July 18, 2006

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
—George Bernard Shaw

Ideas arise in human minds. They have to be expressed for them to be conveyed to other human minds. That immediately means that if there are limits placed on the freedom of expression, the increase in the stock of ideas will be curtailed. Worse yet, the good ideas which invariably threaten powerful vested interests will be prohibited and society will lose.

The development and growth of an economy depends on the generation and adoption of good ideas, which in turn depends on the freedom to express ideas. Thus there should not be any limits placed on the freedom of expression for the very practical reason that that freedom has an instrumental role in promoting the development of an economy.

To some, absolute freedom of expression may seem like too much to grant. “Yes, but, shouldn’t there be some limits on what could be expressed?” they may ask. My response is, “Who defines those limits?” Surely the powerful will define those limits, whether individuals or collectives. The record of the powerful in the past when it comes to defining limits has been dismal. Just two examples from the past: the Catholic church and the communists. Every good idea was resisted by those two.

In India, the freedom of expression is severely curtailed. The government is deathly afraid that the truth will come out. Banning of blogs or books is only part of the story. The larger story is about what is called “official secrets” which basically shields the powerful from the scrutiny of the people. Politically unpopular views don’t get to see the light of the day. The government censors and prohibits publication of ideas under the guise of “national security.”

India’s development is dependent on absolute freedom of expression.


20 Responses to “Blog!”

  1. Amrutha Says:

    i like the quote

  2. rk Says:

    Glad you liked it.

  3. rk Says:

    Just modified an old english saying into this:

    Bloggers can’t be choosers (in India).

  4. Gangadhar Says:

    That’s a wonderful quote,RK….
    This post seems to me like my thought amplifiers post!!
    Anywayzzz nice one here…
    Happy blogging with wordpress..thanks for blogrolling me…and i’ll change your url soon…

  5. rk Says:

    Thanks Gangadhar!
    “thought amplifiers post”: well, that’s an AMPLIFYING statement! 😉

  6. travel plaza Says:

    RK, Thanks so much for letting me know of the change in the blog scene. Really appreciate it.I had no idea as I was away on vacation these past few days. Am just catching up. Will return for a detailed read of all your latest posts:))

  7. ದೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಗೋಪಾಲ್ Says:

    Sakkath RK,
    Gothirlilla yeegle gothagidhu..adikke appa naanu first WORDPRESS nalli open maadidhdhu..gothithu heege aguthe antha 🙂

  8. rk Says:

    Travel Plaza: Well, a totally unnecessary development. Will wait for your comments after you get into form!

    DG: Kiladi kanayya neenu!;)

  9. Swetha Says:

    came from Gangadhar’s blog..Seen ur comment on world jump day..Pl check for my comment over there…

    thank you. Nice blog here.

  10. rk Says:

    swetha: thanks for the link at gangadhar’s blog. really amazing how the artist can provoke so much discussion!

    and thank you for visiting my blog. do visit again.

  11. rk Says:

    What a coincidence that the post I wrote on Friday, the day when the blog blocking started, I wrote a piece on Hindus and Non-Hindus! You can read it here:

    If news reports are to be believed, the list issued by the government contained those sites that they considered propagandist; some wrote against the Government, Islam and Christianity. Wonder how my blog didn’t come under the hammer!

    Of these, four were blogspot blogs, and one was on typepad. That’s just five of 17 in this list (there are reports of others that have been blocked in the past) that made me, and the world, aware that access to sites was being controlled in India.

    On the face of it, even a thousand is but a drop in an ocean of millions of websites, but it also seems to be a case of ‘Have power, will use’ – the list seems arbitrary since one is a blank blog, another aggregates news related to the word ‘Hindu’ and yet another is a blog with two harmless posts, both posted in 2004.

  12. Good writeup. You moved into wordpress now? Trying to beat the system? 🙂

  13. rk Says:

    Welcome Kishore. In fact, WordPress has lot of useful features. 🙂
    Thence, blog blocking was more a boon than a bane.

  14. travel plaza Says:

    RK, Finally caught up on all your previous posts. The piece on Bharatanatyam was just super. Very informative. I myself was a student of this dance form for a few years, but did not know the history behind it. Thanks so much for enlightening many like me.

    Take care and keep blogging:))

  15. rk Says:

    TP: Thanks and I’m happy you found it informative.

  16. Just wanted to comment on how much I enjoy reading your posts.
    Thanks …. RE

  17. Hey, I really appreciate your blog. Look forward to reading more from you.
    Many blessings from Hawaii …. EL

  18. […] Recently, the government acted foolishly by blocking all the blogs coming in the blogspot domain and that was an act we need to dissent seriously. A blog is another medium of communication. Sad that some people find a way to misuse every new invention. Blog world too has its share of saints and sinners like the real world. […]

  19. hawaii lover Says:

    Personally, I have been going to hawaii every year since my family bought a time share on maui. I love it. i dont understand how people cant just go once. Io fell in love with it!

  20. […] then, I have been regularly posting at RwB. When the blogs got blocked in mid July ‘06, I changed from Blogspot to WordPress on July 18, 2006. Sad that I missed a […]

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