Thursday, December 21, 2006

Freedom of expression

Most of you will have seen Sangeeta's email update by now where she's talked about writing and painting. Sangeeta writes about recent events and subjects that move her for The Afternoon, Mumbai. I thought I'd add to her email by posting excerpts from two of her most recent articles, Maqbool Fida Hindustan Par...! and The Afzal hanging.... with a link to the rest that have appeared till date
Maqbool Fida Hindustan Par…!
Saturday, November 25, 2006 8:50:6 IST

I felt really bad reading about Hussain being trapped in London, pining for home, longing to walk through the streets of Byculla and Grant Road but being advised not to return thanks to the nine hundred cases filed against him! Couldn’t help thinking of Bahadur Shah Zafar similarly home sick and exiled in Burma writing poignantly about not getting even two yards in his homeland for a burial! The man is ninety-one years old. If he does not come home now when will he come? He has apologised for unintentionally hurting the sentiments of people and even offered to destroy work that a three-member committee comprising a VHP member an art critic and a lawyer might find objectionable. But for the twenty nine thousand people who have signed a petition against him on the net this is not good enough.

The Afzal hanging....
20th Oct 2006

The Afzal hanging has generated much debate and hysteria in the last couple of weeks gaining momentum with each day. It is a relief for the moment that October 20th has come and gone without a hanging. Apart from anything else both religions can afford to be spared the distress and drama of a controversial hanging bang in the middle of the festive season!

I too was one of the signatories in the ‘Save Afzal Petition’ on the net. My comment was simply when in doubt say no. Don’t hang Afzal till you are certain that it is the right thing to do. Having done that, the truth is that all this doubt over the sentence has arisen thanks to a flurry of activity and media coverage that has unfortunately come a little too late in the day. Why did all these activists remain silent for so long? If Afzal’s defense was inadequate or even nonexistent why are people organizing morchas now and not more appropriately at the time. Public opinion is a vital factor in a Democracy why was this tool not used to it’s fullest earlier instead of leaving it till days before the execution of the sentence and the culprit!

and the photograph above is of a painting of hers that I like very much.

You can read the rest of the first article on the web and the 2nd article is an exclusive and has been posted only to the yahoo group folders. Another incentive to join up :D