Freedom of Speech vs. Nationalism
Amit Kumar Pathak*,
It is often argued freedom of speech and expression should not path way for Anti-National Activity. This debate has been accelerating since the JNU incident last year. With rising violent incidents in colleges and educational institues in the name of freedom of speech and expression it has become important to understand how to draw the fine line between freedom of speech and expression and Nationalism.
The most recent incident in Delhi University North Campus Ramdas College again gave way to violent activities inside the campus in the name of Freedom of speech. The reason of the clash was an invitation to J&K student Umar Khalid who is facing sedition charges and AISA member and former vice-president of JNU Students Union Shehla Rashid to address a seminar titled “Culture of Protest” which was later withdrawn by the College Authorities after a strong opposition by the ABVP and college students. Later on followed by various violent activities by the AISA inside the campus.
Freedom of speech and expression should not be misused. Freedom of expression does not give anyone the right to convert Colleges/Institutions into a hub of Anti-National Activity. No anti-national slogans can be allowed in the name of freedom of speech. None should make statements questioning the National Integrity and Sovereignty of India.
It is unquestionable that academic debates, academic cultural programs are the arena of Educational Institutions but such debates should not fall outside the limit of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under our Constitution. Such limit is crossed when feeling of hatred incites the masses leading to loss of patriotic feeling, feeling of oneness and anger towards the Government. Right to protest is a Fundamental right but when such protest lead to Anti-National Comments, provoking the Youth against Nation should be barred completely.
It is very important to understand that Nationalism and Freedom goes hand-in-hand. With every right comes responsibility, so while exercising such rights it becomes necessary to follow the Fundamental Duties as well. It is for this Nationalism that we can exercise our Fundamental rights. Nationalism is an individual feeling of patriotism towards our country and a feeling of pride, loyalty and commitment towards our Nation.
*Research Scholar, DSMNRU, Lko., firstname.lastname@example.org