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Bombay HC orders removal of four scenes from Jolly LLB 2: Will antillectuals raise voice now?
What should be the degree of freedom of expression or for that matter freedom of creativity? It's a subject of fierce debate especially in a democracy. Some are of the view that such freedom should be absolute whereas some people think that nothing in this world should be absolutely free. All freedom must be with a rider that it shouldn't infringe someone else's emotions, dignity, sentiment and related rights.
In India, I always find the advocators of absolute freedom (of expression) display utter duality. When M.F. Hussain painted nude portrait of Hindu Goddesses, same people called it freedom of artistic creativity and labelled the opposing group as fringe group of religious extremism. But when cartoons of Prophet Mohammad are published, the same group questioned intention of the publisher adding that it hurts religious sentiments of people.

Finally, the cartoon publisher was killed in a terrorist attack and many justified it although M.F. Hussain's decision of leaving India is still considered as blot to Indian democracy, which couldn't stop the so called fringe groups from threatening Hussain.

Let's go back to a recent example. Pahlaj Nihalani censored some scenes from 'Udta Punjab'. Then these absolute freedom group raised their voices to high decibel disapproving such censoring citing freedom of creativity and artistic independency. When the Punjab government decided to stop screening of this picture in the state citing that the picture would demean the dignity of Punjab, it took a political turn. Finally, court intervened and released the film with a single cut. The most important point that the court upheld by going for one cut was that nothing can be free from censuring.

Recently, Sanjay Leela Bhansali was assaulted in Jaipur by a group of people who accused that Bhansali is distorting the history through his film "Padmavati'. The entire film circle as well as literature circle stood up and started condemning this incident. Yes, the assault must be condemned as no one has right to manhandle anybody. But should the distorting of history be also condemned? No, the elite circle again argued that freedom of creativity is absolute.

Now, another incident took place which has been selectively ignored by these freedom flag bearers. The Bombay High Court ruled that Akshay Kumar starrer 'Jolly LLB-2' can be released only after removing four controversial scenes. According to the Bombay HC, those scenes mock Indian judicial system.

Point is, then what would be the degree of freedom? Should the decision suit a group? If it's about M.F. Hussain's nude paintings of Goddesses then it's matter of freedom of expression, however in case of cartoons of Prophet Mohammad it is an offence. In such a scenario how to fix the degree of freedom? To which side the degree of freedom should be inclined? If Pahlaj Nihalani censors some scenes or the Punjab government objects to a picture should it be called as infringement of freedom and if Bombay High Court asks to remove some scenes from a picture, it should be considered as Constitutional justification?

If Bhansali is opposed alleging that his film hurts dignity of Rajputs, should it be called fringe act? But when people object to Kamal Hasan's 'Viswarupam' citing that it hurts minority sentiments then why it should be considered as judicious objection?

I asked many self-claimed intellectuals regarding this paradox. But they always remain either mum or try to divert the issue. If you start a debate on this you will find the mentions of Hindu fanatics and after some time Narendra Modi's name will be dragged.

When debates become directionless I start doubting their intellects. Because of such duality I always back myself in calling those self-claimed intellectuals as antillectuals. If an intellect (even if self-claimed) changes his position selfishly and convincingly what else would you call them?

I always have a firm opinion that nothing can be free in this world or there should be no absolute freedom. The reason being, human is a social animal. Where there is mention of social means some social obligations become mandatory. While exercising individual freedom one has to take care of other's right to dignity, sentiments and reputation. Those who don't care about these social requirements either they are anti-social or antillectual.

I am just waiting to see how many antillectuals raise their voice against the Bombay High Court's ruling to remove four scenes from Jolly LLB-2. I am sure every such dual character will remain mum until a Nihalani censors or a fringe group attacks someone else citing infringement of social/regional dignity.

Should such antillectuals be ever given importance?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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