Moral policing up, govts lack courage: Shashi Tharoor

Speaking on the “Anxiety of audience: The dilemma of Indian writing in English”, the novelist said that “moral policing” is increasing in society as governments have shown “lack of courage” in handling such elements.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:March 13, 2016 12:50 am
Shashi tharoor, freedom of expression, congress, Sahitya Akademi Foundation Day, Anxiety of audience: The dilemma of Indian writing in English, moral policing, lack of courage, india news, nation news Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

Instead of “defending the freedom of expression”, politicians and governments “appease” those who protest against a book and “disrupt law and order”, said author and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor while delivering the Sahitya Akademi Foundation Day lecture here Saturday.’

Speaking on the “Anxiety of audience: The dilemma of Indian writing in English”, the novelist said that “moral policing” is increasing in society as governments have shown “lack of courage” in handling such elements.

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The Akademi, an autonomous body under the Culture Ministry, had recently faced flak from writers across the country for not upholding the free speech of authors. As many as 39 authors had returned their Akademi awards in protest.

Responding to a question on the present situation, he referred to his novel published over 25 years ago, “The tendency of people who claim to have been offended (by a work of art) has grown dramatically. Certainly, it’s much worse than when I published The Great Indian Novel, where I took liberties with nationalist heroes and with the Mahabharata itself.”

He added, “I wonder, if that book were published today, whether I would get away with it. I think probably it would be far more difficult to get away with it.” He also pointed out that “a new book that does something similar could run well afoul of the moral policing we are seeing increasingly in our society”. He urged the audience to fight for their right and “deplored” governments for succumbing to these protests. “I think this is a lack of courage of successive governments I personally rather deplore,” he said.

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  1. P
    Pat
    Mar 13, 2016 at 1:31 am
    Why is this man not convicted.? Has he bought the judiciary system? None of the congress have been indicted for their crimes It's a shame common man even if innocent is proved guilty, thanks to corrupt lawyers like sibal jethmalani,surjiwhatever,tiwari etc.
    Reply
  2. L
    Lovely
    Mar 13, 2016 at 12:44 am
    Best moral policing starts from home. . You can not kiss woman publicly.
    Reply
  3. K
    kulaputra kulaputra
    Mar 13, 2016 at 12:29 am
    Agree that moral policing has to stop. Incidents are not as high as to cause alarm. Moral policing and different kinds of policing exist in every part of the world and can be punished under existing penal code. However, free speech and policing have nothing to do with each other. The only time we lost free speech was in emergency declared by Congress.
    Reply
  4. R
    rightan
    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:14 pm
    Moral policing need to be very high. Otherwise some people will even get away by killing their wives.
    Reply
  5. C
    Curious onlooker
    Mar 13, 2016 at 5:55 am
    There is nothing "moral" in moral policing. The perverted force are there only at the behest of the so called leaders who are themselves straitjacketed in their thinking and anything said or written about myths and fables that are not compatible with their warped sense of accuracy, the the moral police set about their job the only way known to them; that of destruction.
    Reply
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