THE PANTOMIME PANTALOON

A couple of days back, Ahmedabad police registered an FIR against Ashis Nandy, a renowned sociologist and political critic (who received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize and named as one of the top 100 public intellectuals of the world by the magazine, Foreign Policy), under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) in reaction to an article he wrote analysing the outcome of the 2007 Gujarat assembly poll.

A vacation bench of supreme court comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and G.S.Singhvi fired few questions to the public prosecutor Hemantika Wahi, "What has he written? Why should he be prosecuted? What is the investigation to be carried out in this case? Why are people coming from the land of Mahatma Gandhi so intolerant towards such criticism?" and concluded that "We do not find it objectionable. If a journalist cannot write what he feels, then it will be disastrous for the country"

Reading between the lines: The SC bench, in reply to Nandy's anticipatory bail, mentioned "He is 71 years old. Let him live in peace". It seems that in a democracy like India, one has to wait till the age of 70's to get the freedom of expression (A better alternative is becoming a politician).

Still, I have 5 more decades to go.

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