can Freedom of expression be extended and misused?” What exactly is freedom of expression? Were the constitutional experts all over the world fools and fanatics to bring in reasonable restrictions upon freedom of expression? Don’t these people know that our Earth possesses many different kinds of groups, associations, thought processes, race, religion, caste, language, gender and so on? Many a times they have contradictory views. While to a French the wearing of turban by a Sikh gentleman might look unnecessary but a Sikh person would be sensitive to it and would not relish critical comments upon this. Similarly a Muslim fellow might not like having academic and in-depth discussions about Mohammad Saheb, it being a matter of faith. A Black person in USA won’t like to have jokes and dirty words spoken against him/her. In our country, speaking wrongful and ill-intended words against persons of certain castes has been declared a serious offence. Many people find themselves in trouble for using words that are insensitive to the women folk. There are many who are fighting for more dignity to the people on the fringes of the society, like the third gender, the Gay, the lesbians, variously handicapped and so on.
I completely agree with this attitude that on matters of faith and sensitivity, we need to have extra-precaution and care. No one has the right to play with others emotions and feelings. In the same vein, when we are so sensitive to all these groups, so as not even to use bad-sounding words about them, why does one think that Mahatma Gandhi is the easiest Punching bag on this Earth on whom any Tom-Dick or Harry can come and vomit whatever cruel, dirty, venomous, obnoxious, filthy words one feels like? Is it because people feel that since Gandhi was a staunch follower of Ahimsa (non-violence) and hence his followers being the same, they can be taken for granted as being harmless and thus safe to use any dirty and offensive word?
And if one of Gandhi’s followers comes forth and says that he would resort to legal action, these people start condemning this very person as being close-minded, regimental, retrograde, hypocritical and so on. I don’t find anything more incorrect, illogical and improper.
I again say that freedom of speech and expression guarantee certain rights to every individual, including possibly to love and hate Mahatma Gandhi and to express it in words or otherwise. But it has to be within the bounds of decency, morality and propriety. Here I end by saying that not adopting legal measures for illegal acts is neither Gandhism nor Gandhigiri.
Currently at IIM Lucknow