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Freedom of expression – a double edged sword  

Editor,

The recent article “Social Media Has Changed Our Lives Forever!” (ST, Sept 8, 2017), by our upright journalist, Patricia Mukhim made a very interesting read. She has aptly pointed out — “fake news is circulated, consumed and ingested and opinions are not only instantly formed but reactions too are posted without much thought.” Thanks to the mushrooming media shops that have the shocking audacity to serve out lies in various flavors – which could be relishing for some, but too unsavoury or too bitter for others.  These very news agencies, which can be purchased by the highest bidder also have an amazing art of hiding the “truths” if they don’t fit well with their agenda. No wonder, what we hear we hold as true and react in the same manner as it was presented – perfectly like Newton’s third law of motion.

Thus, sufficiently worked up by the media, the enraged folks of various classes and faiths go on a rampage on social media because there they find endless ready-made battlefields. Here they can demonstrate their raw and crude heroism. Besides the harsh vocabulary of hostility, the filthiest terms are used to attack the opponent, his religion and finally his blood relatives. All jargons of obscenity are what decorate these virtual battlegrounds. Phew, this is how the double-edged sword of the “freedom of expression” is mindlessly wielded in modern times leaving the society and the human values grievously wounded.

Yours etc.,  

Salil Gewali,

Shillong-2

  

Whither freedom of speech  

Editor,

On Gauri Lankesh’s murder, your editorial, “Where is India headed” (ST, Sep 9, 2017), rightly says, “This casts a pall of gloom on India’s criminal justice system.” Gauri Lankesh’s murder is another attempt to kill Indian democracy, the spirit of our Constitution, the voice of the champions of the downtrodden and above all the evolutionary progress of humankind. After Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Malleshappa Kalburgi, Gouri Lankesh had to give her life. 

What would have happened to our great men had they lived today? Raja Rammohan Roy waged a war against dogmatic forces to stop killing widows in the name of Sati. Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar did the same to give widows the right to remarriage. On the other hand, Sri Ramkrishna himself practiced Islam and Christianity to live his words – ‘many opinions, many paths’. Rabindranath Tagore condemned tyrannical social restrictions on intermarriage and described such prejudices as a gigantic obstacle to realizing our national unity. Swami Vivekananda worshipped and touched the feet of a four-year-old, poor, Kashmiri, Muslim girl to worship her as Goddess Uma. Sri Aurobindo introduced a Christian French lady, Mirra Alfassa, as the Divine Mother. 

It is a pity that we could not save the life of Mahatma Gandhi in independent India whereas those great men including Gandhi survived in British India in spite of their sweeping reforms and egalitarian ideology. Must not we make ourselves independent enough to live great ideas and improve our criminal justice system?

Yours etc.,

Sujit De,

Kolkata

Regular default by LPG supplier

Editor

I don’t believe in writing against any organisation/ institution in the media because it causes far reaching, adverse consequences for them. Therefore, unless I am pushed to the edge I consider it proper to settle the scores bilaterally. In the instant case my grouse is against Trinity Bharat Gas Agency, Nongthymmai. This agency  should explain to the public, as to why it puts its consumers in jeopardy. Unlike other agencies Bharat Gas supplier is usually very irregular in refilling LPG, and it can be ascertained from the following facts. This agency has not supplied the LPG refill to its customers at Barapathar since June 29, 2017. During the year (Calendar year) 2014 it supplied refilled cylinders  only six times; in 2015 five times; in 2016 seven times and in 2017 so far, it has supplied only three times. These figures are counted from the gas card. If I am not mistaken a gas agency is mandated to supply nine LPG refills in a year. Thus, one can visualize just how much the consumers of Bharat Gas Consumers are pushed to limits of intolerance. Hence their grievance is ventilated through this newspaper for redressal.

Yours etc.,

  Krishna Chettri  

  Shillong-2 

When journalists unite

Editor,

The ghastly murder of renowned journalist Gauri Lankesh will go down as a black day in this democratic nation of ours.  The Shillong Press Club along with the entire media fraternity came and paid tribute to her at Police Bazaar near the old State Assembly. It is truly a unifying moment for people involved directly and indirectly with the media. The media here has even had a share of its incidents of government harassment here in our state. Those in authority in the government should know that the media is the eyes and ears of the nation and no one can stop it from fulfilling its duty.

Yours etc…

Dominic S. Wankhar 

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