Of course we haven’t heard the last of Aseem Trivedi, the redoubtable cartoonist/activist whose cartoons caricaturing Indian national symbols landed him in prison on charges of sedition, no less.
In the wake of the nationwide brouhaha over the trampling of his constitutional right to freedom of speech, and a general shocked reaction from the Indian ‘talking heads’ over the charge of ‘sedition’, the Mumbai high court let Trivedi off on bail yesterday.
As a critique, I would categorize Trivedi as mediocre; he makes a point, but lacks the finesse required of a political satirist. His blog with his cartoons would have gone unnoticed but for some attorney with too much time on his hands who filed a Public Interest Litigation against his depiction of the Indian national symbols and the Constitution. By the way, does anyone know who is that zealously conscientious citizen who set this messy ball rolling? Ironically, he doesn’t seem to fit into the agenda of any of the current players in this game.
So even as Trivedi is enjoying his little-more-than-fifteen-minutes of fame over his projected martyrdom, the Maharashtra government has decided to drop the sedition charge against him.
Now here comes the fresh twist. Not to be left out, some major Dalit groups have threatened to launch massive agitations if the government drops the sedition charge against Trivedi because they feel his caricaturing of the Constitution is an insult to the document. And what is the Dalit connection here you ask? Well, you have got to believe this – the Constitution was drafted by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, who is revered by Indian Dalits as their ‘savior and god’. Is that bizarre, or is that BIZARRE???
Since when did the Dalits become the Constitution police? Just because they are followers of Ambedkar, they think they have the righteous passage to take umbrage at any slight to the Constitution.
I am restraining my thoughts from going towards what’s happening in Libya, Egypt and Yemen where US missions are under attack because the Islamists there are upset over an anti-Muhammed film made by an Israeli who resides in the US.
The world definitely does not need people getting violent over cartoons and films. Nor does it need cartoonists and filmmakers who wittingly or unwittingly incite violence. Who is making a point for whose benefit and who is being sacrificed in the bargain?
I do not know about the Arab world, but watch this space for more on the Dalit drama… it will be a while before the curtain comes down on that one.