Friday, September 14, 2012

The most intelligent comment I have read on the Aseem Trivedi controversy

There have been many reports and editorial comments on the arrest in Mumbai last week of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. But it is veteran journalist Salil Tripathi, whose writing I admire, who has put the whole issue in perspective.

And the issue, he writes in his column in Mint is not whether Trivedi's humour is juvenile or witty. That is irrelevant.

To be sure, the cartoons for which Trivedi landed in trouble are neither great works of art, nor are they necessarily funny. Like graffiti, some of his cartoons remind one of teenage toilet humour ...  But... his right to express himself is fundamental, even if it is a rant ... For the Constitution recognizes his right to express himself, without preaching violence. And he aims to taunt and ridicule, even if he may end up irritating and disgusting some. But that’s the point of the law.

And look how Tripathi treats the person who filed the case against Trivedi in the first place:

When the laws are wrong and the defendant acts to exercise his freedom, what is the state to do? Err on the side of freedom. And yet, unfortunately, from the police who registered the complaint of a random busybody (who shall remain nameless here, to deny him the oxygen of publicity he craves), and the prosecutor who decided to argue the case, and the magistrate, who thought it fit to admit the case, the state has capitulated again to the hypersensitive, insecure among us.

This is commentary of the highest order. Read the column in its entirety here: "Aseem Trivedi vs the State".


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