It was with much relief that I read the following news:
US lawmakers have indefinitely postponed votes on two anti-piracy bills following a massive outcry against the proposed legislation by internet companies, such as Wikipedia, Facebook and Red Hat.
The two bills under question are the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate, and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, these acts are aimed at stopping internet users accessing non-US websites that feature pirated or counterfeit content, such as music and movies.
"We appreciate that lawmakers have listened to our community's concerns, and we stand ready to work with them on solutions to piracy and copyright infringement that will not chill free expression or threaten the economic growth and innovation the Internet provides," a Facebook spokesman told Reuters.
It would have been a nightmare if SOPA and PIPA bills were passed.
It would be the slow death of internet; specially sites like Google, wikepedia etc.
For sure, life would go on since most of us had a life before internet and Google. We may have a bit of peace too since we wouldn’t be bombarded with so much news and views. But what troubled me was the question.. what is the real intention behind such acts? This question became even more ominous when one realized that even the Indian government was trying to curb the flow of information between citizens. We had a judge asking this chilling question:
If it can be done in China why not in India?
Our constitution guarantees us the following:
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship.
If the liberty to think and express our thoughts is curtailed then is not my nation an autocratic regime?
But the US citizens knows what freedom really means and their protest was strong enough to influence the law makers, whereas, was there any mass protest in India?
Is it because the internet is accessible only to a small percentage of Indians and hence there was not much to bother?
If this is so, then why the hue and cry?
In fact, the hue and cry was not because religious sentiments were hurt but because the government could not bear criticism, especially when another Lok Sabha election is not far away.
Who wants a government who do not want to change for the better?
Who wants a government who seeks more power to curtail the freedom of speech and thought?
The article from Firstpost.com sums up the internet policing pretty well.
I also read the speech by Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India, at Jawaharlal Nehru University on November 14, 2011. It may not go well with many when he calls most of us immigrants. But is there not truth in what he says?
The Indian civilization stood for so long not only because it was an open society but because the civilization itself was strong. It was not a toddler but an adult. Different cultures found way into India and sometimes brutally but it was strong enough to embrace/accept the good in each.
He asks the following question.
Why have people been coming into India? Very few people left India, except on two occasions namely (i) in the 19th century when under British rule Indian poor peasants were sent to Fiji, Mauritius, West Indies, etc. as plantation labourers and (ii) the Diaspora for the last 30-40 years or so of highly qualified engineers, scientists, doctors, etc. Apart from this, nobody left India, everybody came into India. Why?
The reason is obvious. People migrate from uncomfortable areas to comfortable areas, obviously, because everybody wants comfort. Before the Industrial Revolution which started in Western Europe from the 18th century and then spread all over the world there were agricultural societies everywhere. Now what does agriculture require? It requires level land, fertile soil, plenty of water for irrigation, etc. All this was in abundance in the Indian sub continent.
One can read more in the website kgfindia.com. It is called the Khalidas Ghalib Foundation and aims to To Foster National & Social transformation for a Progressive, Modern & Culturally Aware India.
Another Republic Day has come and yet another day for the nation to take the pledge that it would unceasingly strive to maintain a Sovereign Democratic Republic India.
Wish everyone a Happy Republic Day and may our nation prosper in the right path.