August Winning Entry

This is the winning entry for the Raptors’ Written Word (the Club’s monthly writing contest) for the month of August.

Prompts for this month we’re:

1. Book Censorship
In the Indian Constitution, Article 19 (1)(a) states that people of India have the freedom of speech. Yet we have book censorships highly affecting the ideas put in the book.  Is it ever okay to censor a book? What should be the extent of book censorship? Who has the right to censor a book? Write an article stating the pros and cons of book censorship in India.

(Or)

2. Diasporic catastrophes
India has the largest diaspora in the world, with around 18 million of its citizens living in other countries. What are the economical and societal issues faced by emigrants in different countries? Have these diasporas emerged as powerful entities in the state of foreign policy or are they affecting both the countries adversely? What kind of stress a country can face with such massive immigration numbers?

The following article focusses on the former. Read this really enlightening article and feel free to express your opinion in the comments.


In the Indian constitution as per article 19 (1) (a) states the people of India have the freedom of speech. Yet we have book censorship highly affecting the ideas put in the book. Is it ever ok to censor a book? What should be the extent of book censorship? Who has the right to censor a book? Write an article stating the pros and cons of book censorship in India


Indian constitution is made “by the people”, “for the people” & “to the people”. With this as a base, if one person’s thoughts are affecting millions belief, isn’t that book worth being banned or undergoing censorship?


Generically speaking, the right to write books as you like on what you like is based on the right to freedom of expression/ speech. However, even all societies/ cultures/ countries that consider this a basic/ fundamental right – set culturally accepted limits to it, especially when the exercise of that right for any one person/ group impinges up the right of others or even safety/ security/ peace/ harmony of that society or country. Where the line is drawn or who is the one that draws the line and set limits is a matter of subjective debate – and usually not everyone who has the right to a view about it, may agree.


Pros


1) Censorship is a matter of the content. Censorship will be helpful to protect people from having nasty ideas on racism, homosexuality, gender-biased or religion/political beliefs. Children or even young teens do not have the maturity to handle such dangerous books. Instead of a complete ban, there can be a partial ban, ex- based on age. I don’t want my 5-year-old to have prejudice on Gandhi by reading books like “The great soul” or child having disturbing thoughts by reading books like “Lajja”.


2) Censorship will help in cribbing the alternative truth from gaining bigger momentum. Half-truth on certain content can be downright harmful to some societies. Eg- Satanic Verses, The Ramayana as told by Aubrey Menen – These religious books showcase an alternative or different view on certain religion which is quite opposed to millions of people’s belief. These specific books actually do or do not cross the set limits may be a matter of subjective debate.


Cons


1) It’s never a good idea to stifle people’s ability to think. It sometimes does put a stop to creativity which is never good.


2) Words are just words. When we encounter them, as adults, we have control over how we respond to them. If we learn to control our responses, then it can lead to great ideas and creativity and freedom of speech is not lost.


3) Censorship will lead to restricting the interests of others and restricting the ability to convey certain thoughts or messages (restricting the ability of free thought and speech or depending on the case, discrimination of certain topics).


To conclude – in my viewpoint, censorship is marked as a legitimate tool for regulating the political and moral outlook of the people. The frequency at which this is happening is more important. Social organizations have always been about rights balanced by responsibilities, boundaries and limitations – book banning as a practice per se is no exception! Can it be misused, abused to serve not the most honourable purposes – yes certainly, like everything else can too?

~ Preethi Krishna (Ig:@meander_read_roam; Blog: https://www.meander23.com )

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