January 7. A few cowards barged into the office of the Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly magazine in Paris, and threatened the entire world that Islam cannot be accommodated into any public discourse. Irrespective of the background, the killing showed how these saps had curled themselves within the hard shells of prejudice and false glory. The cartoonist Charb and his colleagues paid an ultimate price while upholding the freedom of expression.

Human has all liberty to deliberate, criticise or reject any religious belief or practice. No religion is above human discourse or intellectual verification. Satirical polemicists will not be subdued by any physical threat. It reminds me of Voltire, the prominent French satirical polemicist of the period of the Enlightenment, from the middle of seventeenth century to the whole of eighteen century. He had never hesitated to criticise any religion or its proponents from a rational view point. Dealing with many high voltage intellectual conflicts and the consequent evolution of the secular thoughts could be achieved against all odds of religious dogmas and denial of reasons. This, in fact, emboldened the contemporaries to demand and uphold the freedom of expression amongst the rule of the privileged class and prevalent heresies. The message was conveyed across Europe in no uncertain term, acted as a spur for the Scientific Revolution led by Newton, Leibniz and many others during the period, and culminated in establishing the Age of Reason.

We cannot lose the tempo now. More so, after such tenacious efforts by pantheon of thinkers and rationalists through the last several centuries. Despite claims and counter-claims towards superiority of any particular civilization or race over others. Religious reformations will have to continue. Game of reason will have to prevail in our thoughts and dialogues. Freedom of expression will have to manifest in greater vigour.

We must condemn the killers and all the people who support such gruesome killing in Paris. Violence is no match to the pen. We must urge those biased people to unlearn their barbaric understanding, to adopt the principles of sufficient reason, to shun bigotry, and to make themselves open to criticism. Intolerance to alternative thoughts and refusal to free their own thoughts will lead to the death of the very purpose of being human. Killers never rewrite history, they just change a few redundant lines or dates here and there, and mostly help glorify the ordinary individuals they act against.

The polemicist or even any secular individual will have the last laugh – I am Charlie, not yet subdued.



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