Prankur Chaturvedi

Artists should be able to express their emotions freely for the sake of democracy, says Prankur Chaturvedi

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Facebook0

A video of one of Prankur Chaturvedi’s poems has run into difficulty because in it he highlighted the casual use of the phrase ‘anti-national’ in India – disagreement and criticism by an artist is not being anti-national.

‘”Ye saala Anti-National hai…Ise toh Pakistan Bhejo” is a very common statement people are using in India these days,’ Prankur told ArtsCulture. ‘The literal meaning of the word “Anti-National” is someone who is opposed to one’s own nation.’

Prankur explains that the law of the land has clearly laid down sections to deal with such anti national elements. One such law is Sedition which is defined under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which was invoked in the celebrated case of Queen Empress vs Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1897.

‘It is interesting to note that time and again courts have taken a view that Sedition can only be invoked in very serious and grave cases as the chances of it being mis-used are on a higher side,’ he said.

This section would apply only to those activities involving incitement to violence or intention to create public disorder or cause disturbance of public order (Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar).

‘Art and artists in India have time and again been threatened for what they say and feel. It is really shocking because artists should be able to express their emotions freely for the sake of democracy. The way we are using the word Anti-National so casually is just hilarious,’ said Prankur.

‘Disagreement and criticism within the constitutional framework is healthy and an essential element for any democracy. We all say and believe that the Constitution of India is supreme and no one else can overpower that.

‘Then why it happens that an artist is being threatened because of his or her art. The Constitution of India was formed after various rounds of discussions, debates, sometimes arguments because the objective was clear. Anybody can agree to disagree. I don’t know what has happened to us? And why it has happened? Honestly, if you see, intolerance was there much before Independence, continued during the emergency and still is very much prevalent.

‘But we need to do something about it because these trolls are destroying the democracy, Again and Again!!’

Read our Q&A with Prankur Chaturvedi