Gentlemen are requested; servants are commanded, to keep off the grass.
– A sign in a London Park in 19th century.
Funny, I have to be ‘writing` about the freedom of speech. I am doing so because if I speak this out, people will identify and bump me off as another fundamentalist….some day I am late from office.
Two recent incidents have caught my attention and believe me it is not Kiruba going to Amsterdam or Arnab Ray (the GreatBong) getting 400+ comments for a single post. For those that don`t know them…I consider these two people as my greatest blog enemies. I need to have enemies, to be competitive. So much so, I want all Ouchmytoe readers to visit Kiruba`s & Arnab`s and thank them for such funny articles you get on Ouchmytoe.
Now, for the one real incident which concerns me – Taslima Nasreen`s second exile.
My advice to Taslima would be to start writing a travelogue as soon as possible. At the rate at which she is being moved from State to State, very soon she will be able to publish a book titled: “India Exposed – 28 States & Seven Union Territories.” My only hope is she doesn`t mention the word ‘Islam` in the book.
I am divided in my concern for Taslima Nasreen. In the early 90s, when I was young (and so was Taslima) I would have laid down my life for her. If you don`t believe me, take a look at her photograph from the 90s….isn`t she a sweetheart?
But today, being a married man (with two women in his life!) I asked myself: “Did my Taslima do the right thing?”
For long I didn`t get the right answer. After all, who was I to comment on what was wrong and what was right?
Here is a conversation I overheard between two of my colleagues at the Cafeteria. I didn`t join them in the conversation because that would have meant abandoning my chair positioned between Sunandini Basu & Tinky Toinkers – two of my pretty (but married!) colleagues –
Krishnamurthy: When somebody`s voice has the power to reach the public…one should be careful about what is being said.
Naeem: Does that mean celebrities can`t have freedom of speech?
Krishnamurthy: They can. But they can`t say everything that a common man can say.
Naeem: So, the celebrities can`t have freedom of speech?
Krishnamurthy: They have the freedom of speech. But as they said in Spiderman II, with powers of celebrity-dom come bigger responsibilities.
Naeem: Are you saying that Taslima shouldn`t have written about Islam the way she did?
Krishnamurthy: She definitely shouldn`t have. Taslima is the culprit.
Naeem: But I fought with my father when he blamed Taslima for writing ill about Islam.
Krishnamurthy: You did? Why?
Naeem: By writing ill about such a magnificent truth of life, Taslima showed that she didn`t know anything about Islam.
Krishnamurthy: I agree.
Naeem: Yeah…so why don`t we just laugh Taslima away and give her space to grow up and realize her folly?
Naeem`s suggestion hit me hard. That`s why, when my baby girl spit on me last evening, I didn`t spit back (which I usually do). Instead, I gave her some space to grow up…and start calling me: “Daddy!”
Shucks…this definitely isn`t Ouchmytoe style. Since when did we start having such serious articles in here? Hmm…let me guess, since the Chivas Regal Scotch Whiskey got over?