What Does Charlie Hebdo Ask Indians?
So the next was Charlie Hebdo attack! And, this time it is about freedom of speech. I could spot mixed reactions among my peers. There are many who condemn the brutality and who say Je Suis Charlie. There a few others parallel, saying ‘be responsible’ while handling ‘sensitive issues’. Before I raise my hands in support of either of the sides, let me ponder on the impact a satire could make. Or rather, the extent a satire could initiate change in the society.
What does a satire do? It neither raises a serious discussion, nor make anyone pull their hair out. All it does, is to bring a fault into picture, which otherwise would have been taken for granted. Satires raise an honest point with a gist of humor mixed in it. It would make oneself aware of his/her shortcomings, who otherwise would think perfect of himself and his culture.
The impact of it? In fact, minimal. The readers, who are busy moving their eyes between the heavy words in a newspaper or a magazine, would pause for a moment on a satirical piece, have a hearty laugh and move on.
The biggest limitation of a satirical creative is its life span. The art always deals with a short term issue relevant to that space and time. This may not always initiate a serious discussion. A series of it published for a longer time continuously among the readers could create a tremor among the readers, like it did in Charlie Hebdo’s case.
However, nothing could say Charlie Hebdo attacked Islam in particular. It did mock Pope on multiple occasions. The famous one was the image with Pope Benedict XVI holding a condom above his head saying “This is my body”. The art was mocking on his reaction to wearing condoms. There are several occasions when Charlie Hebdo did made a point to notice. Its honesty and humanism are commendable.
Although, it does not create any greater impact, satires say WE ARE FREE! A society free to criticize another culture, religion or a person is obviously democratic. It can create discussions, point people at their faults and thus, make them think. Hence, I would say India is a perfect place where Charlie Hebdo can nourish. But, are we ready for a Charlie Hebdo here? Are we free to criticize?…