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Dedicated to “Bharat” and “Dharma”

Charlie Chaplin’s statue? Over my dead body…

*** UPDATE ***

Pl. see my comment at # 12 and Nanda’s at # 13.


This is a very hurried (but almost effortless) post…the kind of post in which words simply flow out (or almost type themselves out).

Many of you (by now) must have read about the “attack” on Charlie Chaplin’s “statue” in Udupi, Karnataka (e.g. BJP activists attack ‘Christian’ Chaplin statue).

Leaving aside the “sensationalisation” of the incident (I could not find a description of any “attack” in the report above; it mentions BJP activists “blocked” the installation of the statue) – and there is no denying the political overtones – the real question that no one seems to have asked is:

How does one sensibly define “hurting sentiments”?

How does one establish boundaries for freedom of expression?

When and how do these boundaries get re-defined?

And if one probles deeper, how about these questions:

  • Is a statue of Hitler in front of a synagogue hurting someone’s sentiments?
  • Is a statue of Vivekananda in front of a abattoir hurting someone’s sentiments?
  • Is publishing “Satanic Verses” hurting someone’s sentiments?
  • Is carrying a copy of “Satanic Verses” hurting someone’s sentiments?
  • Is distributing a booklet with negative description of Hindu deities hurting someone’s sentiments?

This is the REAL debate we need to have.

Do you really feel a (temporary) statue of Charlie Chaplin in front of a temple hurts Hindu sentiments? My answer: a resounding NO.

Let us not bring Hinduism down to this level.

I would like to close with this comment from my good friend Sanjay:

(This is an example of) How intolerance and Taliban like behaviour propagated by lumpen elements, watched by an emasculated state, encouraged by socio-political opportunists of the worst kind and motivated by a fuzzy & incoherent idea of a nation can lead to ever increasing excesses while sliding down the slope to medievalism.

What do readers think? I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

P.S. This report makes no mention of either the attack or the BJP – and apparently the trouble started more than 10 days ago.

Related Posts:

Leave Ashis Nandy alone 

MF Husain, Artistic Freedom and a sense of deja-vu

My Personal View on MF Husain’s Paintings 

UPDATED: Is Taslima being treated differently from MF Husain?

March 17th, 2009 Posted by | Current Affairs, Debates & Discussions, Hindu Dharma, Indian Media, Politics and Governance in India | 44 comments


  1. A temporary statue of Charlie Champlin in the vicinity of a temple cannot be problem, but as far as I know, the statue was to be of permanent nature to attract tourists etc., Follow the link: http://www.newkerala.com/topstory-fullnews-106151.html

    Now read this: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hanuman_statue_triggers_row_in_Kanyakumari/rssarticleshow/3538213.cms

    Just google and you can find more on these. The Hanuman statue was ultimately forced to be carted out of Sun Set point due to the objection raised by Christians.

    Now why this double standard, one for Hindus and one for others ? Are hindus third class citizens in this country ? Are hindus to be insulted for everything and by every tom, dick and harry ?

    Do you really feel a (temporary) statue of Charlie Chaplin in front of a temple hurts Hindu sentiments? My answer: a resounding NO.

    Will you please comment on this : 1) When the Charlie Chaplin statue near the temple is of permanent nature. 2) When no so called torch bearers of secularism opened their mouth when Christians did not allow a Hanuman Statue to be installed at Sun Set point and forced it to be carted out. 3) Is this not DOUBLE STANDARD. 4) Is this the secularism we want ?

    Comment by KSV SUBRAMANIAN | March 17, 2009

  2. i support mr.ksv.subramanian .Its too late to know the meaning of demoralised word called secularism ? we hindus should be alert and awake ,enough is enough, if our dharma preaches us not to be offensive doesnot mean that we should take secularism for granted.

    Comment by yogashree | March 17, 2009

  3. I find it weird that we’re discussing an issue of whether the statue was/is of a Christian or Hindu or whatever. The question is whether the relevant law was followed & whether issues of budget, appropriateness of a statue (could the money have been spent on something else? If a statue has to be installed, what’s the appropriate one – say a mosaic, art etc but independent of religion), aesthetics etc were followed. Who decides this – local governments based on the law and constitution. Installing or de-installing a statute (or for that matter, anything else) because it is of a particular religion isn’t what secular, pluralistic Hinduism is all about.

    Comment by Sanjay | March 17, 2009

  4. Shantanu,

    I agree that quoting religious sentiments isn’t among the best arguments against the statue. However, the local BJP leaders have said that the protest had nothing to do with Chaplin being a Christian. http://nharipra.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/why-charlie-they-are-making-a-chaplin-out-of-us/

    But the question begs to be asked, how is Chaplin’s statue appropriate on a beach around Mangalore ? How many people in and around Mangalore know Chaplin or can identify with him that a statue needs to be built in his honour ? What has he done for the Mangaloreans that a 67 foot statue needs to be built in a _public space_ ? If the intention was to promote “humourous” people, Mangalore’s very own Rampanna is far more a suitable candidate when compared to Charlie Chaplin.

    Art needs to be appreciated. Good art needs to be promoted. I could completely understand if they hold some kind of a “Charlie Chaplin” film festival to showcase the man’s talent’s. But should good art be “forced” down the throats of people? Asking for a statue of an arbitrary person to be erected, and expecting the society to appreciate it, might be asking for a bit too much.

    Comment by ego | March 17, 2009

  5. @Shanthanu
    If you notice, the objection by the local youths are due to the following reasons, and I prefer to stand by them
    1. Its a permanent structure which is being raised for no reason. Udupi people are not ardent Chaplin fans, so this is a meaningless permenant fixture by a movie director.
    2. What is the connection between Chaplin and Udipi beach (while they even rejected hanuman from kanyakumar beach inspite of a very valid reason)
    2. Erecting this in the beach is not a great idea as it is more of an obstruction to the people who has no need of this statue
    3. The sanctity of the religious place is disturbed as it becomes a tourist attraction. We know how different Indian cities have been spoined due to bad tourism management.
    4. Chaplin has no statues even in his birth place, what is the need to politicising this? Biggest i’ve seen is the 6ft status in leichester square. We as Indians should be ashamed that we want to raise statue for Chaplin which noone cares but we don’t know even basics of Indian history.
    5. Even if everyone tries to politicise this, why the Hanuman temple was not allowed in the place where from he started the magnificiant journey to Srilanka? At the same time, what is the historical connection between Chaplin and Udupi?

    I would like tell everyone that I was personally one of the aspirants to see Sri Hanuman in Kanyakumari facing the sea, and I was personally part of the group which attended his kumbabishekam at a place called ‘Maharanyam’ where he was shifted to ultimately due to some religious fanatics in south tamilnadu.

    Please I request you to update your article if my points make any sense.

    Comment by Nanda | March 17, 2009

  6. KSV, Yogashree, Sanjay, Ego and Nanda: Thanks for the comments and sharing more details…

    Am a little tied up throughout the day but hope to respond later tonight…

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 17, 2009

  7. Dear Shantanu

    The theory of freedom would analyse this based on the following facts:

    – whose land was it? If private land, a person can put up a statue inside his house so long as it is not particularly offensive (which is why elected local councils can determine certain proprieties of this sort)

    – if on public land, then was the decision taken by a duly authorised and elected local council?

    – If not the problem is lack of local representation and needs to be fixed by establishing appropriate local governments that represent the poeople.

    – if the decision was taken by a duly elected local council (such things don’t exist in India, being a sham – but if it was) with authorisation to spend money on this then the question is what was its purpose and what was intended to be achieved by it? Has that purpose been achieved? Then it is an audit issue, not a democracy issue nor a property rights issue.

    Note that religious symbols/statues (which are best found in temples) are simply not comparable with statues of real persons. A statue of Charlie Chaplin is comparable in principle to a statue of Gandhi (a real person). I’m not saying Chaplin is on par with Gandhi, but the concept here is quite unlike that of a religious symbol. So we can’t compare a Hanuman statue with a Chaplin statue.

    – if public funds were spent on Chaplin’s statue by a few bureaucrats and politicians out of their private whim without democratic consent, these people need to be punished severely for spending taxpayer money frivolously.

    I suggest that the concept of freedom of expression doesn’t much enter this case. Issues involved would largely include property rights, appropriate democratic consent, appropriate audit of expenditure if public expenditure, etc.

    Re: the alleged attack, no comment – that is a law and order matter.

    Not having more info, these are some of the possible, broad considerations.


    Comment by Sanjeev Sabhlok | March 17, 2009

  8. @Sanjeev,

    Law, property rights, democratic consent and audit of expenditure cannot identify appropriateness of the issue at hand.

    Local councils will not have answers to justifications like “art purposes”, “tourist attraction” and so on. In such cases, what is “right” is more important than mere absence of “wrong”.

    Regards, Hari

    Comment by Hariprasad Nellitheertha | March 17, 2009

  9. The most shameful thing is the media’s attempt to convert this to a religious thing. Based on my Udipi friend, the argument was more towards ‘why this status is required’, rather than a christian angle to it. If the fight is for protecting the spiritual environment in the viscinity, it does not mean that we need to bring christianity into that.

    @Sri Sanjeev,
    Reason for bringing Hanuman is, there is no reason to deny Hanuman in kanyakumari beach, but everyone finds so many reasons for installing Chaplin in udipi beach. Comparision is not between Hanuman and Chaplin statues, but the comparison is about the intent between these two.

    Comment by Nanda | March 17, 2009

  10. Dear Mr. Sabhlok,

    Of course, Hanumanji and Charlie Chaplin are incomparable. But rights are equal for others. If somebody wants to erect a temporary structure/statue it is OK. If a permanent structure is erected, that too near a temple, affected or aggrieved persons have a right to object. That is why many of the persons, including me, did not think it proper to write or say anything against the objection for erecting the Hanumanji statue. But if a Charlie Chaplin statue can be erected, surely the statue of Hanumanji who is venerated by many can also be erected. Laws are applicable equally to all. Selective secularism, selective human rights, selective artistic rights, selective freedom of expression have become the order of the day.

    I am not against Charlie Chaplin. I enjoyed and still enjoy his movies. The director of the film could have found out any other suitable place away from the temple or could have erected a temporary statue for the film at the same place after discussing the matter with locals rather than going hammer and tongs against a particular community and vitiating the atmosphere. But after all it is a question of selective secularism.

    Comment by KSV SUBRAMANIAN | March 17, 2009

  11. @KSV Subramanian
    I agree with you, though I do question the reason for rejecting Hanuman statue in the place from where he took off his most important journey. Because the only reason was that there are more christians in that area. Even after getting panchayat approval, Sri Hanuman had to be removed because of anti-hindu govt authorities.
    In this case its much different, there is no sensible reason to have Chaplin statue in udipi beach, not even a religious reason.

    Comment by Nanda | March 17, 2009

  12. @ KSV: Thanks for the links…If the statue was indded meant to be permanent, a host of other issues cropu up…but I would still not protest against this on “hurting my religious sentiments” grounds.

    As for the statue in Kanyakumari, I believe it was removed because appropriate permissions/approvals were not obtained…Of course, as you and I both know, you can get away with a lot in India – depending on who you are and the dispensation of the powers that be.

    And yes, there should be no double standards…The law must be blind to religion/caste and other things.

    To answer your specific question: If the statue is (was) meant to be permanent, I presume the local panchayat and district administration has (had) granted permission for that…If such a permission has not been granted, the statue should not be allowed to come up.


    @ Sanjay: Thanks for bringing the discussion on track…Partly this is my fault…I had assumed that the underlying issue was one of “freedom of expression”…Looks like there were other angles to the story.

    As you rightly said, “The question is whether the relevant law was followed & whether issues of budget, appropriateness of a statue (could the money have been spent on something else?”


    @ Ego: Thanks for the link…It does seem that the TOI was over-eager in their reporting…See BarbarIndian’s excellent take on ythis: arbarIndian’s post on this issue: http://barbarindians.blogspot.com/2009/03/men-women-and-statues.html

    And I grant you these points: “…should good art be “forced” down the throats of people? Asking for a statue of an arbitrary person to be erected, and expecting the society to appreciate it, might be asking for a bit too much.”


    @ Nanda: Thanks for summarising the main points…The point about this being permanent does change the story significantly….I have seen conflicting reports in this though…Can someone from the area (or who knows the situation there) clarify whether this was meant for the film shoot or as a permanent exhibit?


    @ Sanjeev: Great analysis…You (and Sanjay) are right…This has less to do with “freedom of expression” than I thought…and more to do with property rights, law and order, democratic consent etc,


    @ Hari: What would be “right” in your opinion?


    @ Nanda: I agree: “The most shameful thing is the media’s attempt to convert this to a religious thing.”


    @ KSV: Let us frame this sentence: “Laws are applicable equally to all” Sadly the reality in present day India – as all of us know – is different.

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 17, 2009

  13. Shantanu,
    I have a friend from Udipi who mentioned that, the protesters gave their consent for erecting temperory statue and they were protesting only for permanent status. I visit udipi few times a year and I could believe what he said.

    Regarding Hanuman, after panchayat approval was obtained, no one told about further approvals. Suddenly the district administration influenced by the local christian fishermen and the ateist (read anti-hindu) govt forced the trust to move the already erected statue. This is the country where these people erected churches and mosques in hindu majority area. It would be interesting to write a separate post on that.

    Now that the story is changing about chaplin issue, I am keeping my fingers crossed to see an update in the main post.

    Comment by Nanda | March 18, 2009

  14. @ Nanda: Have mentioned your comment in update…

    It is still not clear to me whether the initial “approval” from the authorities (if it was sought) was for a temporary or a permanent statue…

    Also: was there ANY religious angle to this protest? Is/was the site facing a temple – as some reports seem to mention?


    Comment by B Shantanu | March 18, 2009

  15. This incident exposes yet again the despicable state of reporting and journalism in India, with different versions of the event and no one knows for sure what the facts are.

    Comment by Kaffir | March 18, 2009

  16. And that leads to the question: What is news in India, and why should we respond in a knee-jerk fashion to this “news”? Maybe it’s best to focus on the bigger picture and ignore these filler local “news” items which are necessitated by the 24-hour news cycle, and result in only getting people of all ideological colors riled up, but do not lead to any dialog, deeper analysis or solutions to the problems. In other words, a waste of time and energy.

    As a wise person said, if there is some news that is important and relevant enough, you will find out about it without having read it or seen it on TV. It’s good to limit the mental food one feeds to the intellect, as these “news” items are equivalent of junk food.

    Comment by Kaffir | March 18, 2009

  17. @ Kaffir: Trust me…I have learnt my lesson!

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 18, 2009

  18. @Shantanu,
    I assume you were referring to ‘initial approval’ for Chaplin statue. I am not clear as well about what approval the movie maker obtained.
    I believe there is religious angle as well, in the sense, a motiveless statue like this spoiling the spiritual environment for which Udupi is known for.

    I am sure a memorial chaplin statue in front a temple won’t bother anyone, but it is bound to bother when it is huge one attracting tourists who spoil the environment of the devotees coming to the temple. So, I can understand why a materialistic tourist attraction would be protested against when it is few feet in front of a spiritual attraction. There are plenty of churches around the udupi temple, but noone is bothered though. This should throw some light.

    Interestingly, DMK installed statue of ‘Periyar’ who is a staunch anti-hindu (more than an ateist) right in front of the big famous Tricy Sriramgam temple dwara. This hurts hindus as well, but by virtue of their tolerance, they didn’t prevent it though few protested in vain.

    Comment by Nanda | March 18, 2009

  19. *** COMMENT DELETED ***

    *** NOTE by MODERATOR ***

    This was a “copy and paste” of a part of Nanda’s earlier comment.

    Pl. share your original thoughts. Thanks

    Comment by Watch Online Movies | March 18, 2009

  20. Only difference is Hanuman was a mythological and fictional character and Charlie Chaplin was real. Lol. By the way, Chaplin was not at all religious. So, it wouldn’t have upset any religious sentiment. It’s like setting up a statue of Gandhi in front of a church.

    Comment by Balasubramanium | March 18, 2009

  21. The statue is illegal.

    See this link.

    So what’s the fuss all about? “Hindu extremists block Chaplin statue!!!” Give me a break…

    Comment by Indian | March 18, 2009

  22. @Indian: This has to be the last word on the subject!


    All: Below are excerpts from Indian’s link:

    The organisers of the film, House Full, had neither applied for the licence from local gram panchayat nor moved papers to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the department of Coastal Regulatory Zone… any permanent construction within 500 metres from the seashore amounts to violation of the CRZ norms.

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 19, 2009

  23. @Balasubramanium,

    Very interesting. So are Allah and Jesus fictitious and mythological characters too?

    Comment by Charulata | March 19, 2009

  24. Dear Shantanu,

    Capture this before it disappears!

    Nuns treated like servants by priests: Cardinal

    Comment by Kiran P | March 19, 2009

  25. Kiran,

    We seem to be discussing an issue of media bias and larger-than-life statues here. I failed to notice either of these issues in your post. Care to explain the connection for our edification??

    Or, if you were in too much of a hurry to share this juicy bit, would you like to read your Bible about the mote in the neighbour’s eye?

    Comment by Jayadevan | March 19, 2009

  26. @ Kiran: Off topic…I’m letting it stay this time around but may be forced to delete such comments in future..

    Pl. stick to the discussion in hand…

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 19, 2009

  27. @Shantanu, after seeing this entry, I feel that Biased Indian Media might be getting good success in their propaganda – anti-Hindu – as even you believed (well, for some time at least) in what the TOI(let) paper ad Co. wanted to show you.

    Just imagine what effect these pseudo-secs will be having on majority of people who are unaware of their loyalties!

    Comment by Hemant | March 20, 2009

  28. @Kiran,

    Don’t you dare write anything against Christian Padris !

    Convent-educated Jayadevan will get apoplectic if you write anything against such great saints. Talk about a steadfast loyalty of Biblical proportions …. Angrez chale gaye, lekin ghulam chod gaye.

    But when it comes to diverting topics relating to the Maino clan or bashing Hindus, you can always count on His Eminence.

    Comment by Reena Singh | March 21, 2009

  29. Thanks Reena, I don’t care about pricking someone’s guilt conscience at least they seem to have that. Evangelical Terrorism is a bigger threat than Islamic terror simply because the latter is exposed by the former, but who is going to expose the former considering world media is run by them? In other words who will bell the bigger cat? My post is not juicy, but rather germane as these nuns are also Indian citizens and are being persecuted by the very church they “serve”. About off-topic, I did not really think it was off, since it’s all driven by missionary agenda, their larger designs in India, planting the cross per pope’s clarion call, I mean. We dharmics sometimes don’t even realize how deceptive, conniving and dangerous some trends are ( like Chaplin statue). Recently Smt. Radha Rajan said this, link below.

    It is a measure of the success of the Christian propaganda machinery that idiot Hindus have no threat-perception of their own. How else can we explain that notwithstanding the barbaric Crusades, Atlantic slave trade, White Christian European colonialism, the near-total extermination of the native peoples of North and South America, and the total destruction of the faiths and cultures of Native Americans, Africans and growing sections of Asians, uni-polar or bi-polar world order, the poles are always located in the Christian world, Hindus see the sword of Islam clearly but do not see or sense the Christian cancereating into the vitals of the Hindu nation?


    Comment by Kiran P | March 21, 2009

  30. Jayadevan,

    @ if you were in too much of a hurry to share this juicy bit

    You were right about hurry, not the juicy part though. Since there is a trend of secular news disappearing from SICKular media I was reaching out to Shantanu and I just commented after picking a topic that was close enough if not close. I agree it is off-topic but not too off though.

    Comment by Kiran P | March 21, 2009

  31. Shantanu,

    It is really sad that the questions that you asked in the post did not get any attention:

    How does one sensibly define “hurting sentiments”?
    How does one establish boundaries for freedom of expression?
    When and how do these boundaries get re-defined?
    This is the REAL debate we need to have.

    Just like the other comment thread on 259(A) with lukewarm response, the silence on this thread on the most difficult questions is deafening. Hope you recognise this.

    Comment by Hindu Atheist | March 22, 2009

  32. I will try making a crude attempt by expanding the question making it difficult to answer!

    How does one sensibly define “hurting sentiments”?

    There is no single standard for this as ‘hurt’ and ‘sentiment’ mileage varies from one religionist to another. Without beating around the bush I will say Islamists get hurt easily, Christians/Jews come next. Hindus next. Specific to Chaplin I found that he was not follower of any ( http://www.adherents.com/people/pc/Charlie_Chaplin.html ). So is it fair for christians in India to assume hurt feelings or is it sickular media’s painting of the incident?

    How does one establish boundaries for freedom of expression?

    Unless we answer the first we can’t answer this. This is just a corollary.

    When and how do these boundaries get re-defined?

    Interesting. Hindus ( I see myself included ) have become more intolerant of Intolerance as Intolerance from Jehadis and Missionaries have crept deeper into Indian polity. This became worse as that Intolerance has become national security threat. Hindus have no choice but not to tolerate Intolerance exported from outside India’s borders. In the absence of these elements ‘freedom of expression’ would really thrive. I consider this development as redefinition of such boundary. Our tolerance to M F Hussain’s paintings reduced as Islamists abused India’s freedom and the painter’s paintings got worse. The connection was inevitable.

    We need gentlemen from other religions to arrive at a consensus on this but that will be no easy task!

    Comment by Kiran P | March 22, 2009

  33. @H.Atheist
    It is incorrect that there is a silence on those questions. Please read my comment 18, it has an example for the boundary for hurting sentiments.
    I believe sentimental boundaries are not constant and can vary widely based on the person who is responsible for the action. For ex, Ateists cannot comment on Allah whereas a moulvi can comment. Similarly a Hindu organization can demolish roadside temples, but not an Ateist organization.

    There is a great way to define boundaries. Whenever you get opposition from one community for an action, mark it as a boundary for all communities and don’t go beyond that. Give equal respect to all religions and communities.

    If we think about it little more, we may realise that in fact there is no need to define boundary at all. The reason is simple, just use the same yardstick for all religions and set rules based on that. Then you will not need to worry about boundaries, cos everyone will be same. These problems arise more when there are preferential treatments.

    Its a marxist style trying to hide the most visible and obvious, lets not try to project a nonexistant silence.

    Comment by Nanda | March 22, 2009

  34. @HA: Thanks for alerting everyone to this…Curious to read your thoughts..


    @ Kiran: Thanks…thought provoking..esp. the point about “tolerance of intolerance”…I have an apt quote on this buried somewhere on this blog which I should find out. I am keen to read others’ views on some of the points you have raised.


    @ Nanda: Thanks…Your suggestion re. defining boundaries (stop when there is opposition) might indirectly lead to even greater intolerance – especially amongst the more liberal traditions such as Hindusim. What do you think?

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 22, 2009

  35. @ the point about “tolerance of intolerance”…I have an apt quote

    Is it

    “Tolerance should never tolerate Intolerance;
    Inclusivity should never include Exclusivity”.

    I heard these lines few years back reading those wonderful Rajiv Malhotra’s columns on Sulekha ( or may be in the hundreds of comments that each evoked by some smart minds). It is in the context of eastern belief systems v/s Abrahamic religions. The first time I heard it immediately made an impression and set me thinking hard!

    Comment by Kiran P | March 22, 2009

  36. Just found this comment on IndianRealist

    Australia’s Gold Coast says “no” to Gandhi street


    Chaplin vs Gandhi. Ponder over this.


    Comment by Kiran P | March 23, 2009

  37. Kiran P, it was Austrian born British philosopher Karl Popper who said this. It is my favourite quote.

    “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”


    Comment by ss | March 23, 2009

  38. How does one sensibly define “hurting sentiments”?
    It depends on the person and the situation. For example, and reading your posts, I am not offended by some incidents that you find offensive, or that hurt your (atheist) sentiments. Question to you: Are you saying there should be one standard by which all citizens collectively should or shouldn’t get offended? Freedom of expression allows a person to get offended (and as long as we hold certain things or values dear, there’s always a chance that someone else’s actions or words will hurt someone else’s sentiments), and express that feeling within the law. But to say that someone should or shouldn’t get offended by something borders on the fascist. Which is not the same as “lawmakers react to each such instance of ‘hurt sentiments’ and start banning things”. Those are two separate issues.

    How does one establish boundaries for freedom of expression?
    Through debate in the public (media) and through our elected representatives. Each society sets limits and boundaries on freedom of expression to what it deems appropriate to its context. For example, it is unlawful in some European countries to deny Holocaust.

    When and how do these boundaries get re-defined?
    Through debate in the media and through laws made by elected representatives. As and when situations change, laws need to be revised, and this is where the boundaries get re-defined. It takes concerted effort on the parts of citizens to make their case for such a re-definition and get people on board.

    Comment by Kaffir | March 23, 2009

  39. @ Kaffir: Great comment…

    You are right to pick up the nuance around “getting/feeling hurt” and asking for things to be banned as a result of such “hurt sentiments”…

    I liked the suggestion about boundaries…It leaves room for change (at a future date)…I wonder though whether lawmakers really are the best suited for this role? what about the judiciary? What do you think?


    HA/ Others: Hoping to hear your views on this too.

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 24, 2009

  40. Shantanu,

    > HA/ Others: Hoping to hear your views on this too.

    Yes, I will post my thoughts, weekdays are generally quite hectic.

    Comment by Hindu Atheist | March 24, 2009

  41. Shantanu, yes, thanks for the reminder regarding judiciary and their role in bringing about changes.

    Comment by Kaffir | March 24, 2009

  42. Well, I don’t know what this debate is all about. Erecting an illegal 62-feet permanent statue of a Western comedian right in front of a Hindu temple entrance without permission of the government or temple authorities and in violation of coastal zone regulations, is a clear case of mischief.

    Let us not be so innocent and gullible. Mischief makers exist in this world. Let us learn to spot agendas when we see them.

    The entire purpose of this exercise was to paint BJP as “anti-Christian.” It was a political game that was played here, and you guys have worked yourself into a lather about boundaries of tolerance, freedom of expression and god knows what other esoteric stuff.

    It is better to be street-smart and shrewd, rather than intellectuals inhabiting a cuckoo-land and unable to comprehend dirty games played in this world by forces hostile to Indian nationhood.

    Comment by Sanjay | March 30, 2009

  43. How about this


    Comment by KSV SUBRAMANIAN | March 30, 2009

  44. koundamani thing was hillarious..rofl

    Comment by Nanda | March 31, 2009

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