In a country where citizens inherit socio-cultural intolerance, antifeminism and narrow-mindedness, expecting freedom with respect to speech or any other aspects of an individual’s life will be a long animated delusion. It is a utopian idea formed in a naïf mind.
The Constitution of India limits free speech in the country, and at the same time it allows the Indian citizensto interpret/misinterpret it on the basis of their limited knowledge, moderate intelligence and unrestrained prejudices.
A person who promotes or exercises freedom of speech should understand that it can only go to a certain distance before it attracts fanatics. And, expecting a mad dog to not to bite you because you are not biting him is irrational (people who get easily offended, please replace ‘mad dog’ with ‘furious lion’, like Snoop did). Fanatics cannot be stopped from misinterpreting liberal art and speech in the way they please, because our pseudo-democracy and regressive society have given them the leeway to do so.
The champions of freedom of speech should also understand that ridiculing religion and peoples’ faith, in a country formed on the basis of a communal massacre and dominated by politico-religious discriminations, is subjected to adverse reactions. Although our society has come a long way and it’s becoming more accepting in nature, but change comes gradually and requires a great deal of perseverance. So, until our society becomes truly liberal and transparent, there should be some limitations to practice freedom of speech.
Now the question arises, who decides where the limitations should be placed- the government, law enforcing entities, parents, society, peers or religion? The Indian continent is so diverse that people can never successfully delineate the limitations of ‘freedom of speech’, so the best thing for liberal individuals is to draw their own lines, and be cautious about when and how far they stretch them.