The ability to create a world inside your head at whim can be painful at times, and a real pleasure at others. When you create the same world repeatedly, successively, passionately you might feel slightly schizophrenic. A sharp awareness of reality can be manna, at such times.
Ever since I saw Anbe Sivam or to go back further, read Che's Motorcycle Diaries, I have fancied myself a communist. I've often tried to ignore the temptation to dress up, have sub consciously been shabby at times because the communist in my head wildly approves, of this idea so far from communism, and yet so dear to the imagination. My first protest on Saturday shall be memorable to me for one of two reasons, I am not sure : Either it made the emotion in my stomach soar, at the idea of being a real and physical voice for a few hours or it introduced me to new facets of whimsical dreaming. (Smiles)
When I reached the Town Hall my instinctive desire was to change, by some magical force, the location of the protest to the opposite side of the Town Hall, because I wanted to watch the sun set behind the Hall while I was feeling incredible. The statue of Kittur Rani Channamma on a horse with a machete in her hand quickened my heart, though I walked soberly. 5 minutes later, there I was holding a poster, looking sheepish, the expression compounded by my fear of cameras and my guilt at not having brought a poster of my own.
The most comforting part of a students' protest is the conviviality at the site of the protest in spite of how seriously everyone takes the issue. You feel at ease because the protesters can roughly be divided into two groups-people who're there for the first time and therefore look as sheepish for varying reasons and people who've been to a protest before and have discarded their inhibitions so conclusively that their nonchalance can cause you to chide yourself and become sensible.
I was quietly pleased by the effort that had been made by most of those who turned up; their spontaneity, their awareness of the issue, their willingness to speak on a public platform, pose for the media in cardboard jails and scream out slogans. I thoroughly approved when someone screamed, “It's fucking wrong” into the mike because I realised that in that breach we had all made the protest our own, in every way. That it was seeping slowly, into the thickest skins.
There are several faults with the revision of rules proposed by the Indian government:
The double standards- The creator of content is always the victim while the complainant need not worry about the consequences of his action.
The absurdity- Google argues against censorship by giving this example : Censoring the word 'sex' on the internet can cause erasure of all passport information!
The legal consequences seem to be oppressive and overdone as the impromptu skit, again keeping with the mood of the atmosphere conveyed in a conversation between several criminals in a jail cell. All of them ministers( Keeping with the Anti corruption movement) except one, who played a pitiful blogger.
The power that it gives a person to dictate their opinions - Someone remarked that censoring the internet was equivalent to censoring art, bringing to fore the analogy between the M.F.Hussain issue and this one.
As the hours progressed, I was feeling more strongly about the issue and appreciated the songs that several people sang; hoarsely, slightly out of pitch but never lacking in conviction. I tried to gauge the meaning of the Kannada songs, laughed with everyone as someone sang sportively in Malayalam, a language that no one there understood. I was losing my weakness of feeling self-conscious in the middle of strangers and I was enjoying it. The candles in the end added solemnity and as I walked back home, under the eagles flying so high, I promised myself that I would protest again, perhaps with more conviction. That it would mean more, much more the next time.
(Written by a new free software enthusiast, who participated in FSMK's protest against the Internet censorship debate.
The author has sought anonymity )