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.