Location: Shyam’s study room on a Sunday morning.
Dramatist personae: Shyam, Ram and Gokul (Ram’s friend who had also completed his University course with Ram)
Ram: Good morning, sir. He is my friend Gokul who has completed the course with me; yet to get an employment. Gokul, sir Shyam is my mentor and well wisher.
Gokul: Good morning, sir. Happy to have met you sir. I need your blessings.
Shyam: All the best to both of you. Ram, how is the work atmosphere in the new job?
Ram: Fine uncle. They give us full freedom to act within my allotted work. They don’t interfere or tease us. They expect to us to report frequently on the progress that we make.
Shyam: That is good and correct.
Gokul, how about your job?
Gokul: Trying, sir. I have attended a couple of interviews and I am awaiting results. So many people speak so many things about it. I don’t know what is going to happen to me.
Shyam: All the best.
Lot of discussions is on, on FREEDOM in the educational Institutions and University Campuses of late. You have come recently out of your courses. What do you think on this subject Ram and Gokul?
Ram: True, sir. To me it appears too much. We go to the University to pursue our studies; focus and concentration must be on studies and studies alone. We have lot of years to indulge in talks on politics, freedom, discussions, and debates and so on.
Gokul: Sorry Ram. I am of different view. I totally agree with you that we have to focus on studies as that alone are going to lay the foundation stone for our future career. But at the same time without prejudice to our studies, we owe it to ourselves and the society, that we should evince interest in the worldly matters that affects us and the society.
Shyam: You are right Gokul; I agree with you; students cannot isolate from what is happening around us in the world; but Suryalal or Vivek Sharma as students cannot and should not act as a spokesperson of any political party and act on their behalf propagating their political views and philosophy in the University and indulge in political activities in the name of freedom of speech and freedom of action!
Gokul: What is that great FREEDOM of SPEECH, FREEDOM OF ACTION etc. sir you are referring to? FREEDOM WHAT, WHERE and HOW?
Shyam: Ram; you were referring to that full freedom provided by your employer to act and carry out your duties assigned without undue interference, teasing etc.
Gokul, to your question as to ‘freedom what, where and how I shall explain.
On getting independence in the year 1947, we decided to adopt democratic form of Government – “democracy is the Government of the people, for the people and by the people” it is said. OK….
When India became a Republic on 26th January 1950, we, the people of India gave unto ourselves a well drafted Constitution by eminent members the Constituent Assembly. This Constitution is paramount for all our citizens irrespective of our caste, creed, religion, region, language etc.
As of now, the Constitution guarantees all of us six fundamental rights otherwise known as freedom. They are Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom of assembly, Freedom of association, Freedom of movement, Freedom of residence and settlement, Freedom of profession, occupation, trade or business.
Though all of us can and should enjoy our rights, we should not fail to understand and appreciate that “Rights and duties” go together- there is no right without duty and there is no duty without rights. With all these rights certain reasonable restrictions also go with them.
Normally these restrictions are meant to be in the interest of a free, peaceful and harmonious society.
Freedom of speech and expression will not confer upon an individual a license to say whatever he likes or to commit illegal or immoral acts or to incite others to overthrow the established government by force or unlawful means.
Freedom of assembly shall not abuse others so as to create public disorder or a breach of peace.
Freedom to form association or union will not entitle any group of individuals to enter into a criminal conspiracy or to form any association dangerous to the public peace or to make illegal strikes or to commit a public disorder.
Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India, cannot give right to enter the restricted area.
Freedom to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation trade or business cannot interfere with the interests of the general public and subject to qualifications laid down by the State for carrying on any profession or technical occupation, or for carrying on any trade or business by the State itself to the exclusion of the citizens.
Gokul: Sorry to interfere, sir, it looks as though what has been given by one hand is being taken away by the other!
Shyam: That feeling is not justified because in no country the guarantee of fundamental rights is absolute or free from limitations altogether. The reason is that while the individual is in need of certain personal freedoms, the society, collectively, is also in need of certain safeguards in the interest of all, to ensure that the unfettered exercise of individual rights is not turned into license and chaos. This should be ensured that one’s unfettered right is not taking away the right of another .The individual himself will not be safe to exercise his personal rights unless the State, which represents the society, has certain powers to enforce law and order , morality and the like to prevent other individuals from wrongly interfering with the exercise of his rights.
Gokul and Ram: Thank you very much, sir, for explaining to us all the important details about freedom which is being talked about increasingly of late.
Shyam: All the best, we shall meet later.
Location: Public Garden
Dramatist Personae: Prakash Nandha, Atul Banergee and friends of INSPIRING INDIA MOVEMENT- a bigger gathering than the last meeting
Prakash Nandha: Good evening to everyone! You have so nicely assembled here for the second meeting of our movement. I am happy to see more people. That is an indication that India inspires and the people are inspired by the values and principles of this great country whether it is patriotism or nationalism, freedom or restrictions. People are in a way getting disenchanted with certain developments where intolerance and bigotry raise their ugly heads. People are becoming more and more self-centric not exhibiting enough of involvement in the development of the Nation in the positive and right direction.
Ours is not a political outfit but really interested in rising the nation as envisaged by our founding fathers whose untiring work and sacrifices that have raised our stature.
(a great clap of hands is made)
One voice: yes, yes, we have to work with that objective.
Another voice: Let us not worry about politicians of different hues. If non-political personalities join and work together all over the country, political faces can be reformed and made to serve the nation.
3rd voice: After all who are politicians? Made by us and many are our elected representatives. If we are cautious and careful in electing our representatives purely based on merit, they are bound to serve us well.
Atul Banergee: That exactly is the point. The objective of this Movement is to awaken the people’s conscience and make them play their role effectively and positively, wisely and responsibly.
Prakash Nandha: Politicians are not people’s enemies or adversaries. People get the Government they deserve it is said.
But this Movement aims at making our great, cultured citizens to realize their bounden responsibilities towards the society and the nation and help in restoring its glory.
The future lies in the hands of the youth of the country and the immediate steps are to be taken to guide them in the right direction. In the next one or two sittings we shall finalize our activities and hasten the process of purifying politics, Government and the society.
All the present: Sure sir, we will.
Location: Shyam’s drawing room on a Sunday afternoon. .
Dramatist personae: Shyam; Ram and Gokul
Ram and Gokul: Good afternoon, sir.
Shyam: Welcome Ram and Gokul. How are you both? Gokul any progress in your job efforts?
Gokul: Still trying sir.
Ram: Just I am trying the possibility of his getting into my organization, sir. It depends on God’s will.
Shyam: All the best.
Gokul: Since we left you on the other day, I have been brooding over what all you said bout the Constitution, fundamental rights, freedom, restrictions and all ; more I think about, more perplexed I become!
Shyam: Possible; but once you calmly consider the various factors, you will appreciate that there is nothing perplexing as such. But the way in which we handle the matters pertaining to these principles and practices, make you feel so. Indeed it is all how we interpret, perceive, and practice. Man in his ingenuity is able to make up anything to his advantage and there the problem arises.
Liberty to carry your umbrella ends where another’s nose begins.
Freedom without restrictions may lead to chaos and anarchy!
Problem can arise where the powers that be to govern the country begin to interpret the constitutional provisions to their own whims and fancies, the people become the victims.
It is at this point that the role and responsibility of the patriotic citizens should come to the fore and act as watchdogs.
It is unfortunate that the time tested definitions of nationalism, or patriotism get new twists and turns in the hands of the set of people who govern according to their own ideologies-right or wrong!!
Ram: Sir, on the other day you were a little critical of students during their studies indulging in politics and acting as spokespersons of political parties. I agree with you and to me it sounds atrocious; poor parents, I know with what great difficulties they provide education to their wards; but the politicians, shall I say unscrupulous- exploit the age and gullibility of students and spoil them. At times even the Faculty members misguide the students.
Shyam: That is an unfortunate situation in our country. Parents toiling in the remote villages spend for education and the wards do not feel their responsibility to study and come out successful in their goal.
Not that student should be thoroughly insulated from politics. Students cannot isolate themselves from happenings in the world. They must know what is happening in the society around them; but need not
Directly involve themselves to the prejudice of their main goal of successful completion of their studies.
Of course, the youth of today has bright vision for the future. They do want a world free from poverty, inequality, illiteracy, unemployment and intolerance. It is of course the duty of our student population to create and spread awareness of the problems faced by our society.
They are an integral part of the social fabric. They should know the importance of relationship between them as individuals and the society. But they should desist from active participation in the petty party politics prevailing here. They should not allow themselves to be exploited by the unscrupulous politicians for their party ends.
Ram and Gokul: Yes, sir. You are very much correct. In as much as we have come out of the portals of the university unscathed, we take it as our duty to save the present student community.
Shyam: Right we shall sit together and discuss what steps are to be taken in that direction. Bye.
Ram and Gokul: Thank you sir. We shall meet again.
Location: Public Park
Dramatist personae: Shyam, Ram and Gokul.
Ram and Gokul: Good evening sir.
Shyam: Thanks. Great evening to you. How are you both? Gokul, any good news on your employment? Ram, how are you settling in your office?
Ram: Settling down very nicely sir. Thanks.
Gokul: Likely to get orders in the course of this week.
Shyam: Very happy. All the best. On the other occasion we decided to arise and awake the students in your college on their social responsibility without prejudice to their main goal of successful studies.
Ram and Gokul: We await to hear from you sir.
As responsible, nationalist and patriotic citizens we are, we owe it to ourselves and the society.
Before that, just I want to give some inputs to you on a very important subject that should be a cause of worry to any responsible citizen of India.
Gokul: Is it so sir, please.
Shyam: A few days back we were discussing fundamental rights, restrictions, freedom and so on. Any freedom can be misused, abused, or disused by irresponsible persons.
One such is freedom of speech one of the golden freedoms enshrined as a fundamental right in our constitution.
Always the human tendency is not to accept any views that are against us, and the speech that does not go well with the individual or institution or the Government. Even if the views are in the interest of all. If it does not suit a particular section –especially the Government- which is in a position to place restrictions, exhibit their intolerance and charge the individual or a group of people of ‘sedition’ – a dangerous situation.
Gokul: Kindly be explicit, sir, we are unable to comprehend.
em>Shyam: Charge of ‘sedition’ against someone who speaks or acts in such a way that the people in general are made to rise in revolt against the country in collusion with the foreign country, countries.
It is unfortunate that intolerance in the powers that be tempts them to make use of the ‘sedition charge’ and harass.
Reasonable criticism of the Government’s policy or actions, expressing the reasonable and logical demands of the people, is painted with the brush of anti nationalistic or unpatriotic! This poses a dangerous portend to the freedom of speech.
Men at the helm must be able to draw a fine line between ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘sedition’.
Gokul: You are very much right, sir.
Ram: How do our elders react to this situation, sir?
Shyam: They are indeed worried that the Government of the day interprets ‘sedition law’ to suit their needs and indiscriminate in applying the same to suppress the ‘freedom of speech’.
When the speech is only to arouse the people’s conscience and awareness on essential issues facing the society, not intended, nor leads to any upheaval, violence and protest against the country, the Government of the day frames ‘sedition charges’ which is nothing but atrocious and autocratic.
Ram and Gokul: From what you say, sir, this needs urgent response from the public.
Shyam: Yes, the intellectuals have expressed their annoyance over the misuse of ‘sedition clause’ in the constitution according to the whims and fancies of the ruling dispensation. Some go to the extent of advocating removal of this clause from the Constitution as it is quite anachronistic in a democratic set up.
Increasingly of late the politicians of the ruling dispensation interpret the terms like ‘nationalism’, ‘patriotism’ etc. in a way that fits in with their narrow political philosophy. They are trying to indoctrinate the young minds in the Universities with narrow definitions that are indeed anti- national and anti-democratic exploitations.
Ram and Gokul: You are very much right, sir. We both of us know we are not politicians; yet we feel after your exhaustive explanations, that we youngsters have to take up the onerous task of putting an end to this type of exploitations by moving freely with the student and youth community and spread the dangers of this fascist approach in our national interest. We seek your advice and guidance, sir.
Shyam: We shall sure discuss concrete steps in a week’s time. Till then bye and all the best!
Ram and Gokul: Thank you, sir, bye!
Location: Public garden.
Dramatist personae: Nandha Prakash, Atul Banergee and friends with the banner “INSPIRING INDIA MOVEMENT”
Nandha: Welcome friends! It is some days since we met. We have to enter into urgent action as we are afraid that situation may go out of hands. we have to intervene before the situation goes out of the control of patriotic citizens.
Others, in chorus: Please tell us what we should and to proceed further.
Nandha: Yes we have some concrete plans. We have to mobilize the opinion of elders, parents, educationists and social service organizations to raise their voice against intolerance of the people and against new definitions and interpretations given to our time tested and long cherished concepts of nationalism and patriotism. In writing, through discussions and debates, we have to raise their involvement of all in this sacred task. We have to involve the youth – leaving the students at different levels to attend to their studies. This must be done on a top priority basis. It must be spread to all parts of the country as a SECOND FREEDOM MOVEMENT.
Let us list out our friends and well wishers in different parts of the country and write to them in detail with a request to act fast and effectively in their respective areas. If required, we shall also fan out physically to different places and meet our contacts.
Atul Banergee.: In as much as your age may not allow you to visit various places, kindly be here and be our mentor. We will do the physical activities.
Others, in chorus: Yes, yes. That is a good idea.
Atul: We shall meet next week in the same place with the details of our prospective contacts and proceed quickly.
Nandha: Thank you all. We shall now disburse.
Others: Namasthe; bye.
Location: The visitor’s lounge in Shyam’s Residence.
Dramatist personae: Ram, Gokul, and three other former college mates
Shyam: Welcome Ram and Gokul. The new faces are there today. Are they your friends? Hearty welcome to them also.
Gokul: Yes, sir. They are our former college mates. We were discussing with them what all you have told us in the last few meetings.
Shyam: What do they feel about?
Ram: They are very much moved and want to join in our efforts to cleanse the youth of their lethargy and indifference to wrong things and thoughts going in the society. They would like to participate in our activities so that they can also contribute something for the betterment of the society.
New friends: Negativism that is engulfing the youth must me nipped out. Acceptance of corruption as a way of life must be put an end to. Wrong definitions of pseudo patriots for patriotism, nationalism are to be weeded out. Traditional meanings and explanations must be restored.
Freedom enshrined in the Constitution must be upheld- should neither be abused nor misused.
It is the youth force that can bring in positive change in the rotting society.
Shyam: Congratulation my dear boys. What a grasp you have of the current situation taking deep roots; great. The society needs your services.
It is indeed intriguing that of late our country –India that is Bharath- questions are being raised about ‘nationalism’ which is ingrained in the blood of all its sons and daughters. Some class of politicians are bent upon infusing a new definition of ‘nationalism’, method of giving ‘expression’ and they talk about which anthems are devoted, which symbols are more significant, who are good nationalists etc. and that is really sickening.
Gokul: Yes, sir, we are getting annoyed over the fresh controversies that are raised by the pseudo- nationalists over the settled issues of such great importance.
Rajan (One of the new comers): Sir, it would appear that a new certificate is to be given to the citizens as to his nationalistic spirit as you get your pan card or voter identity card!
While the so called intellectual politicians are involved in these matters, ordinary citizens of the country on whose shoulders the burden of taking care of the culture and traditions of the nation , nobody seems to bother and consider the opinion of this segment.
Another new comer, Raghu: While the politicians talk about the freedom of speech, thinking, writing and so on, ordinary citizens are talking in terms of FREEDOM, from HUNGER and ILLITERACY, SICKNESS and DISEASES, educated youth are talking in terms of FREEDOM from UNEMPLOYMENT!
Shyam: True these are the real concerns of the youth today. It is for the elders and the Government must address and find solutions.
Raghu: But unfortunately sir, when youth raise these points of concern they are portrayed in bad brush and charged of SEDITION!
Shyam: That is indeed unfortunate and in fact we are discussing a movement by youth outside the universities after successful completion of their studies. Conscience of the public must be aroused and all unitedly should work for making the Government to govern and serve the people who have elected them on the basis of their election promises and after coming to power throwing them to the winds!
All boys: (in chorus). Yes, sir we are here to work for. Please guide us.
Shyam: Yes, sure, we shall meet again.
(Part III to continue)
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