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It is a mad, mad world...

Rushdie did not come or even speak over video after all; yet he is all over the place. Earth is ruined, skies have fallen for this temerity on part of “the mob” as TOI front page banner headline shrieked on 25 January. No matter if a foreign national, who does not enjoy the rights and duties Indian Constitution gives to the nationals of India, mocked at the religion of one-fifth of humanity, abused their Prophet and his wives and the holy book he brought, used filthiest of language in a supposedly literary work (the F*** word has been used at least 46 times in his Satanic book). Yet, this alien is right and millions are wrong in a democracy. The same chatterati/litterati did not make noise when one of their co-nationals, the biggest of our contemporary artists, was pushed into exile to die in a land of sand dunes; they did not make noise when very recently an American researcher was sent back from Delhi airport despite having a valid visa; they did not make noise when writers and journalists like Iftikhar Gilani had to spend months and years in Indian jails for committing no crime; they made no noise when tens of thousands of farmers committed suicide; when thousands of innocent Muslim youth were incarcerated on trumped up terror charges; when five Indians die every single minute due to hunger and 230 million Indians go hungry daily; when 21% of our population is undernourished, nearly 44% of under-5 children are underweight and 7% of them die before they reach five years; when hundreds die in police custody and fake encounters every single year. True, freedom of speech is a goddess über alles.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2012 on page no. 1

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