Rap wars questioning authority and in return, integrity, forced raids as retaliation for speaking up, suits of defamation to cover up the inability to take negative criticism, but most of all trying to squeeze an outrageous amount of money out of it as ‘charges’. Boy, we do know how to make a mockery of ourselves. We must seem so innovative to the West, who must be fascinated by us, because their controversies still occur in the standard set format of debates and tabloid journalism. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s on going ‘battle’ with Radio Jockey Malishka of 93.5 RED FM about pothole problems has received more coverage than anything else in the recent fortnight.
The Sonu Song, a satire created by Malishka as an attempt at conveying the pothole problem, among many other monsoon troubles, that otherwise go unheard in the form of complaints to legal authorities and letters, has earned her a whopping 500 crore defamation suit by the ‘who-are-you-to-point-fingers-at-me’ Shiv Sena.
Also, degrading their level further, they conducted a raid at her Bandra apartment, and declaring that there were mosquitoes breeding in indoor plants kept in her flat. Slow claps for BMC for having behaved like an insufferable immature teenager. Guess what? Roads are still full of potholes. And this is apparently the government we voted for. Malishka received a notice from Shiv Sena, but has zero fucks to give, as she tweeted that she’s ready with six more songs!
There’s also the tit for tat, an eye for an eye, played out by the BMC making a parody of it’s own to get back at Malishka. Grow up, BMC.
RJ Raunac, news reporter Faye D’Souza and thousands of other supporters on social media are expressing similar outrage at the BMC’s reaction to Malishka’s video. RJ Raunac even made a similar video with the hashtag #ISupportMalishka.
You will repeatedly hear terms like ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of expression’ and them being ‘violated’, etc etc. But what is this freedom of speech? Where does it emanate from? It emanates from the Constitution of India. Article 19 (1) (a) enshrined in the Fundamental Rights guarantees the protection of and provides for the freedom of speech and expression. Also clause (2) contains a term called ‘reasonable restrictions’. These restrictions are placed on the exercise of this given right in the interests of the following- sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
I think the BMC needs to read up on the reasonable restrictions because criticism does not seem to fall under its ambit. In fact this was in the general interest of the ‘public order’ as given above, was not indecent or immoral and yet apparently ‘defamed’ the BMC. For that matter, everyone who supports Malishka, has shared her video, propagated her views through word of mouth or otherwise are guilty of defamation too. Gonna raid all our houses to check for breeding mosquitoes now? Why doesn’t the BMC use that time to actually fill the potholes it’s in limelight for.
Here’s how Malishka responded to the Pothole Problem controversy:
This is an ideal case of suppression of the public voice and the violation of the freedom of speech and expression. Malishka should be the one suing them, and not the other way round. This just goes to show that power still overrides public force, and the Constitution of India, is after all, just a piece of paper. Rest in peace, Article 19 (1) (a).