Since the dawn of existence, there have been two basic states, for which the living and animated have fought, for and against, which are: ‘Freedom’ and ‘Restrictions’. The term ‘Freedom’ is positively popular; it has a different definition for everyone. ‘Restriction’ on the other hand is infamous and an opposite of ‘Freedom’, by definition and fame. These two controls that have existed throughout time, shaped our today. The history of our respective countries and our species revolve around a struggle for freedom from, a rule, a restriction or unfair governance.
The contrast between ‘freedom’ and ‘restrictions’ vary in rule as you go to different nations, across oceans and continents. The liberal laws exceed in certain European countries; compared to the freedom that is provided in middle-eastern or Asian countries. The Asian countries however are much more lenient in comparison to the strict laws that exist in the middle-east, especially towards its female population. Elected representatives or voices of the people, are chosen, to maintain a balance in the community. In certain cases where the authority misuses the power, the people become voiceless, which results in fights for freedom from the injustices that authority imposes on its mass.
A constitution is a set of the fundamental political principles on which a state is governed, especially when considered as embodying the rights of the subjects of that state. Every country has a constitution, and probably in every constitution of every country it is stated that, every citizen of its nation has right to free speech and a right to his/her expression through it. There have been so many instances in today’s time, where the citizens have been deprived of their basic rights as stated in the constitution. It has been a constant struggle for the artist across the globe to rightfully demand these rights. The right-wing conservative groups have persistently and successfully, pulped many works of artistic expressions, such as books, paintings, music and movies. The products that these forms of art produced, which do not match the beliefs of these groups are banned by threats and other unlawful methods.
Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty is an American Indologist who has taught at the University of Chicago since 1978, her book ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’, was pulped by penguin publishers in India, because of the pressures that were put by the very same right-wing groups as mentioned above. In this case it was a Delhi-based group called the ‘Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti’, who filed a PIL against the publishers, because of the contents that the book contained. The increasing limitations and restrictions in this field, have drove the artists to work in commercial environments, and this could gradually lead to the end of the fine art world as we know it.
The censorship and banning of artistic products by the right-wing conservatives has been a norm since the 19th century, in 1894, architect Follen McKim, tried to mount a sculpture made by Frederick MacMonnies in Copley Square, which portrayed an image of a Roman wine deity in the nude, holding a child. Even though the sculpture did not display any obscenity the ‘Women’s Christian Temperance Union’ a conservative group of the era found it offending, and therefore forced McKim to have it shipped elsewhere (it now resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
Other than the limits that have affected the art world, there are a few limits of which we can relate in our life daily. The domestic restrictions are also one of the reasons, of the dormant nature that the society has adopted today. An example of traditional families, who have set certain restraints for their members such as: fashion, activities outside the house, appreciation of certain arts, are some among others. Like mentioned in the above paragraphs, the Middle-Eastern countries have very stringent rules against the womenfolk; there are nations among them which do not permit the women to drive and forbid modern clothing habits.
Although restrictions are not liked by anyone they are an integral part for the protection of society. Freedom is a volatile ‘right’, it is ambiguous in definition and therefore could be misunderstood easily. Restrictions are important guidelines, for people to work in a society, exercising their rights of freedom, without interfering in the freedom of others. The use of these guidelines have to be understood by the people who hold the power to exercise their authority to restrict the people. Even though freedom is sacred for everyone, restrictions have to exist, in order to realize the value that your freedom has.
Liberty is very dear to everyone and is cherished in the same respect. The meaning of liberty differs for everyone, it is a symbolic feeling of breaking free from the chains of negativity. Establishing a respect and understanding for the beliefs, expression and arts is important to maintain stability in the environment. The essence of serenity is to control your actions and yourself instead of others. In the words of the greatest pacifist Nelson Mandela “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”