Recently, a lot was said on Gaysi with regards to the latest podcast (yes – the indecent one!) and I sat quietly observing the motion, like an idiot. Disgust expressed, threats given, apology expected, heartfelt apology given and yet people were lashing out. Some stood for us; some refrained from making any comments while others chose to walk away…
All fair in the game. But how do I move on when I read lines like, “Freedom of speech comes with its limits in public forums”? This raises many more questions: Who decides Gaysi is a public forum? How does freedom and limit make sense together? Isn’t restriction on free thought and free speech the most dangerous of all subversions? Isn’t that what the society has been doing to us all along?
One reader commented “Even if they were one individual’s views and not those of the board/team, the editorial policy needs to challenge this. I request the editors to remove this podcast: it is in utterly poor taste. Unless of course, they have no interest in retaining their south Indian readership.”
The editorial policy on Gaysi has been so liberal in giving everyone a voice, that it’s easy to mistake us for not having a policy at all. Gaysi is an open space where ideas are shared and challenged. Haven’t you heard, “The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas”? Gaysi imposes no limit on the range of discussion, no limits on thought. No subject is taboo in this space.
As part of the Team I can proudly say we have never tried to sanitize Gaysi as we don’t believe in suppression. It believes in the power of words and strongly advocates that all views should be expressed and challenged. Otherwise bad ideas will not be defeated, but will thrive and fester underground! As for the ill-disguised threat, I am pretty sure that our South Indian readership is loyal and forgiving.
What we need is intelligence that can hasten wholesome and natural social evolution. Stereotypes are here to stay. You would be saintly if your mind was absolutely free of any generalizations. Is it then okay to just nest them in your mind, as long as it stays there? Much of the content in popular media may it be movies, TV shows, stand up comedy or even something as common as the mindless drivel of music VJs uses stereotypes may it be to further a plotline or rouse a few laughs. But what determines its acceptability is context.
Are we machines that do not see or perceive context, intention and are ready to feel offended at anything said even in jest? Are we any different from the Shiv Sainiks or Shri Ram Sena who are easily slighted by any subversion from Hindu morality and see themselves as vanguards of Indian culture and political correctness?
In the podcast, there was no divide to begin with, the participation was well balanced. There were two gorgeous women from the South India and one idiot and the other a loud mouth from North. A lot was said about our own experiences and thoughts. These may have been based on what we hear and know as stereotypes. A lot was said on South Indians and North Indians and Mumbai women and Delhi women and NRI’s… Why, you ask? To discover the untruths.
We are a mad group of people with quirks, opinions and fantasies and we share them openly. We are entitled to our viewpoints, personal experiences and ill-fitted generalizations. Challenge us, fight with us but hey, don’t mute our voices. It’s after a long struggle that we have been able to find one such space. Freedom of speech will never be challenged here. There will be no controls and boundaries. We, as a Team also want to assure our contributors that nothing has changed. You’re still welcome to send in all your writing just the way it is. No need for self-doubt or tip toeing around us.
Dear Readers & other fellow Gaysi members,
Gaysi has never tried to bind its members or contributors through agreements or policies. We’ve given free rein to all irrespective of what society imposes on us. So the choice to love or leave is yours to make.