Friday, 5 July 2013

Can a Writer be a Terrorist?

I know that many of you who have opened this post are very intrigued as to what follows. I’m sure many will vehemently disagree with what I have to say but I’m also sure that a select few will understand what I’m talking about here, which is very important because writers, I believe, have a moral responsibility to their readers. So I’ll begin from the point where I feel the line is drawn between voicing one’s opinions and inciting the mass.

It is quite common for writers, even more so than others, to feel strongly about issues that assault their region, state, country, religion, caste, community, etc... Sometimes, I feel that writers feel the utmost impulse in these cases to voice their opinion on the matter. It may so happen that the writer/s that have chosen to voice their thoughts in the public domain may do so very vocally, i.e. in a most precisely accurate or in a biased manner. In a very soft approach or in a very direct accusation. In an objective and distant style or in a highly subjective and opinionated piece of work.

It is all very hunky dory till the people feel that something should be done about the problem OR that it was time to take action OR that it was imperative that the government did something about the issue OR that the opposition party had to question the government OR a petition needed to be filed OR a candle-light march should be organized OR there should perhaps be a ‘Bandh’…

Till then it is all very good, but what happens when a writer’s work is so flammable that it ignites hatred in the people, either against one another or the government? What happens when, due to a single article or a book or false propaganda or misuse or misinterpretation, a writer’s work becomes a weapon in the minds of people, who are then turned into senseless monsters of rage?

Doesn't then the Writer become a Terrorist? Is he/she not igniting the fuel of anger in the public and whitewashing their brains into turning upon each other as animals? It may so happen that the writer’s work is misused by someone else as a tool of violence. This is seen in the case of major religions everywhere, since a lot of religious texts are misinterpreted to incite hatred against other people. In that case, I cannot say who is to blame. But if the writer, in all sense and proper frame of mind has written something that incites the readers to act against the law of the land or against humanity or against a general code of morality, then that writer can, in my opinion, be called a terrorist.

All I can say in conclusion is that some fervour, a little motivation, some morale building is acceptable, inciting hatred is NOT. Writing, just like teaching and healing is a sacred profession and is to be practiced with the utmost care, keeping the sensibilities of the society and age in mind. A writer wields immense power and with

"Great Power comes Great Responsibility"