ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Fourth Year

freedom of speech and expression, and, therefore, necessarily, of ideas ? Legal experts will argue it out, and interpret what is or is not a reasonable restriction on the right to freedom of ideas. Meanwhile, there is little reason however to skimp on celebrations. It should be good for the nation's soul if the hypocrisies, on which it has been made to subsist, are gradually shown, one after another, in their true light. Official scriptwriters have traversed the ultimate frontiers of banality to stress the deep spiritualism which informs the persona of an average Indian; the grotesqueness of the claim is exposed by the manner the government of the country begs every day for morsels of external aid from all and sundry; the hollowness of the claim is also evidenced in the shopping marts of foreign lands, where our compatriots buy up regularly and indiscriminately whatever goods their eyes fancy, never mind how they arrange for the requisite foreign currency. Since we produced Gautama Buddha, and, more recently, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the constituents of this nation are assumed to be apostles of non-violence; it is the stuff of magnificent hypocrisy, given our record of ceaseless communal violence, the daily fare of grim happenings in Punjab, and, should not one add, the performance of our 'peace-keeping' force in Sri Lanka over the past eighteen months. The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill contributes to the mythology and demolishes it at the same time, so why not render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and compliment the bill for its forthrightness?

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