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

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Freedom, but by the Numbers

In the wake of the controversy over Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism, issues about responsibility and consequence under Indian law need to be borne in mind.

In the aftermath of Penguin Books India’s decision to pulp Wendy Doniger’s book about Hinduism, plenty has been said about the state of free speech in India. Less debated, though, are the equally important ideas of responsibility and consequence under Indian law – which is one reason I think freedom of speech is forever contentious in this country.

On 9 December 1992, the Marathi-language newspaper Saamna (“Confrontation”) carried an editorial written by that paper’s editor, the late Bal Thackeray. At the time, he was also the chief of the Shiv Sena. Thackeray wrote:

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