Forty-two years ago, textile trader Subhash Chandra Agarwal, then an engineering student, was miffed with a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus conductor who refused to give him a ticket for a 20 paise journey.
So, he shot off a letter to the editor of the Hindi daily Dainik Hindustan complaining about the misconduct.
“When the letter was published, a DTC van arrived at the college campus. I hid somewhere in the college, fearing the worst. But friends later pulled me out and said the DTC conductor had come to apologise for his misconduct. That’s when I realised the power of taking the initiative and writing.”
That kicked off a habit of writing letters to newspapers—3,699 at last count—and eventually got him into the Guiness Book of Records. When India’s landmark Right to Information (RTI) Act, was passed, Agarwal graduated into filing petitions for records to be made public.
On Tuesday, 12 January 2010, Agarwal’s achieved his biggest victory, when the Delhi High Court ruled that the office of chief justice of the Supreme Court of India came under the purview of RTI, a contention that had been controversially contested by incumbent, K.G. Balakrishnan.
Photograph: courtesy The Hindu
Read Agarwal’s story here: Indian Express; The Times of India; The Hindu; CNN-IBN;
Not that they are sensitive to these things, but the highest court in India has delivered a stinging slap on the menacing faces of the moral police and thought thugs; the connoisseurs who know exactly what we should see, hear, wear, watch, read, write, paint, feel and think.
Maqbool Fida Husain‘s Bharat Mata—a 2004 oil-on-canvas painting of a nude woman whose shape mimics the contours of the map of India, with the names of Indian cities written over her body—has been decreed “a work of art” by the Supreme Court of India.
Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, while refusing to initiate criminal proceedings against Husain for allegedly “hurting public sentiments” and the “national pride of Indians”, said:
“There are so many such subjects, photographs and publications. Does the sentiment of the petitioner get scandalized by the large number of photographs of erotic sculptures which are in circulation? Will you file cases against all of them?
“What about temple structures?
“It (Husain’s work) is art. If you don’t want to see it, don’t see it. There are so many such art forms in temple structures.”
Also read: M.F. HUSAIN: Do you throw out a naughty child?
RITU MENON: In the name of Bhagwan, Allah, God…
Desh ke police kaise ho? Moral police jaise ho!
Just how is this dress an affront to Hindu culture?
A two-judge vacation bench of the Supreme Court of India has restrained the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat from arresting sociologist Ashis Nandy, for an opinion piece titled ‘Blame the middle class’ he wrote in The Times of India in January this year.
Justice Altamas Kabir: “There is no ground for harassing a journalist. Let him live in peace. You [Gujarat] are prosecuting this man for his article. These are worst (sic) things happening in this country. If a journalist cannot write then who else will? I have read the article and I find nothing is objectionable. They look for a soft target to catch but not even a single politician or small municipal councillors are caught. He [petitioner] is 71 years old and is a soft target for you…. What is the grievance of the complainant? How does it [article] bother him? Is he a staunch nationalist?”
Justice G.S. Singhvi: “People coming from the land of Mahatma Gandhiji have become so intolerant that they can’t even tolerate an article.”
Cartoon: courtesy Surendra/ The Hindu
Also read: “A DISGRACEFUL ASSAULT ON MEDIA FREEDOM’
‘Intimidation won’t help restore Gujarati asmita’
Cross-posted on churumuri