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BJP confusing people with ‘Nationalism’ and ‘Freedom of Expression’ debate

Finally, after so much of hullabaloo on students and instability in Universities, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, “Constitution gives full freedom for expressing dissent and disagreement, but not on account of country’s destruction. He was explaining the political resolution adopted at the party’s national executive meeting. JNU’s sloganeering mystery is yet unsolved, no one knows who shouted that slogans and for what purpose. Some random students were arrested on sedition charges. Finally, when everything boomeranged, BJP and its leaders are coming up with different explanations. JNU incident revived so much hype about nationalism in such a way that, we, the people of India, was in absolute affair of unfamiliarity. The coverage on nationalism debate over last week was totally biased with Republic of India. It’s true that every citizen is entitled to claim his/her fundamental right enshrined in our Constitution of India but why everybody forgets to fulfill his/her duties to uphold security and integrity of India. In other words, everybody was having a new opinion about India’s new avatar but few miscreants compromising the very emergence of our country in International fore. The very biased coverage by traditional media and a chaos created by social media is new threat and challenge to our strength. Freedom of Speech doesn’t allow us to challenge the integrity and sovereignty of India. The slogans raised in JNU are condemnable and not allowed under the shadow of freedom of speech and expression, but targeting the innocent and letting the culprits go scot-free is also not patriotism. Government needs to be smarter when they are planting some agenda with their aims, whims’ and fancies. Young Indians are very much alert and they know where to attack and secure their rights. BJP has literally landed in awkward position, with the arrest of JNU students. Government arrested them haphazardly but law bailed them out.

The issue of nationalism continued to take the center stage in the deliberations after party chief Amit Shah set the tone in his inaugural address saying the BJP will not tolerate any attack on the nation, with the dominant mood in the BJP being to put the Congress in a corner on the issue. Confining nationalism and portraying everything, as black and white is not a good judgment. Modern political commentators are unanimous that ‘nationalism’ is composed of two components: emotional and political. Politically, it is the culmination of a historical process that established the nationality. In India, the whole country joined the struggle for Independence, common folks sacrificing themselves. It was truly this political struggle that established ‘nationalism’. A ‘historical process’ is simply not enough, but there should also be a well-grounded theory and idealism behind such a struggle. It came naturally to our Independence movement. ‘Nationalism’ also needs political parties to weld the historical process and the idealism into something that is achievable. The INC did that effectively for India as a mass based organization in the far nooks and corners of the country.

Though issues of government formation in Uttarakhand, where the Congress government is facing rebellion in its ranks and in Jammu and Kashmir where government has not been formed after CM Mufti Mohammad Saeed’s death. Country is already going through various challenges, PM Modi is trying to deliver his election promises, but his party workers are not in a mood to follow him.

The Constitution of India provides the right to freedom, given in articles 19, 20, 21 and 22, with the view of guaranteeing individual rights that were considered vital by the framers of the constitution. The right to freedom in Article 19 guarantees the Freedom of Speech and Expression, as one of its six freedoms.

In a landmark judgment of the case Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, the Supreme Court held that the freedom of speech and expression has no geographical limitation and it carries with it the right of a citizen to gather information and to exchange thought with others not only in India but abroad also.

The constitution of India does not specifically mention the freedom of press. Freedom of press is implied from the Article 19(a) of the Constitution. Thus, the press is subject to the restrictions that are provided under the Article 19(2) of the Constitution. Before Independence, there was no constitutional or statutory provision to protect the freedom of press. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution ensures to all its citizens the liberty of expression. Freedom of the press has been included as part of freedom of speech and expression under the Article 19 of the UDHR. The heart of the Article 19 says: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

There are instances when the freedom of press has been suppressed by the legislature. The authority of the government, in such circumstances, has been under the scanner of judiciary. The court struck down the Section 7 of the East Punjab Safety Act, 1949, which directed the editor and publisher of a newspaper “to submit for scrutiny, in duplicate, before the publication, till the further orders, all communal matters all the matters and news and views about Pakistan, including photographs, and cartoons”, on the ground that it was a restriction on the liberty of the press. Similarly, prohibiting newspaper from publishing its own views or views of correspondents about a topic has been held to be a serious encroachment on the freedom of speech and expression. Anyway, whosoever it may be, Indian citizen, media or newspapers, each one of them have the rights to express themselves.


(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

Dr Vaidehi Tamanhttp://www.vaidehisachin.com
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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