Free Speech

by Yash 0 Comments

Freedom of speech is the right to articulate your opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction.

Free speech gives you the right to say whatever you want. However it does not mean people have to listen to it, let alone agree to it.

If you own a communication medium, a platform then you do not necessarily have to give space to anyone who wants to express their opinion.

If you own a newspaper and you refuse to carry my article that does not take away my right to free speech.

But if I write my article on my blog or on a website I own and you ask the government to block the access to my website, that does attack my right to free speech.

In simpler terms, I can print my opinions on a pamphlet and distribute it outside a railway station. That is free speech. If you don’t take the pamphlet, or take it and throw it away or wipe your nose with it, it does not affect my right to free speech.

So I can write a book, give a speech, write a poem, make a movie, draw a cartoon about whatever I want to convey. That is my freedom of expression. You DO NOT HAVE to read it, listen to it or watch it.

However there is a difference between free speech and hate speech. If you espouse hatred through your speeches, you can be prosecuted.

Here are some examples of free speech vs hate speech

I am a proud Hindu – Free speech
All Muslims are terrorists – Hate speech

Kejriwal is an idiot – Free speech
Kejriwal is a traitor, send him to Pakistan – Hate speech

Barkha Dutt is disgusting – Free speech
Someone should rape Barkha – Hate speech

There is no god – Free speech
Let’s burn all the churches – Hate speech

Identifying hate speech is just a matter of plain old commonsense. If you encourage violence through your speech it is hate speech. If you target a person or a group of people based on their race, colour, caste, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or any other criteria and your intention is to cause them harm – it is hate speech.

It’s as simple as that. Everybody is free to say anything as long they don’t intend harm to anyone. You don’t have to listen what they are saying, you don’t have to agree to what they are saying and you don’t have to provide them a platform either.

We need to get rid of the death penalty

by Yash 0 Comments

I used to be in favour of death penalty, I am not anymore. Other than emotional appeal of retribution I can’t find any logical reason for continuing with state sanctioned murder. Especially in a country like India where the capital punishment is increasingly being used as a quick fix solution to appease the masses. Conditions that hardly justify the rarest of the rare criteria. I am still in a dilemma about what a society should do with open and shut cases like Ajmal Kasab or Delhi bus rapists but continuing with the death penalty for such cases just gives an excuse to the state to hang anyone to satisfy a mob.

Death penalty could have been avoided in two recent instances – Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon where I feel the trials were murky and two people were sacrificed just to give people an illusion of justice.

Capital punishment has to go.

But what to do with extreme cases is something we still need to figure out. Anders Behring Breivik – the  Norwegian right wing terrorist who killed 77 people is going to study political science at Oslo University from his prison cell. He’s in solitary confinement probably for the rest of his life. His quality of life in prison seems to be better than living conditions of many in India, yet he complains that his coffee is served cold, he does not have enough butter for his bread, and he is not allowed moisturiser. This baffles me.

An argument for capital punishment

by Yash 0 Comments

Updated 27 July, 2015 – I have changed my views about the capital punishment. I feel the death penalty has to go.

I am in favour of capital punishment in rarest of the rare cases. Like the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab and the four Delhi rapists. They don’t deserve to live.

It is true capital punishment does not act as a deterrence. For the matter of fact no punishment does. Does that mean we stop punishing criminals altogether? No we still punish people. Criminals have to be locked up or made to pay fine so as to realise the harm they have done, to protect society from their repeated offences or to reform them. But none of this acts as a deterrent and nor does capital punishment. Capital punishment is retributive justice. You committed a very heinous crime, you gotta pay for it!

Right to life is a fundamental human right

Right to life? Opponents of death penalty say everyone has right to life even the most ruthless murderers and criminals. True. Life is precious. But doesn’t that apply to the victims of the criminal as well? When one commits a gruesome murder and takes away someone’s life he does not care for the victim’s right to live, then why should the society care for the murderer’s right to life? You forfeit your right to life the moment you encroach on other’s life. When people commit theft, we either fine them or put them behind the bars. Isn’t right to enjoy your property and freedom also a fundamental human right? When we can disregard those rights of criminals why do we hold the right to life so sacrosanct when they themselves don’t?

Because we are humans! If we do that what is the difference between us and them?

That’s a lofty idea, as useless as the idea of communism. We are social animals. We live in a group and we mutually benefit by living in a society. So there are some rules, some laws that have to be followed by all members of the society. If you want to enjoy the benefits of the group, you have to follow the societal conduct. If you break the social contract, the society does not owe you anything. If you act against the members of the society, the society has the right to stop you, even take away your life if you threaten the life of other law abiding members of the society.

A society should not be burdened with keeping the law breaking renegades alive if there is absolutely no remorse, no chance of reformation and definite possibility of repeated crime if let lose.

I am not advocating an eye for an eye approach. I am not saying all rapists or all terrorists should be hanged. Common sense should prevail. The penalty should be given only in the rarest of the rare cases. Someone asked, who gets to decide what is rarest of the rare case? What is the yardstick with which we measure whether a particular criminal deserves death? Well, we should leave it to the judiciary to decide. If we trust them to give non death sentences then we should trust our judges to also decide the rarest of the rare cases and give death sentences.

What is there is a mistake? What if the law is misused? You never give a punishment that you can not take back.

That’s a wrong argument. Which law is not prone to misuse? Innocents do get convicted falsely. But does that mean we shouldn’t have any law? Rarest of the rare case also means the culpability is proven beyond any doubt. If there is even an ounce of a doubt, don’t grant death penalty. But when the case is crystal clear, there should not be any hesitation in awarding capital punishment. When people oppose strong anti-dowry and pro women laws citing the reason that it might be used by women to harass innocent men, we laugh at them. So how can we bring up the same the-law-can-be-misused-so-don’t-make-it excuse?

Besides how can you ever give back a punishment which is not financial in nature? How do you give back time spent in jail? How do you give back a tarnished reputation, loss of opportunity or anything that a jail term takes away from a person? You can’t, just like the death. So if the culpability is clear, there is no question of having to take the sentence back in future. Send’em to the gallows!

Women as bad drivers is a sexist stereotype

by Yash 0 Comments

These jokes are doing rounds on Facebook, basically about women’s driving skills –


When we laugh at the jokes like these, we think it is innocent fun. Even many women think so, but somewhere at the back of our mind we make an assumption that women are somewhat inferior to men when it comes to technology, driving, gadgets or finance/investment. That mindset is what leads to some men taking it to extreme and showing their power through rapes and other violence against women.

You wouldn’t make a joke against a person having a different skin colour, you wouldn’t make a joke on people from lower castes or from other religion because that is treated as racist, casteist, communal and there are laws against them. But making jokes based on gender stereotypes is universal. People from all over the world will merrily join in to laugh on a girl v/s boy joke.

We inculcate this thinking in our children since a very small age that the girls are weak, they don’t understand things as well as men do and they need protection and direction from men all the time.

Until we change this mindset, men will continue to show their manliness by raping women.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood

by Yash 0 Comments

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood

This famous tongue twister can be sung on the tune of Uthe sab ke kadam tara rum pum pum….

Here is the original song

I recorded the video on iPad

Copied to computer through USB

The original video was 10 MB, converted it to avi of 3 MB using the awesome Freemake video converter

Uploaded to YouTube and Facebook.

Two types of people

by Yash 0 Comments

There are two types of people

1) Those who just perform their biological functions – eating, reproducing and dying – the majority

2) Those who invent new things or new ways of doing things, they change the world, they change the way the majority lives. They are obviously the miniscule minority.

wheel, fire, weapons, farming
steam power, electricity, assembly line
trading, advertising, discounting
gravity, relativity, evolution
printing, telegraph, radio, television, telephone, phonograph
decimal system, zero, binary, transistors, C++, Internet, Google, Facebook

Awesome inventions! They have made the lives of the category 1 people worth living.

So far I belong to category 1.

ICICI bill pay is going from bad to worse

by Yash 2 Comments

I have been an ICICI customer since 2003. I have been using their ebill pay facility for many years now and never had any problems but off late I am having so many issues its just too much! The problems started when my registered billers suddenly failed to get paid a few months back. I was surprised when one month my electricity bill came with a warning, I checked and found my LIC premiums weren’t paid and my electricity bill wasn’t paid either. I had no idea what was wrong, so I deleted the biller and added a new one. In the meanwhile I made payment of the LIC premium from LIC’s portal and after a week or so ICICI charged my card again for the premium! So I ended up paying that month’s premium twice and that too with penalties!!

This time around I went in and deleted the scheduled LIC premium since the last premium was paid twice. It went well on the scheduled payment date and today I got a message saying my card was charged for that missed premium with penalty!!! W H A T   T H E   F U C K!

I have removed all my billers from ICICI now and am adding them in Visa bill pay. At least they do not charge my card automatically!

Tips for online book shopping in India

by Yash 3 Comments

Tip for online book shoppers in India: Compare prices at Iglooo.in and isbn.net.in before buying. I got The God Delusion from landmarkonnet for Rs. 171 (After 10% discount), which is available for as high as 325 at some other sites. Don’t remember when I last bought a book from Crossword or a bookstore.

Other book price comparison sites are indiabookstore.net and mysmartprice.com.

Also whenever you buy something online always search for discount coupon codes for that site. I searched for a coupon for landmarkonnet and got 10% discount. :) RetailMeNot is the site to find coupons and Google is always there.

http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/

Routine

by Yash 0 Comments

I sleep at 3 AM, wake up at 9. Reach office at 11, have lunch at 3, reach home at 10, have dinner at 11, sleep at 3 and the cycle continues…
Days, Weeks, Months, Years. Robotic life. I hate monotony. Sometimes its kick ass stuff, sometimes t]just plain old shit.

What the fuck am I doing here…….