One of my most vivid memories from school, in early 90s, was that of a political science class, in which the teacher explained about Democracy. He used Abraham Lincoln’s quote that “Democracy is by the people, of the people and for the people”. It looked relevant to its time when the teacher juxtaposed democracy with that of school’s class leader election and the rules that we together conceived in the best interest of all the pupils.
Democracy was taught to be a best form of governance given its people centric principles that also protects human rights of the citizens.
The most important aspect that I enjoy in a Democratic country is freedom of speech. I enjoy speaking out my personal opinions across various platforms. While I enjoy the right to speak, am fully aware that this freedom to express comes with great responsibility. Human being is pervert by birth, and what makes him/her ‘social’ is the conscience that filters on what to speak out and what not to.
It only takes a second or sentence to instigate any one. Given this, the freedom of speech is in great danger. Current generation has easy access to social media and can blurt out any momentary impression on any subject. The social media is served to me on a platter that I am tempted to take a bite and be part of the mob that pours trenchant criticism on anything that has to be perceived as a difference of opinion. Media is playing a huge role in creating this personal agony.
Let me take a recent example – Aamir Khan has made comments about intolerance on TV. On that day, I came home after a heavy schedule at office. My regular TV routine is to skim through news channels for some time, and then move on to entertainment channels while doing my evening chores at home. The news channels are full of Aamir Khan’s comments and the reactions on this subject from various parties. I had no interest in his personal opinion and was ready to move on to other news. But these channels do not stop from sensationalising as if it is a national problem. The heated debates did not wane off even after couple of days, and at the end of third day I am tempted to form an opinion of my own and had to express it on social media. An innocent mind of mine was filled with hatred at the end of third day. The most unfortunate anti-climax is that I have forgot this whole episode to move on to another hatred based fiasco based on yet another personal comment, thus falling prey to media.
An innocent view can be a random comment or culpable to sedition. The easy access to express myself has made me vulnerable, and the fact that I can’t resist from reaching out to my smart phone even in a short gap has further proved the point.
Getting back to my school class, if my teacher asks about those that are interested to give a speech, I will raise my hand to concede my indulgence in this very system of mockery of freedom.