ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Tyranny of 'Hurt' Feelings

Kancha Ilaiah, the director of the Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy in the Maulana Azad University in Hyderabad, has been igniting minds by raising important questions on culture, caste and spirituality for years. The police have now filed a case against him for an article he wrote in the Andhra Jyothi, on a complaint filed by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). Ilaiah asks whether god is a democrat or not in the article and the VHP has claimed that this has hurt religious sentiments. Even if a complaint was filed, is it enough of a reason to register a case against him under Section 153A and Section 295A, which empower the authorities to act against people who commit deliberate and malicious acts aimed at outraging religious sentiments and spreading enmity between groups?

In a democracy people have every right to air their opinions so that other people can reflect on them. Ilaiah has always been committed to the empowerment of the marginalised and questioned the enslavement of the discriminated communities. When one raises questions about caste and culture, gods and goddesses, food habits and rituals, a section of people who have benefited from the system will feel “hurt.” Is feeling hurt enough of a reason to file a case against the academician? Those who are hurt by his article could have countered him with their argument. That would have led to a public discourse and a process of education.

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