Kolkata, Jan 7 (IANS) Stressing the importance of freedom of thought and expression, former West Bengal Governor and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Krishna Gandhi on Monday said fear and democracy, inhibition and republicanism do not go together.
Describing “fear” as a “great evil”, Gandhi said it is completely inconsistent with “democracy and republicanism”.
“Those who have a capacity to think must be allowed to think with responsibility and in complete freedom. They must write freely without being bullied by anybody. Fear and democracy, inhibition and republicanism don’t go together,” Gandhi said in his acceptance speech after being conferred honorary D.Litt by the Calcutta University at its convocation here.
Stating that he was both honoured and humbled by the degree, Gandhi said he was taking the opportunity as a responsibility.
“I wish to refer to the responsibility to say that freedom of thought and expression is of vital importance. Freedom of speech and writing should be exercised fearlessly in our country,” he said.
Gandhi, a retired Indian Administrative Service officer, expressed his firm belief that Bengal, “the land of literature”, will lead India out of any darkness, fear or any inhibition that may come its way.
Turning to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee — who was seated on the dais — Gandhi said she “has a great responsibility of keeping the torch of liberty, democracy and republicanism alive”.