What is Indic civilizational legacy on FoE? Sabitri debated with Yamraj, the God of death, won the debate and got her husband’s life back. Nachiketa questioned Yamraj. Draupadi debated the entire court when she was being humiliated, & eventually got her husbands free.
All these individuals were speaking “truth to power”, to the ultimate power, be it God of Death or be the monarch & his courtiers in a royal court. So that “truth to power” is intrinsic in Indic civilization.
In documented history, Shankaracharya rejuvenated Hinduism by defeating Buddhist scholars in debates in court after court.
I traveled in Tibet for 6 weeks about 16-17 years back. In an important Buddhist monastery near Lhasa, I saw young monks debating with each other as part of their education. Debate sessions in the monastery are famous.
One can read about the import of debates in traditional Buddhist education in the autobiography of Dalai Lama - Freedom in Exile. It’s a very good book incidentally, free from the cliches peppering our discourse today.

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More from @sarkar_swati

10 Feb
Mahua Moitra came up with another mostly banal and annoying speech in LS. I have no comments on her allegations on a CJI, that is between her and BJP-RSS. But the part on fascism charge on BJP-RSS is banal, cliche and unsubstantive +
There are 1000 of legitimate grave charges on BJP-RSS, but fascism is not one of them. They got a record breaking mandate twice in a row. In a transparent election. By calling them fascist, one is diminishing their voters, which is unacceptable.
Second, this Eurocentric frame of reference is the most offensive. When some one wants to describe a non-Democratic force, why doesn’t the Indian context count? British imperialism is relevant to India, so are Mughal e Azam, Nawab etc. How about using those to describe despots?
Read 6 tweets
8 Feb
FoE has two pillars to rely upon - 1)laws protecting speech 2) social protection for speech.The laws invariably protect against Govt intrusion though there is no reason why such laws should apply on private companies, but they don’t today.Comparison between India & US wrt these:
US still has stronger laws on FoE. The First Amendment. Nothing remotely comparable in India. The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to define hate speech simply because of the subjectivity involved.
But the laws can take one only so far without social backing. In fact cultural ethos is any day a far stronger deterrent on free speech because social influence is pervasive while the Govt can sanction only so many. This is exactly where India today scores over US.
Read 16 tweets
7 Feb
I don’t know the farm law, so won’t venture in2 the debate that it is right or wrong.There is clearly strong Corp. backing of the law which should make us suspicious given Corporate history.But while one set of farmers oppose another set (in different states) support. So 2 sides+
+ What is in some ways amusing is the set of celebrities who have jumped to its support or opposition. Neither set has any connection to farmers, have not shown any interest in farmers’ issues earlier and have chosen sides nonetheless +
Tells us how celebrities are garnered for “causes” and how seriously one ought to take their endorsement or opposition. +
Read 9 tweets
6 Feb
The Democrat Party in US devises its India strategy based on the inputs it gets from global left units in India, which would be the Lutyens media. Why it gets India wrong each time and underachieves on its objectives vis a vis India. A short thread+
It’s no secret that President Obama + Secretary Hillary did not want Modi to become India’s PM. They continued the Bush era sanctions on Modi wrt visiting US and other interventions hoping that those would undermine Modi’s image in India. The outcome was the opposite.
The US sanctions on Modi actually boosted his image in India, or at the least did nothing 2 weaken him. Modi won the PM chair of world’s most populous democracy with a record mandate in 2014. While he was on US no visa list. This was a clear embarrassment for US foreign policy.
Read 13 tweets
5 Feb
independent.co.uk/news/world/asi… India threatens to jail Twitter employees for non compliance with orders to ban accounts and posts related to farmers agitation. A short thread on the hypocrisy of the reactions to this
After Twitter banned several posts&a/c in US including that of then President of US,it has no moral ground to complain when GoI threatens to act for refusing to replicate the act in India. If Twitter complains, it is essentially saying it has the sole right 2 decide who can post.
But Twitter can not claim any kind of sovereignty. It is a pvt company and subject to the laws of the land. It can contest GoI in a court in India, but that’s about it. From a principled POV, a nation state must be more powerful than a pvt company because its rulers are elected.
Read 7 tweets
4 Feb
How Meena Harris, Niece Of US VP  Kamala Harris, Opposing Indian Farm Laws, Is Becoming A Problem For White House. The Swarajyamag article is meant to mislead their readers counting on their limited knowledge of US politics. A short thread below: swarajyamag.com/world/how-meen…
Meena Harris’ aunt Kamala Harris is very close to US celebrities and Corporates. Most of the leading Democrats, particularly the California Democrats are. Meena Harris is following her aunt’s path here +
Meena Harris’ plug of Rana Ayuub is hardly a problem for White House. Rana Ayuub is the India columnist of Washington Post. WaPo had blatantly supported Biden starting from the Democratic primaries.
Read 6 tweets

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