Tuesday, October 4, 2016

815 (Part 1/10) of Freedom of Expression of Bureaucrats, Citizens, Politicians, Writers, Netizens + a look at criticism against Shri Ramachandra Guha + my own personal experiences

I am neither a adorer, nor a hater of Shri Ramachandra Guha, a renowned Indian Author. I must admit that I know very little about him. Nor, have I read many writings of his except, some occasional Telugu language translations of his articles, reproduced in Telugu Newspapers like Eenadu, and Andhrajyothy.com. The motivator for me to write this blogpost is, an e-mail from a friend. In his email, he has pasted a criticism- cum - open letter titled "What stops me from speaking my mind- a common man’s open letter to Rama Guha-- An open letter to Ramachandra Guha regarding his recent article “Eight reasons why India cannot speak freely”. It was addressed by one Shri Mayuresh Didolkar freentglty Commentary | 13-09-2016.

For those readers of mine who wish to study the above open letter, here is the link. Click to go to http://indiafacts.org/stops-speaking-mind-common-mans-open-letter-ram-guha. . Though we cannot agree with everything highlighted / discussed in this open letter, it is still a brilliant piece of a writing. I can't say (of course, nobody needs my certification), that the Open Letter is truly impartial. There seems to be a BJP bias, just as Mr. Ramachandra Guha has been alleged to have a Leftist bias or some other bias.

There are some references to intolerance-strains shown by some feminists like Ms. Barkha Dutt in her Tweets. Here is one such quote:

barkha dutt @bdutt.
Dear @amazon @amazonIN shocked to see you allow your forum to be misused by abusive trolls & are unable to filter book-buyers from this lot.

Frankly @amazon @amazonIN to see trolls 'review' (in poor grammar) books they haven't read makes you just another tasteless online forum!

There is also a reference to a Tweet by a suffering writer:
Ms. Gayatri Jayaraman's tweet

Question: Can we use a banal expression like 'half glass- empty' and 'half glass - full to say in a nutshell about the freedom of expression (FOE) scenario prevailing NOT ONLY INDIA, but also GLOBALLY?

Ans: Bigotes and fanatics of all religions seem to have a field-day on the Internet. A psychology seems to have evolved among the netizen: "If they do, why can't we do? If we do not do, we shall be lagging behind. We may perish. We have to show our solidarity and strength. etc. etc.

GOVERNORS AND SENIOR BUREAUCRATS also seem to get hurt, when inconvenient information is sought / published; or inconvenient questions are asked, even when they may be of 'half-glass empty, half-glass full type'.

There are news reports of an inconvenient-conversation between Telangana Governor Shri Narasimhan and one Trainee at National Police Academy, Hyderabad, who happened to be an Additional DGP (Prisons) in Rajasthan. This happened on 21st Sept. 2016. Subject was about: Right to Information Act. Incidentally, Shri Narasimhan, Telangana Governor is also a Retired IPS Office, and Retd. Director of INtelligence Bureau.

Here are some links of the same news which is variously reported on Net:

1. Hindusthan Times: Click to go to http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rajasthan-ips-officer-expelled-from-police-academy-for-misbehaving-with-governor/story-R03oxs5UfeXTo1Qkt603OK.html .

2. Deccan Herald.com: Click to go to www.deccanherald.com/.../ips-officer-shunted-academy-quizzing.html. DeccanHerald report is somewhat reticent.

3. DeccanChronicle.com.: Click to go to http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/210916/rajasthan-top-cop-takes-on-telangana-governor-sent-back.html. This report is more informative. Title of this Report: "Rajasthan top cop takes on Telangana Governor, sent back".

The Governor was presenting a lecture on administration on Monday morning. While explaining about impediments in administration, the Governor spoke of how a few RTI activists had become like a mafia and were threatening the administration.

Cop held out suicide threat
Rajasthan additional director-general of police Indu Kumar Bhushan was forcibly sent back to Jaipur on Monday evening. During the question-answer session that followed, Mr Bhushan argued with Mr Narasimhan, stating that he lacked awareness about the RTI Act.

When the Governor’s ADC tried to persuade Mr Bhushan to desist, the latter started arguing with the ADC. This took place in front of about 40 IPS officials from across the country. Taking a serious view, academy director Aruna Bahuguna lodged a complaint with Rajasthan DGP Manoj Bhatt, stating that the academy was sending Mr Bhushan back.

When the Academy issued the relieving orders at about 4 pm, Mr Bhushan created a ruckus and threatened that he would slit his throat if the orders were not withdrawn. Finally, the academy authorities sent him back to Jaipur with the help of the Central Industrial Security Force personnel and local police at about 6 pm.

ybrao-a-donkey's humble views. वैबीराव एक गधे के विनम्र राय. వైబీరావు గాడిద వినమ్ర వాణి

While English news papers have reported in different ways, Telugu newspapers and TV channels seem to have avoided the news altogether. Telugu news papers claim that they have "dammu" (English: courage, intrepidity), but their business sense and survival instincts seem to inhibit them, from reporting facts. "Not publishing" a deserving news item, is also a type of "PRE CENSORING", while this pre censoring is done by Newspaper Chief Editors and Owners. In India, we may not need much Government pre censoring because, our newspaper and tV Channel owners themselves are Great Censor Boards. Excess Reporting i.e. "making mountains out of mole hills" is also a sort of "CENSORING".

If my readers find any reports in Andhra Jyoty or Eenadu or Sakshi or any other Telugu Newpaper / TV Channel, about the expulsion of the RAjasthan ADGP from National Police Academy, Readers are welcome to write comments below, and if possible add a link to them.

4. NewIndianExpress.com: Click to go to www.newindianexpress.com/...Governer.../2016/.../article3626206.ece. This item has brought a new angle. The ADGP trainee seemed to have filed an RTI application for information on cancellation of his nomination to the training at National Police Academy.

Here is a quote from the above link of NewIndianExpress:

Senior IPS.jpgThe police officer allegedly had an argument with the governor too over the governor’s comments on RTI applicants. Indu Kumar Bhushan raised objection to the comments and exchange of question and answers that lasted for a few minutes when the governor’s assistant intervened.

Incidentally, Indu Kumar Bhushan, who is a 1989 batch IPS officer, in March-2015 filed a RTI application with the Police Academy seeking information regarding cancellation of his nomination from the MTCP Phase-V requested for 10-point reply.

ybrao-a-donkey: Unfortunately, I have disposed-off my old newspapers of Deccan Chronicle. There seems to be some variance between the Electronic and Print Editions of Deccan Chronicle. The main contention of the ADGP who is reported to have misbehaved with Guv / or Guv's Assistant, seems to be "Why the Governor was calling RTI Activists as mafia?". Some RTI activists, previously seem to have hurt in some manner, the Governor, by seeking RTI Information about the number of his visits to Tirumala-Tirupati. Intolerance of Governments past-present-future, and the Government Officials to RTI requests is a vexative problem, again of the same type as 'glass half-empty' 'glass half-full'.

While everybody, sane enough, will agree, that there are bound to be, and there need to be limits on Right to Freedom of Expression, particularly when communal tensions are flaring in the country, and the country is facing external threats from terrorists and neighbor countries, the real question is will the politicians and Govt. Officials allow us to use that right of Expression, and seeking Information, at least upto those boundaries? There will be interpretation problems, no doubt.

TAILPIECE धूमकेतू తోకచుక్క

In the Telugu film "Server Sundaram" style, "Long long ago, so long ago, how long ago, no one can say", when I (this ybrao-a-donkey) was working as a Bank Manager in Mahaboobnagar District, I had in a meeting, an argument with the District Collector, Mahaboobnagar, who remarked that "Bank Managers have THICK SKIN". I stood to my ground. Then, my boss, who was also present in the meeting intervened, apologised, and saved himself from embarassment. Probably, he might have saved me from possible embarassment, I am not sure.

Similar Bankers' meetings are taking place even today, particularly those chaired by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu. The State Level Bankers present there, keep mum, and accept the despicable scoldings and advices / threats by Hon. Chief Minister Mr. Naidu, for business reasons. I shall write about these things on some other day.

The dividing line between 'misbehavior' and 'standing to one's own arguments' is very thin. It is a question of interpretation. When 'Rajbhavan' (Governor's Palace) is involved, we should not expect Indian Media to report impartially. It is their business sense, common sense, and above all survival instinct. Can't blame them.

To continue.

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ఘోరమైన విమర్శలకు కూడ స్వాగతం, జవాబులు ఇవ్వబడతాయి. Harsh Criticism is also welcome.