Title: The Free Voice (On Democracy, Culture & The Nation)
Author: Ravish Kumar
Translation: Chitra Padmanabhan, Anurag Basnet and Ravi Singh
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
Price: 324 /- (Amazon)
Rubbish, that can be the only word used for this ‘Time Pass Book’. When you are reading a prime-time anchor/senior journo’s writings you expect some ‘real stuff’ regarding to the subject i.e. on Democracy, Culture & the nation. Shri Ravish Kumar fails to do so and ends up in mockery of things which he hates personally. The book seems as a frustrated journalist’s account of day to day sufferings.
Since Kumar is a well-versed journalist, a serious & yet prime time anchor, the readers expect fine-tuned analysis of the subjects he is dealing with, where he fails miserably in this book. It seems his personal likes & dislikes on certain issues, incidents & ideologies are reflected in his jostling many a times Kumar ends repeating himself on same issues in different chapters.
The book contains nine chapters in which Kumar unsuccessfully tries to dissect some serious issues like alleged ‘injustice to judiciary’ (in references to Judge Loya case) myths & misinformation created by ‘It cells’ & news factories. He solely blames BJP for everything and forgets to keep the balance. Though up to certain extent he rightly pokes finger to this serious issue related to credibility of social media tools, it seems he is using this book to settle some scores with his ideological opponents.
The book starts with a serious note on democratic values of this nation & it ends up like a humorist’s poor joke. A journalist of Kumar’s experience and stature ends up mimicking India’s spiritual culture – ‘The babas of India’. As if only ‘spiritual gurus’ or ‘baba’ are the only culprits of Hindu religion. Ironically the journalist who raised questions on Jay shah’s decision to sue ‘The wire’ lectures his readers in his chapter about ‘The fundamental Right to Privacy”
Apart from these too personalized & almost biased views, Ravish Kumar tries to keep balance in the book, especially on his favorite subject ‘Secularism’. In the last chapter he sermons “If we don’t have compassion within ourselves, we will never understand what it means to be Hindu, or Buddhist or Muslim. No one can be religious without compassion. A person without compassion is a savage underneath the veneer of piety & religiosity”. For him religion becomes a means to establish domination. Religion ultimately teaches you to be tolerant.
Thanks Ravishbhai, “आप यह न लिखते तो पता नहीं हिंदुस्तान का क्या होता |
By Dr. Shirish Kashikar