For as long as I can remember, I have always hated those sleek black phone covers people protect their expensive BlackBerrys, Iphones and Nokias with. I have never used one of those and enough people have commented on my decision. You use a phone, it will gradually wear away; to try and protect against the inevitable seems futile. Somehow, it reeks of a lack of courage, the inability to color outside the lines, to explore the moon. Very few people can do these things and they change life forever for ordinary mortals like us. Galileo did it, Thomas Cromwell did it, Ayan Ali Hirsi is doing it now. Therefore, it is imperative that we allow artists and free thinkers all the freedom that there is. Sure, there will be those with hidden agendas, there will be those in the pay of political parties who will sell their art to push forward their narrow, vested interests. But in due course, people will learn to distinguish the wheat from the chaff.
What saddens me is the rise of the Hindu extreme right, as a kind of reaction to Islamic fundamentalism. I adore Rohinton Mistry & see no reason why his books should be banned from the Bombay Univ curriculum simply because they carry insulting notes about Balasaheb and the Shiv Sena. This is like saying a mother will stop loving her child if others say bad things about him/her. Followers of the Shiv Sena and fans of Balasaheb will stay committed no matter what an author writes. I know this, for despite everything, I still possess a certain degree of respect in my heart for the late Bengal CM Jyoti Basu. In matters of liking or rejecting someone, the intellect often falls short.
So, no, the book shouldn’t be banned. Nor should Ms Roy be stopped from dropping her two cents (if she's arrested, she'll claim martyrdom for life). Let people be. As it is, there are too many rules to follow and too less space to navigate our lost ways.
The Bill of Lading
It serves as a badge of inclusion,
Endower of titles,
In a world full of labels,
It helps avoid confusion.
We got it when we were young,
You and I both were taught to use it with care.
You settled here, never crossed the mighty ocean,
I voyaged to Tahoe and Hana and set in motion.
Ancient curses and cursed passions.
I’d heard of those from her,
Seen her wither and die,
Didn’t heed her warning cry.
Travelling to foreign shores,
Without a bill of lading?
I was called to settle the scores,
And pay the dues of mating.
I met the captain, just a while back
A kindly man, but not one to go slack.
He read the penalty, imposed the fine,
It was unreasonable, I gasped,
It was payment in blood, for a glass of wine.
I couldn’t protest, you were not around,
I paid in full, head hung in shame,
What once seemed pristine,
Is now steeped in blame.
You smiled smugly, in silk robes replete
The impostor had been ousted,
The ancient curses calmed,
The rites of passage are now complete.