The Artist House

“It is also to be noted that standards of morality in a society change with the passage of time. A particular activity, which was treated as immoral few decades ago may not be so now. Societal norms keep changing. Social change is of two types: continuous or evolutionary and discontinuous or revolutionary. The most common form of change is continuous.

However, a practice which may not be immoral by societal standards cannot be thrusted upon the society as immoral by the State with its own notion of morality and thereby exercise ‘social control’.

The words ‘obscene, indecent or profane’ are disjunctive, implying that each has a separate meaning. Prurient appeal is an element of the obscene, but the normal definition of ‘indecent’ merely refers to non-conformance with accepted standards of morality.”

These above paragraphs have been delivered by none other than the Judges of the highest court of the land i.e. The Supreme Court of India.

I quote this judgement in the context of the recent hullabaloo in Udaipur on the opening, functioning and now censuring of The Artist House (TAH).

I have a confession to make here, I have not visited this place even once and there was this one time I did want to go but was refused entry as ‘Stags’ weren’t allowed that night !! Our group of boys (In our head we still are) couldn’t take anyone as our better-half’s had gone for their annual summer pilgrimages ( I hope you do get the joke or else read no further) and we obviously couldn’t take anyone else for fear of its repercussions and reprimands.

However, since then whatever updates I have seen of Social Media about the TAH, I am scared to even venture anywhere near it, for fear of being ‘UNCLED’ by the extremely hip crowd. I mean, to see such a crowd enjoying is something that reminds me of my Mumbai college days of the 90’s. OK!!  Even then I was never the cool kid but of what was still then just a ‘Metro Phenomenon’. And then TAH happened to Udaipur.

Hats off to the guys behind this place for their vision and adventurousness to give such a place to Udaipur. I have family and friends visiting this place with rave reviews.

But the way this place has now been targeted is appalling, if there is a legal problem then so be it and let the owners deal with it legally but I have a problem for this place being branded immoral and a den of all the vices. There is no one set moral system that fits all and even if there is one who decides for me?

The values and morality can’t be cherry picked and please do not impose a warped ideas of what is right and wrong on educated, adult, youths ( I do not know if I fit in the last category) of Udaipur !!

So go ahead and enjoy The Artist House, dole out the bucks and remember they close at 11:00 PM now !!

Freedom of Speech and Expression


There is raging debate going on across the country over one’s Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression especially in the context of the incidents at Jawaharlal Nehru University, wherein its Students Union President has been charged with Sedition over some alleged inflammatory speech which has now been proven to be doctored

Let us first understand what our Constitution has to say on the above :

Article 19(1)(a): All citizens shall have the rights to freedom of Speech and Expression

This right has been restricted by Article 19(2) :

  • Nothing in sub clause (a) of clause ( 1 ) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence

Like all provisos of laws goes each one is subjected to different interpretations and it is up to the courts to decide what is the right interpretation. Over the years the Supreme Court pronounced extensively on the same in some landmark cases wherein the they have vehemently protected our Rights as the citizen of this great free thinking democratic country.

In the case of Supdt Central Prison Vs. Ram Manohar Lohia the courts ruled that the limitation imposed in the interests of public order to be a reasonable restriction, should be one which has a proximate connection or nexus with public order, but not one far- fetched, hypothetical or problematical or too remote in the chain of its relation with the public order.

In another case of Kedar Nath Singh vs State Of Bihar, the court ruled that a citizen has a right to say or write whatever he likes about the Government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the Government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder. It is clear that criticism of public measures or comment on Government action, however strongly worded, would be within reasonable limits and would be consistent with the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.

The foundations on which our nation is built since 1947 is too strong to be shaken up by some stray incidents happening inside a campus. And moreover nationalism and patriotism can’t be dictated and put under one political ideology or hue.

Right Wing Groups Glorify Nathuram Godse On His Death Anniversary
Members of right wing groups organize Shaurya Diwas to commemorate the 66th death anniversary of Nathuram Godse at Panvel on November 15, 2015 in Navi Mumbai India.

We never see the same level of overzealous hyper ventilating patriotism when the people from the state of Bihar are thrashed in Maharashtra, or when the idea of India belonging to one particular community is raised or when Nathu Ram Godse the murderer of Mahatma Gandhi is celebrated by the Right wing organisations!!

In May 2014 the NDA government was sworn in with an overwhelming majority and man have they delivered!!!! They were setting the agenda during the elections on some consequential issues and now the agenda being set is on Love Jihad, Beef Ban. They seemed so busy in scuttling the voices of students on campuses from Rohith to Kanhaiya and slapping sedition charges that they have no time to arrest the downward spiral of economy.

To quote the great Urdu Poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz :

जिस्म पर क़ैद है ज़ज्बात पे जंजीरें हैं
फ़िक्र महबूस है गुफ्तार पे ताजीरें हैं

लेकिन अब ज़ुल्म की मियाद के दिन थोड़े हैं
इक ज़रा सब्र कि फ़रियाद के दिन थोड़े हैं

चंद रोज़ और मेरी जान फक़त चंद ही रोज़ …

(महबूस = captive, गुफ्तार = speech, ताजीरें = punishments)