Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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Swamirekhas

The world has much to lose if artists cross no line

Swamirekhas Illustration by Saahil

An observer of international affairs is used to the “yellow lines” marked out by Ariel Sharon before Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, and other red lines prescribed by dictators. They sure don’t want to see the faces of naysayers. Now comes the lakshmanrekha drawn and notified by Subramanian Swamy. “There is reasonable restriction placed on our freedom of expression and speech in the Constitution. All fundamental rights are subject to reasonable res­trictions,” he said at the Kalinga literary festival. Notice how he does not give priority to the rights and freedoms the Constitution bestows on citizens, but to the restrictions on them. Sounds like a school headmaster, cane in hand, talking to errant pupils.

Swamy also said, “Democracy means acceptance of rea­sonable restrictions, so does literature.” Never did some novice so clumsily attempt to kill two beautiful birds with one ridiculous stone-throw. And thank you for defining literature, sir. Come to think of it, is Swamy an example of restraint in speech and in making allegations?

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