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Which to prefer Freedom of expression or Nationalism & Why.


Freedom of speech and expression in its simple context is defined as the right to express one's own convictions and opinion freely in any forms of speech. The right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Indian Constitution to its citizens, also imposed reasonable restrictions with respect to the national security. This is the basic civil right that empowers every individual to play a significant role in building a democratic society.

The protection of freedom of speech is important for its following incredible virtues:

  • For the discovery of truth by open discussion
  • For self-fulfillment and development
  • For expressing belief and political attitudes and
  • For active participation in democracy.

Nationalism is a great democratic ideal that involves feeling of extremely strong attachment and patriotism towards one's nation. The feeling of oneness prompts every member of distinct groups to consider themselves equal in the eyes of the nation. This sense of unity enriched the human development through paradigm which says 'Live and Let Live'. The necessity of nationalism may be understood by throwing light on its merits as listed hereunder:

  • Useful for national development
  • Useful to establish democracy.
  • Extension of co-operation and fraternity.
  • Ensuring of internal stability.
  • Enhancement of human civilization.
  • Lessening the possibility of war.

The argument on freedom of expression and nationalism gained conspicuous significance due to agitation originated in the society by JNU students union. In recent days, few instances happened in the Indian premises which generated a need to argue upon significance of freedom of expression and nationalism. Some of the instances may be summarized as under:

  1. JNU Row: Since Feb'2016, at Jawaharlal Nehru University, a few hundreds of students raised slogans denouncing the hanging of the culprit for the Parliament attacks (2001) and demanding liberation of Kashmir. This protest is further worsened with the arrest of the President of Students' Union after he allegedly voiced out anti-Indian slogans.
  2. Declaration of the Hyderabad MP had created similar agitation by raising his voice against the national norms with his highlighting of religious sentiment.
  3. The suicide of the PhD student from University of Hyderabad due to suspension and expulsion from the university also created such disturbance in the social network of the nation. The suspension was due to their protest raised along with ABVP against screening of the documentary 'Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hain'.

All the above instances encouraged every citizen including the political administrators in dissolution of such occurrences in future. However, the actual picture opened pathway to difficult consequences rather than conclusion of such issues in constructive manner. The politicians considered these events to be an absolute measure to attract votes for election. Indirectly, they are making an advantage out of it for gaining benefits to their corresponding political party. Media is another group encouraging such instances and publishing the same in an elongated manner only with an intention to achieve top rating of its channel.

If these issues are worked out in a sensible manner, there is no question of raising the necessity of the Freedom of speech and nationalism. Because they are no way related to such fundamental rights and duties to be judged upon.

This is the time to realize the true purpose behind the formulation of fundamental rights and fundamental duties. The main idea of guaranteeing these rights and incorporating them in the Indian constitution is to enable its citizens to contribute their full strength and intellect in developing the nation. In present scenario, the empowerment of intelligence is necessary to mitigate the farmers' suicide, eradication of poverty, etc. There is lot of responsibility with each and every citizen to enhance their skills and come up with such resolution strategies to make this developing homeland into a developed nation.

In commemoration of our late President Mr. A P J Abdul Kalam, the greatest wealth and strength of any nation is its youth. Strengthening and empowering the youth shall be the best strategy to lead the nation in constructive path. Aligning to this approach, the right to freedom of expression has to be used for building a bright future. This strategic achievement may be enhanced in many-fold with the strong feeling of nationalism in the hearts of every citizen.

Therefore, to sum up, the freedom of expression and nationalism play in harmony with one another. The act of speech or expression when done in productive manner improves one's attachment to the nation i.e., Nationalism and the vice versa is also true. The balance of the freedom of expression and nationalism by the citizens is the only basis for Indian democracy.

- GURUPRAKASH