How my voice was stifled when I talked of secularism

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Scratchmysoul.com yesterday organised a Bloggers Symposium in New Delhi to celebrate the freedom of speech that new media has offered; instead it went on to STIFLE my own voice.

There was a blog reading session and I decided to read a post from my blog – Indian Muslim is confused, worried and angry – the organisers had also approved of the topic beforehand.

But hardly had I started reading from the post that Mr. Raghav Chandra, one of the organisers and Principal Secretary in Urban Development Department, MP and author of Soul, Mind, Body – Mapping the global citizen, came up to the podium and objected.

This took me unawares. Was I not audible? I said I wrote this after the Batla house incident.

“No please don’t read anything of this nature. Read any other post of yours.”

It was then that it dawned upon me that he has problems with the nature of my post, about the Hindu-Muslim issue that I have taken up.  And that too because this MAY sound offending to some members on the dais. Javed Akhtar, the noted lyricist and poet, was the chief guest for the event.

But my post spoke against the ghettoization of Muslims. And Javed Akhtar too has voiced his opinion on these issues.

But the organisers seemed not to have much appetite beyond the first few lines. Had it not been for Javed Akhtar, who had the courage to hear criticism, I was already packed out of the podium. He asked me to continue. I explained that I am from the majority community but I am here to speak in favour of muslims; doesn’t that speak about my secular nature.

Anyways I read out the post, deleting some sentences that could have further pissed off the organisers. Now I didn’t have the appetite for any more controversies.

As I came back to my seat, I suddenly realised, how easy it is to be misconstrued on the web, how easy it is to be labelled as a Vikram Buddhi or Chyetanya Kunte.

But the blogosphere has never ever tried to stifle my voice. They agree or don’t agree and this builds up to a more rational thinking for all. Javed Akhtar responded with a similar answer when one of the audience posted a query regarding effectiveness of blogs. Debate he said was more healthier than keeping in ones heart and blogs are a great way to debate, referring to my blog post. But is the world beyond the blogosphere tolerant enough for debate. I got my answer yesterday.

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11 thoughts on “How my voice was stifled when I talked of secularism

  1. The world outside the web is really not in a mood to debate…or else would there have been a vikram buddhi inside jail and a journalist who threw a shoe at the same man let off

    • I haven’t seen the exact copy of what Vikram Buddhi said but I don’t think a man as intellectual as him will write just anything against bush. There would have been some matter. In my case too, even though it was in favour of muslims, the organisers thought otherwise just by the first few lines. They don’t look at the context of words written. Just start acting.

    • This is what I too wanted to ask them. Didn’t they know then that this may sound offending to someone? btw I found this practice of screening blogs strange. had there been many entries, it was understandable. But there were not. So the only reason that comes out to me now is that they wanted it to be a toothless discussion forum.

  2. I too participated in the meet and it is very different from the other bloggers’ meet. This one looks more like a bureaucratic one- more bureaucrats than bloggers. Also did you see how the bloggers were given so less time to speak. What they wanted was just call big celebrities and do some publicity exercise, not like the other blogger meets like Indiblogger where bloggers have the voice.

  3. Hey Rahi, I found you again, long time .. hope you remember me!
    The meet sounds like the open house sessions we have in our office. On the face of it, the management wants you to speak up of any issues, but beleive me, its all pseudo-openness, you can feel it. I think this is somewhat inherent in the Indian setup of things, I havnt seen really truly open free sessions, speeches etc …

    • I am really sorry to say that I am not able to recognise you. Hope we met at the blogger meet organised by Indiblogger.

      About the recent blogger symposium, you are very right about that remark. They just wanted it to appear as a bloggers symposium without giving bloggers any say. That’s why I have come to like the meets organised by Indiblogger. They are for and by the bloggers.

      • Yes Rahi,we met at the indiblogger meet at Delhi,more than a year back I guess 🙂 I had a blog on internet marketing then, flyoni.com, thats no longer active …

      • So you have changed ur blog…that’s why I wasn’t able to recognise u. Yes we met at the blogger meet and also nikita introduced us again. So why u discontinued ur last blog

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