Everyone has the right to free speech and writing. So has everyone the right to express his/her view in the public. But no constitution in the world has granted its citizens the right to abuse, ridicule and lampoon any prophet, great personality, ideology or religion through his/her writings or cartoons. Nor has anyone the right to create vandalism in the name of protest. The problem starts only when one exceeds the limit.
Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie know these facts very well, yet they indulge in writing blasphemous pieces. When an art critic sometimes back wrote something about Rushdie’s artiste wife – he has now divorced her – the so-called novelist, in a meeting, caught the collar of that writer on the plea that the remarks against his wife was offensive. These gentlemen and women lack even the basic human courtesy of not poking fun on the most sacred and venerated personalities.
Yes, there is freedom of speech, but the big question is why it is confined only to ridicule one religion – Islam and its Prophet. True, for us it is wrong to lampoon any personality belonging to any religion or group. But since Taslima and Rushdie are champions of free expression and are against all the religions, they must now try their luck elsewhere too. They must now caricature prophets, gods, goddesses or gurus of other religions of the world and see to it how the followers of other religions react. Only then will they know the real meaning of tolerance and free speech.
People like Nasreen or Rushdie can in no way be defended in the name of free speech. But the even bigger question is how long we will get dragged into the controversies created by these mentally sick men and women. It is futile to waste time and energy on these intellectually dead persons. From John of Damascus in the 7th century C.E. to Dante in the Medieval period to Rushdie and Nasreen now there is no dearth of people who used all sorts of language of abuse for Islam. The only difference is that while in the past they had Christian names today we have men and women with Muslim-sounding names doing the same.
The problem with Taslima and Rushdie is that now even the Left and many liberal-secularists – till lately the so-called champions of free speech – have started disowning and deserting them. The manner in which Taslima was bundled into the plane and flown outside Kolkata speaks of it. The only one left to defend them in India are some senseless journalists and the Bharatiya Janata Party, who on November 25, once again demanded that Taslima should be granted political asylum in India.
The problem with the Muslims is that many among them have failed to realise that Taslima, Rushdie or for that matter any other writer or cartoonist will always remain there as they are patronised by a certain section of people in India and abroad. The objective is just to provoke Muslims to take to street, shed blood and cause violence. They must know that the Muslim history is filled with men of such qualities.
During Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of Allah be with him) time there was no dearth of people who would go all across the peninsular Arab to carry ‘disinformation’ campaign against Islam. What happened was that they themselves created curiosity among the people to know more about the Prophet and many of them embraced Islam.
But instead of allowing these mad dogs bark people within the community tend to over-react, be it in Hyderabad or Kolkata. They have not learnt from the past mistakes. After all Muslims are supposed to do some more serious work than pelt stones on passers-by and burn cars to protest against the lunatics.