An open letter to my fellow Indians
Before I lose connect with the reality of the world around me, this open letter is aimed at clearing out my thoughts before my fellow citizens. If the freedom of speech is really under threat, how come restless voices are earning more and more airtime on television debates. Evidently, the cacophony over freedom of expression or speech itself is a self-defeating argument. In first place, how can freedom of speech be under threat in the country that is one of the largest markets for social media platforms such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram among others. In fact, freedom of speech was never so high before the times we are living in today.
Last week, I came across a film by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC TV) that is claiming to have investigated the transactions of a leading Indian corporate house. ABC TV’s feature 4 Corners provided platform to a member of parliament from the opposition party, an opinionated journalist besides a former bureaucrat and a scholar from a think tank. All four of them aggressively criticised a successful entrepreneur and they portrayed India as a lawless nation without a trace of fear. If an opposition leader, critical journalist, former IAS officer and think tank can speak on camera of the international media, I sense we are wasting our time discussing freedom of speech unnecessarily.
And this is not an end of my argument. I have never seen Chinese or Japanese media or politicians or bureaucrats (and they don’t have think tanks to my knowledge) ever harming their national interests or reputation by taking on own government systems or corporations for acquiring natural resources overseas. On the other hand, likes of Jairam Ramesh and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta have come handy to the elements trying to destabilize our nation. This kind of people has mastered the art of fabricating narratives suiting to their current political positions and materialistic aspirations.
I am a believer of democracy and believe in respecting the mandate of the nation when it comes to India’s constitutional posts such as President and Prime Minister. However, at the cost of being labelled as a Bhakt, let me venture into some more details. Since, majority of the opposition leaders and their agent activists have failed to take on Narendra Modi, they have intensified their attacks on Gujarat based Adani Group.
My knowledge about such large houses is inadequate to pass any judgment against them or their promoters. But I strongly feel that these corporations have helped India to become world’s one fastest growing economy today. Without these entrepreneurs, our populated nation would have remained deprived of very basic necessities. As a consumer, I share a special relationship with each and every large corporate house of this country. These entrepreneurs have ensured better and happier life and lifestyle by improving standards of products and services that we cannot live without. These corporations have allowed me to enjoy energy security. They have allowed me travel faster and safer. They have allowed me to enjoy food from tamper proof packaging. They have enabled me to use imported mobile handset and rapid internet service to enjoy Freedom of Speech to reach out to the world. These entrepreneurs are making India and the world, a better place.
If Jairams and Pranjoys think that these corporations are devils, they should leave the cosy and secure national capital and start living without amenities such as uninterrupted electricity and gas supplies. Going back to the stone age will protect the environment as they will give up their highflying life to perform what they are preaching. Jairams and Pranjoys should stop using imported mobile handsets so that India does not have to build ports anymore. It will also protect Indian image and economy since international journalists will not be able to reach Jairams and Pranjoys. If these characters find building oil refineries and airports unethical, Jairams and Pranjoys should give up their SUVs and stop flying frequently. If they believe in what they are vocally speaking, they should stop using anything and everything that these entrepreneurs have created for humankind.
In past couple of years, those who were not known even own neighbourhood have earned national fame as television channels are giving airtime to debates increasing while any loud mouth can manage to trend on Twitter. This would have not happened if freedom of speech was under attack. Let us do our job and stop listening to those exercising their right of speech to preach us about lack of freedom of expression.
A Free Indian
The above article is written by Bhaavna Arora