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Freedom of Speech
The protagonist of the Hollywood film The American President says, “America isn’t easy… It’s gonna say ‘You want free speech?’ Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil… You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.” Or take the case of The Queen, which was an unflattering portrait of the British royal family in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death. There was nary a protest from any quarter, or demands to ban the film, despite the story being about people who were still alive. In contrast, in India, even long-dead figures seem to be beyond the hands of artists. Apparently, they belong only to politicians.
We here also believe in Net neutrality very strongly. So if someone wants to access some service and the operator wants to charge more money to do so, then that’s bad and it isn’t a fair thing and it is a big issue. But at the same time, when you have a student in a classroom looking up for information for free to do her homework, it is hard to see why there is an issue with that.
One story that inspires us is the story of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. He is a brilliant guy who did not have the best formal education. But he had one math textbook and that was enough for him to basically recreate all of modern mathematics. The question that we have to ask ourselves is what would have happened if he had access to the whole Internet? How many Ramanujans are there who don’t even have access to the book and if you give them access to the Internet, would they not be able to make their own lives but also make great contributions to the world overall?
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