Growing intolerance?


The Editorial (“Sedition annoyance”, October 8) is a grim reminder of the height of intolerance towards freedom of expression. India’s pluralistic society has seen disturbances on religious lines, but never before has anyone felt that the country is treading the dangerous path of religious polarisation as we see it now.

It is painful to see the secular fabric which has been woven together with mutual understanding and harmony since Independence, being shredded which even those of standing in the ruling party are turning a blind eye to and intentionally so — and all the more worrying. If true patriots have FIRs slapped on them for their genuine concern about secularism, then the plight of the common man who dares to raise a finger against the establishment on religious intolerance, is anybody’s guess. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister should concentrate on good governance which includes facing criticism and the press, allaying the fears and concerns of people instead of always keeping the country on tenterhooks and focusing on development in the run-up to elections rather than on the planks of hyper-nationalism and Hindutva.

G.B. Sivanandam,



The perception is that the government seems to be looking at “dictatorial rule”. I still remember my uncle, a staunch Congressman, taking active part in the freedom struggle, shouting the slogan ‘Vande Matharam’ when a police van passed our house in Madurai. He was arrested for just raising a slogan. The open letter only highlighted the issue of lynching. Winston Churchill’s comments to the New Statesman of 1939 are relevant: “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.”

D. Sethuraman,


It is becoming increasingly clear that proxies are playing mischief and trying to silence those who are outspoken. The government appears to be encouraging this by looking the other way while the judiciary is not acting firm. Such cases should not be allowed to continue for the sake of harmony and good neighbourly conduct.

V. Padmanabhan,


The democratic strength of a nation is assessed by how its citizens can freely express their thoughts and views despite being caustic to the ruling dispensation or those who are majoritarian. By framing charges of sedition against eminent people, the notion of intolerance has only been strengthened. Criticism of government is not sedition.

Gagan Pratap Singh,

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Sedition arises out of demonstrable crime against the state and not out of disenchantment with it. It is a pity that we should be revisiting the days of the Raj. It is an anachronism that the notion of freedom of speech being above all liberties is under siege in this day and age. Free expression is a product of application of sane human intellect to an issue at hand to then help enrich discourse. Today, as intellectualism itself is sought to be branded as anti-national, few are prepared to nurture the very sap that feeds the spirit of men, society and nations.

R. Narayanan,

Navi Mumbai

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 2:30:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/growing-intolerance/article29620877.ece

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