Progressive Free Speech case, Delhi High Court




By Justice S Muralidhar, in the Delhi High Court.

The Petitioner, which has produced a documentary film “Had Anhad”, part of a series of four films around the legacy and teachings of Kabir. The films were conceived by the documentary film maker Shabnam Virmani.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.

The effect of the words must be judged from the standards of reasonable, strong minded, firm and courageous men, and not those of weak and vacillating minds, nor of those who scent danger in every hostile point of view.

The visuals and words presented in the film cannot be viewed in isolation. They have to be viewed as part of the whole film.

The burden is on the state to show that the benefit from restricting the freedom is far greater than the perceived harm resulting from the speech.

The film Had Anhad will forthwith be granted a “V/U” certificate of unrestricted viewing by the CBFC without any of the excisions directed in terms of the impugned orders of the CBFC and the FCAT. The writ petition is allowed with costs of Rs.10,000/- which will be paid by the Respondent Union of India to the Petitioner within four weeks.


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Roe v Wade

In the United States Supreme Court.

Roe v. Wade (1973) ruled unconstitutional a state law that banned abortions except to save the life of the mother. The Court ruled that the states were forbidden from outlawing or regulating any aspect of abortion performed during the first trimester of pregnancy, could only enact abortion regulations reasonably related to maternal health in the second and third trimesters, and could enact abortion laws protecting the life of the fetus only in the third trimester. Even then, an exception had to be made to protect the life of the mother. Controversial from the moment it was released, Roe v. Wade politically divided the nation more than any other recent case and continues to inspire heated debates, politics, and even violence today (“the culture wars”). Though by no means the Supreme Court’s most important decision, Roe v. Wade remains its most recognized.

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Budget aggregates 2016-16


The stuff below is from the book “Day to Day Economics” by Satish Deodhar (IIM Ahmedabad Business Books).

“The Thirteenth Finance Commission recommended a revised date of 2013–14 by the end of which the Fiscal and the Revenue Deficits should be brought down to 3 percent and 0 percent respectively.” This year these were 3.5% and 2.3%.

“The Revenue Deficit as a percentage of the Fiscal Deficit has been extremely high in the recent past (this year was at 3.54/5.34 = 66pc). Such a high percentage is worrisome, for it tells us that most of the debt that the government is incurring is being used for routine administrative expenses and will not lead to any asset creation.”

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They got somebody that knows what a shotgun’s for, ain’t they?

Excerpt from the script of “The Grapes of Wrath”


I can’t help that. All I know is I
got my orders. They told me to tell
you you got to get off, and that’s
what I’m telling you.

Muley stands in anger. The two younger men pattern after

You mean get off my own land?

Now don’t go blaming me. It ain’t
*my* fault.

Whose fault is it?

You know who owns the land–the
Shawnee Land and Cattle Company.

Who’s the Shawnee Land and Cattle

It ain’t nobody. It’s a company.

They got a pres’dent, ain’t they?
They got somebody that knows what a
shotgun’s for, ain’t they?

But it ain’t *his* fault, because
the *bank* tells him what to do.

All right. Where’s the bank?

Tulsa. But what’s the use of picking
on him? He ain’t anything but the
manager, and half crazy hisself,
trying to keep up with his orders
from the east!

Then who *do* we shoot?

(stepping on the
Brother, I don’t know. If I did I’d
tell you. But I just don’t know
*who’s* to blame!

Well, I’m right here to tell you,
mister, ain’t *nobody* going to push
me off *my* land! Grampa took up
this land seventy years ago. My pa
was born here. We was *all* born on
it, and some of us got killed on it,
and some died on it. And that’s what
makes it ourn–bein’ born on it, and
workin’ it, and dyin’ on it–and not
no piece of paper with writin’ on
it! So just come on and try to push
me off!

The scene dissolves to the BACK ROOM. The sound of the storm
is heard again as Tom and Casy watch Muley.

12:41 to 14:42 in the video below:

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How not to talk about Rohith Vemula

This is an impassioned article in the Hindu by Meena Kandasamy:

It features sentences like

  1. The suicide of a Dalit student is not just an individual exit strategy, it is a shaming of society that has failed him or her.

  2. In front of interview panels of Brahminical professors whose hostility reminds one of firing squads, how does a student hold his or her own?

I want to argue that one should try to avoid making such sweeping statements. One should be more pointed in their criticism and anger. This suicide case is a clear example of several individuals over-reaching their power and leaving behind the dead body of Rohith Vemula.

My anger would be vent towards ministers Smriti Irani, Bandaru Dattatreya, IAS officers Ramji Pande, Sukhbir Sandhu, Subodh Ghildiyal, Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile and other university officials involved, ABVP and its President Susheel Kumar.

In my opinion, an article like

which contains the actual letters sent by the HRD ministry to the University is much more effective, since it tells me who to be angry at. These IAS officers who wrote these letters have no business poking their noses into the affairs of a university. Dattareya is in the Ministry of Labor and Employment, what the heck is he doing mingling with the HRD officials. Why is Ramji Pandey as an Under Secretary to GOI acting as a liaison between Dattareya and the HRD officials?

RSS, ABVP and BJP goons are scumbags. Yes. Their ideology does not belong in the 21st century. We need to weed it out, and we will do it politically. We will make them irrelevant.

The dialogue, discourse, poetry and rhetoric around this incident are important, but it is even more important to gather facts and bring these people to justice in a court of law. When you say “this incident is a shaming of society”, you are giving space to these people to go guilt-free as individuals. And no, there is no firing squad of Brahmanical professors in IIT Delhi, a university I went to. Facts are facts.



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Why did Bhan Singh break down in tears?

“When I opened the door, a very old man, in his 90s, was standing there with an old woman, whom he introduced as his daughter.

The nonagenarian man asked, ‘Is this Bhan Singh’s house?’

I said, ‘Yes, whom do you want to see?’

And he said, ‘I am Bhan Singh. May I come in and see my house?’ I said, ‘Why not!’ And took them in.

“I told my cook to make tea and arrange for some snacks as the original owners of the house had come.

“Then I just stood there as Bhan Singh and his daughter carefully touched the walls around them, gently stroking them. They kissed the window panes and held on to the doors as they quietly sobbed.

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Daniel Ellsberg’s Advice to Henry Kissinger

First, you’ll be exhilarated by some of this new information, and by having it all — so much! incredible! — suddenly available to you. But second, almost as fast, you will feel like a fool for having studied, written, talked about these subjects, criticized and analyzed decisions made by presidents for years without having known of the existence of all this information, which presidents and others had and you didn’t, and which must have influenced their decisions in ways you couldn’t even guess. In particular, you’ll feel foolish for having literally rubbed shoulders for over a decade with some officials and consultants who did have access to all this information you didn’t know about and didn’t know they had, and you’ll be stunned that they kept that secret from you so well.

You will feel like a fool, and that will last for about two weeks. Then, after you’ve started reading all this daily intelligence input and become used to using what amounts to whole libraries of hidden information, which is much more closely held than mere top secret data, you will forget there ever was a time when you didn’t have it, and you’ll be aware only of the fact that you have it now and most others don’t….and that all thoseother people are fools.

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Khelshala – Chandigarh

A guest post by George Murphy. He can be reached at


It was hard not to carry a lot of preconceptions to India; predictably, reality made most misconceptions. The attention I got from Indian children everywhere was one happy exception. At Khelshala in Chandigarh, I told the children sitting before me how much I admired the aspect of Indian culture that brings children to revere the friend that is good in arithmetic, mathematics and science, rather than treating them as nerds. And, there with me was a living example – my squash friend, Raghu, who grew up in Chandigarh, did well in math and science, and was now a Ph.D. student in physics at Stanford University in California, where we play squash together.

Khelshala means place of play; khel means play and shala means place in Hindi. It was born of the effort of one Satinder Bajwa, who grew up in India and now splits his time between London and his home country. “Baj” as he is known by his former student athletes at Harvard, Bowden and several other places where he was a squash coach, believes that sports are activities around which young people and communities can be nurtured and developed.

Two squash courts, one single and one doubles court, are the heart of Khelshala. Nine to 11-year-olds from poor neighborhoods come to the building owned and refurbished by Baj and another family member. They take instructions in math, science and language – sort of extra help afterschool (not quite the one-on-one rich, already-advantaged kids all seem to be signed up for these days here at home). Later in the afternoon, the kids go to the doubles court for conditioning exercises and squash drills. The singles court has matches ongoing throughout the afternoon. The facilities are available for hirer to local residents, but are shunned unfairly by the all too status-conscious Indians of means. Too bad.

In existence since 2009, Khelshala is now producing results. Kids are finishing high school, going off to college and some have competed at regional and national-level squash tournaments and Won! This past September, around the time of the Annual NetSuite Open Squash Tournament held in San Francisco, four of the top 20 squash players in the world put on an exhibition match at the Stanford courts to benefit Khelshala. I bought half a table for three colleagues and myself. Dinner tables set up around the glass exhibition-court centerpiece. The squash was fabulous and dinner eaten as close as one could be to the courts. Between matches, Baj gave a slideshow of Khelshala and I realized I would be nearby in December on a business trip. Baj and I decided to connect when I was there. Pity that on my visit day, I was too sick to play, but my friend Raghu, who happened to be at his home for the holidays, came to Khelshala that afternoon – the kids ran him ragged. Baj, Raghu and I had time to talk and hear the stories underlying this worthwhile and successful initiative. Another visit for me seems likely.

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Lack of expertise and professionalism

Let’s say tomorrow, in India, all our politicians and bureaucrats turn honest, and start acting in public good. Would that be all we need?


We are seriously lacking in basic skills and professionalism in many fields. The level of human capital is astonishingly low. This has come up recently in the following ways

  • Almost any data collection in India is shit, recently I was looking into the cancer data of Punjab. It is impossible to find consistent numbers. Statistics and basic public health are solved problems. We just need people who are driven and have a good work ethic to just be there and do shit
  • Almost everything related to plumbing does not function properly. Forget public restrooms, even in homes. The PVC pipe leading out of urinals is almost always broken in public restrooms.
  • sewage treatment
  • effect of pesticides
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An ideal public servant

An ideal public servant should have the following personality traits:

  • commonsense and basic intelligence
  • compassion for the people he serves
  • honesty
  • hard work


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