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Which to prefer Freedom of expression or Nationalism & Why.


"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to agree freely according to conscience, above all liberties." Said by John Milton.

The essence of freedom of expression is the ability to think and speak freely and to obtain information from other through publications and public discourse without fear of retribution, restriction, or repression by the government. It is through free expression, people could come together to achieve political influence, to strengthen their morality and to help others to become moral and enlightened citizens.

Freedom of expression has four broad special purposes to serve:

  1. It helps an individual to attain self fulfillment.
  2. It assists in the discovery of truth.
  3. It strengthens the capacity of an individual in participating in decision-making.
  4. It provides a mechanism by which it would be possible to establish a resonance balance between stability and social change.

Nationalism is a sense of loyalty towards one's own nation. It creates a sense of psychological bond with the nation. The bond of affinity is strong to such an extent that people belonging to a particular nation are suspicious of foreigners.

The essence of nationalism is a unifying, integrating, all pervasive fueling among the people or peoples of country who owe their first and last duty to the nation. Thus, nationalism is a great liberalizing force which unifies and elevates and seeks to preserve and promotes all that is best in a nation. It inspires a spirit of self-confidence in a nation.

Now, there is a big debate running in our country currently that preference of freedom of expression is better or nationalism or in other words, freedom of expression is greater or nationalism. The issue of freedom of expression verses nationalism has never been as dramatic as it is in current scenario.

It all started on 9th Feb. 2016 when certain students of Jawaharlal Nehru University organized an event against "Judicial Killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt." During this event anti Indian slogan were raised along with a demand of separation of Kashmir. As a result few people were arrested under section 124A of IPC.

The other major incident which infuriated this debate was started by RSS and Hyderabad MP Owaisi. The RSS leader emphasized usage of slogan "Bharat Mata Ki Jai "as a symbol of proving nationalism. Hyderabad MP Owaisi in response refuse to utter this slogan as it is against his religious belief.

From the above two incident, one must claimed that the constitution provides us freedom of expression and speech and hence such action (as in JNU incident, students gets arrested) are unconditional. Totally right! But why one should not understand that freedom of Expression and Nationalism co-exist together. The constitution gives full freedom for expressing dissent and disagreement but not the country's destruction and at the same time our constitution also doesn't mention any criteria to prove nationalism and hence dictating "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" by any individual in pressure or forcibly goes against constitution.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right and nationalism is a fundamental duty of an individual. Both go hand in hand. From my opinion, one must use his or her own mind to prioritize nationalism or freedom of expression under different circumstances. And one also needs to identify the difference between nationalism and aggressive nationalism, use of freedom of expression and misuse of freedom of expression because in both the cases, the latter one is destructive in nature.

People should use their right but they should not forget to follow their fundamental duty as well.

To conclude, peoples are free from any hurdles by sharing their speech or expression virtually. I think freedom of expression is most valuable aspects of society to build up in fruitful way. Freedom of expression is guaranteed by constitution of India but it does not allowed to speak whatever trash or rubbish which causes harm to others, our nation or disrespect our nation. Your speech or expression point out defects and wrong done by others (mainly by governments) moreover it should not touch nationalism.

Hence, preference of both is better or both are essential or both are at the same level but balance should be maintain between them because overuse or misuse of any one of them may lead to destruction of individual, society and at the upper most Nation.

- GUPTA POOJA NANDLAL SAVITRI