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Even if India doesn't have a it, the question really is, shouldn't India have it. "Freedom of Expression" is not an American/French/Western concept. Shouldn't it be a natural human right?

In any case, its a fundamental right, enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Its not really a part of the culture, even in highly educated circles. Part of that has to do with the Indian apathy towards Humanities and pursuit of pragmatism over ideology.




> "Freedom of Expression" is not an American/French/Western concept. Shouldn't it be a natural human right?

It is a distinctly "western" thought[1] (as is "Human Rights"[2]). I actually didn't know whether it had been imported into India, given india's rather "mixed" (east/west) history.

The concept of 'natural human rights' is also a western concept, so no, I don't think we should continue to talk like our (western) way of thinking is the 'right' way, and everyone else is 'wrong'.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech#Origins

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights#Philosophy


No, it is not.

Wikipedia lists "western" examples because western canon is very well documented, and this documentation is reliable and extensive enough to quote from.

My readings of Indian history have led me to accept that the freedom of thought and speech have existed, formally and legally, for at least a thousand years - particularly, read up on the times of Asoka's rule.


Does that pre-date the (ancient) greeks? Plato and Aristotle had a lot to say about 'freedom'. When I say 'Western' I mean them, given our whole way of thinking (philosophy) and problem solving (scientific method) was defined by them.

From my brief look, Hinduism and the Ancient greeks started talking about Freedom (and freedom of speech) at around the same time (~400BCE).


> I don't think we should continue to talk like our (western) way of thinking is the 'right' way, and everyone else is 'wrong'.

Yes, there are arguments in the Western canon, but when Milton argues for freedom of expression in the Areopagitica, or Mill in On Liberty, they don't argue that you should support free speech because you're a Westerner. They don't make any special appeals to anyone's cultural situation. They make arguments that have universal application.

When you employ reasoning to advocate a principle, it does not become a territorial principle. It becomes applicable pending counterargument from anyone.

The argument that reasoning itself is a uniquely Western idea quickly becomes self-defeating. Anyone asserting anything has volunteered to follow certain logical rules of coherency, which have been derived in the West through observation, not proscription.

Demanding that others be silent, while you alone can speak, tends towards absurdity regardless of the continent upon which you happen to stand.


I didn't saying anything of the sort. But you dismantled that straw man rather deftly! Well Done!

I was referring in particular to "Human Rights". There are a number of different ways to approach building a productive society. Human Rights are one approach, there are others. Both are rational.


The concept of natural human rights is, similar to some kinds of religious belief one of those belief systems that strongly implies people who disagree with it are wrong. Few people who believe in say... freedom of expression and modern democracy are going to accept that imprisoning or murdering one's political opponents is a cultural difference that should be respected, for example.


Freedom of speech is a generic concept.

Also, long before Europe became civilized, Indian society (Hinduism) had freedom of speech [1].

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akeA0EvLEbs


Not Long before the ancient greeks though... Perhaps they were related? (i.e Alexander the Great)


It is not a western concept though the actual phrase in English might be a western term.

Freedom of speech was ubiquitous feature of Hinduism.




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