Tag Archives: Intellectual Freedom

Freedom of Speech and Expression – Creative Work

Literature can act as a medium to connect to the readers only when creativity is not choked or smothered. The free flow of the stream of creativity knows no bounds and imagination brooks no limits. A writer or an artist or any person in the creative sphere has to think in an unfettered way free from the shackles that may hinder his musings and ruminations. The writers possess the freedom to express their views and imagination and readers too enjoy the freedom to perceive and imagine from their own viewpoint. Sans imagination, the thinking process is conditioned.

 Creative voices cannot be stifled or silenced and intellectual freedom cannot be annihilated. It is perilous to obstruct free speech, expression, creativity and imagination, for it leads to a state of intellectual repression of literary freedom thereby blocking free thought and the fertile faculties of the human mind and eventually paving the path of literary pusillanimity. Ideas have wings. If the wings of free flow of ideas and imagination are clipped, no work of art can be created. The culture of banning books directly impacts the free flow of ideas and is an affront to the freedom of speech, thought and expression. Any direct or veiled censorship or ban of book, unless defamatory or derogatory to any community for abject obscenity, would create unrest and disquiet among the intelligentsia by going beyond the bounds of intellectual tolerance and further creating danger to intellectual freedom thereby gradually resulting in “intellectual cowardice” which is said to be the greatest enemy of a writer, for it destroys the free spirit of the writer. It shall invite a chilling winter of discontent. We must remember that we live not in a totalitarian regime but in a democratic nation which permits free exchange of ideas and liberty of thought and expression. It is only by defending the sacrosanct principles of free speech and expression or, to borrow the words of Justice Louis Brandeis, “the freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think” and by safeguarding the unfettered creative spirit and imagination of authors, writers, artists and persons in the creative field that we can preserve the basic tenets of our constitutional ideals and mature as a democratic society where the freedoms to read and write are valued and cherished.

A creative work has to be read with a matured spirit, catholicity of approach, objective tolerance and a sense of acceptability founded on reality that is differently projected but not with the obsessed idea of perversity that immediately connects one with the passion of didacticism or, for that matter, perception of puritanical attitude. A reader should have the sensibility to understand the situation and appreciate the character and not draw the conclusion that everything that is written is in bad taste and deliberately so done to pollute the young minds. On the contrary, he/she should elevate himself/herself as a co-walker with the author as if there is social link and intellectual connect. The feeling of perverse judging should be abandoned. A creative writing is expectant of empathetic reading. It is not averse to criticism but certainly does not tolerate unwarranted protest. N. Radhakrishnan v. Union of India, (2018) 9 SCC 725.

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