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Monday, Nov 21, 2005
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Letters to the Editor
Hats off to the editorial, `Intolerance that is intolerable,' (Nov. 19) in support of the right to freedom of speech and expression. Particularly the last two sentences "Also some safeguard needs to be devised, especially in cases involving larger issues of public tranquillity, against private complainants who drag people to court on allegations of offending some group merely to harass and silence them. Meanwhile, governments at different levels and democratic forces need to stand firm against incipient Talibanism of the kind represented by vicious targeting of Kushboo, Suhasini, and Sania" are to be taken note of by the legislators and other people concerned with human liberty.
The editorial is a masterpiece. All the same, Ms. Kushboo and Ms. Suhasini, who have through devotion to work and extraordinary talent risen to stupendous heights, could have avoided talking on such subjects. They do not deserve this humiliation.
This refers to the editorial on the sordid tarring exercise by a group of moral police in Tamil Nadu. If I must get the sanction of these "cops" before answering a query on how to protect an unmarried girl from parenthood, let there be a law prohibiting spouting of personal opinion on matters biological or moral. That the Supreme Court would strike down such laws is certain but the new moral police are out to out-Taliban the Afghan variety.
Indeed it is heartening that The Hindu has raised its voice against the "incipient Talibanism" of the kind represented by a few political parties in Tamil Nadu masquerading as the latest saviours of Tamils and Tamil culture. At the same time, it is sad that all other democratic forces, especially those in the UPA conglomerate, are silent on the issue.
The language used to abuse Ms. Kushboo by a few self-styled "upholders of Tamil culture," telecast by some TV channels, has brought shame to all Tamils. By choosing to remain silent, the other mainstream parties are seemingly condoning this abuse of Ms. Kushboo and what she has come to represent freedom of speech.
You have pointedly mentioned the legal tussle that such controversies entail. It is up to the judiciary to ensure that one's freedom of expression is not made a tool of by self-serving groups to seek legal remedies against their targets. Women's groups have to be proactive in building public opinion against the incipient Talibanism in our society.
The support extended by the All-India Democratic Women's Association to Ms. Kushboo is a welcome move. How can a person, in a democratic country like ours, be vilified for expressing her or his views? All citizens have the right to participate in debate and comment on events happening in our vicinity.
Regardless of the support extended to them, I am concerned about the safety of the two actresses given the desperation of some of our politicians.
Actually, people should be grateful to Ms. Kushboo for advising young men and women to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; the young generally heed advice from film stars. Instead, the actress is being attacked!
Hypocrisy and pseudo-concern have become the order of the day. That is why, despite speaking the truth, Ms. Kushboo has had to face opposition.
An uncalled-for controversy. The law of the land ensures the right to freedom of expression to all citizens without any discrimination.
J. Evangeline Divya,
The controversy about Ms. Kushboo's comments is unwarranted. The general public should awake to such machinations of politicians and instead concentrate on improving their lives.
The growing attacks verbal, mental, and visual on the hapless actress duo, one for her views and another for expressing her solidarity with her, is a manifestation of male chauvinism. It is time all right thinking men call a halt to this propaganda and allow freedom of expression.
R. Ramachandra Rao,
The attack against the two actresses by some "guardians" of Tamil culture is unfortunate. Where were these "saviours" when a few years ago a young girl was attacked in broad daylight by a group of students in front of a Chennai cinema? Why is it that none of these party cadres come forward to give voice to the hapless women who endure sexual harassment at their work places and elsewhere?
R. Anjoo Sharon,
The Kushboo issue has been unnecessarily blown out of proportion by publicity-seeking petty politicians. These people, who accord scant respect to culture, nevertheless have the courage to talk about it. The actress has been driven into a situation similar to the one in which writer Salman Rushdie was in some years ago.
Amidst all the hue and cry about intolerance, it has to be said that those who have claimed to be on the right side of a sensitive issue have not done their cause any good by adopting a belligerent attitude towards the alleged misguided souls.
They could have toed a more sensible line of warning both the allegedly misled ones and society in general about the tragic consequences of indiscretion in sexual conduct.
Your editorial appears a bit unjust. One should not forget that any civilisation requires tranquillity for its sustained existence. When someone tries to upset this balance in the name of modern thinking, all hell breaks loose. The protesters' freedom of speech is as important as that of Ms. Kushboo.
Uncontrolled freedom of expression substantially influences people who are immature or undecided. It is the duty of celebrities who have thousands of followers and fans to act responsibly.
Haseeb Ahmad Khan,
I wonder why there is so much media attention on the present issue. Are there not enough matters of serious concern for the public and the media to debate on?
N. Yateesh Prakrit,
People should show some restraint in expressing their opinions either for or against a view that has been widely accepted.
This is a typical example of making a mountain of a molehill. Politicians and actors always want to remain in the limelight by talking and doing something or the other no matter what it means.
After a while, the general public loses interest in the issue and the celebrities will have attained their objective.
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