The right to be offended

A popular film actor, Salman Khan,  writes a few words on popular social networking site, Twitter, and a furore is created.  Immediately,  famous and expert tweeps are on Twitter with their 140 characters of feedback, advice.  Some have even made it to the news channels.  The news channels immediately camp outside Salman’s home as there is no other ‘Breaking News’.  Seeing an opportunity for publicity,  people from various parties also reach the venue and create a ruckus making it a law and order issue.

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By evening, Salman retracts his statement and deletes the tweets.  It is effectively a gag order for anybody else who is famous.  One can just see the kind of attacks and abuses being made on another vocal actor who speaks his mind, Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap).

What it says about our society is a bit frightening?  Does it mean, one cannot have an opinion outside of the majority opinion? It may probably silence the opinion for the moment,  but is it also the end of it?   

Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the nation’s constitution.  Of course,  it doesn’t mean one can say any rubbish and get away with it.  One has every right to be offended too.  But,  can we be more civil about it?  We have every right to protest,  but in a civilised manner without going against the law of the land.  There is no excuse to abuse anyone, though that is also freedom of speech, isn’t it?

In a society,  diverse opinions are needed for its evolution.  We have a great democracy in India which is able to withstand all these issues and it is, thankfully,  still the people who matter.  Let us be proud of it and follow it’s rich legacy instead of getting down to pettiness.

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9 thoughts on “The right to be offended

  1. While the celebrities should speak responsibly, the public should protest civilly too. But all this is lost under the garb of anonymity which the social media provides.

  2. Who said we have freedom of speech? It’s only in the books. No where else. Celebrities or common people – we words are under scanner all the time. Celebrities are bombarded with hate msgs and mobs but sometimes are common people we get to go. That’s India 🙁

    1. I would say you are partly true. Because, I was in London for some time, and I felt I could not really express myself without offending someone. Comparatively, we have lots more freedom of speech in India.

  3. Truly Lata.
    Sometimes even when we are talking complete sense, people may get offended!!!
    One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

    Have faced abuse owing to my views on #SwachhBharat. It’s a great initiative & even if you support the good cause, then also you are branded!!! Had written a post about this.

    1. Anita, you are 100% right. Because as you said ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. It is affecting us a lot here. My children are questioning me as to whether it is right or wrong to eat non-veg food. I took your statement literally, but I see what you mean. The #SwachhBharat campaign was really good and hope it is sustained. But, looks like things are going back to what they were earlier. And our lack of civic sense is another drawback.

  4. Celebrities, citizens, media, all have the freedom of speech and the responsibility to exercise it with caution. In social media, I see lots of comments going back and forth, reading which I despise the entire social media culture and the mind behind such degrading comments.

    1. The negativity in social media does get to you at times. But, the positives outweigh the negatives and so social media thrives.

  5. Actually our constitution doesn’t give a right of an absolute freedom of speech. And in a hugely diverse society like ours there should be some basic sense of self-imposed sense of responsibility before making a public statement on an issue, especially one that is controversial like the present one. Sure any celebrity has a right to say whatever he/she wants, but then my question always has been – do they know all the details of the situation on which they are commenting? Or are they commenting simply because they know they can get publicity mileage out of every thing they utter. In a society where a celebrity endorsement is all one needs – whether you are a bottle of shampoo, cough syrup, washing machine, bathroom fixture, a corrupt politician or a convicted terrorist – perhaps it is time our popular celebrities start reflecting on what their social responsibility is really all about!

    O well, sorry to go on and on….I am glad you wrote a post about this, though my take on the whole thing is a bit different as you can see 🙂

    1. Exactly Beloo. Having different views is necessary, to get the best out of anything. It will widen my perspective as well. The famous don’t realise the impact they have on young minds. As public figures, they should have a sense of responsibility. And this one, just got away from the clutches of law.
      Thanks Beloo.

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