We have just concluded the international celebration of annual Banned Books Week. It is a week dedicated to reading and acknowledging of banned books and spreading awareness about them.
The whole point of the campaign is to reinstate “freedom to read” and freedom of choice especially when concerned with unorthodox topics and opinions that are or were deemed politically incorrect. It is an attempt to stop “deliberate suppression of viewpoints that has a real consequence”
It is remarkable how we have come to celebrate reading and owning of books that were banned at some point of time. It is a step against sieving of literature through political, legal, religious or moral filters. Who would have thought that something as simple as reading a book could become an act of resistance? Resistance against censorship. Resistance to reclaim intellectual freedom.
This campaign “also notes individuals persecuted because of the writings they produce, read and circulate”. It reminds us why it is important to uphold the right to freedom of expression.
The campaign encourages us to agree to disagree and to recognize what we are lacking as a society. It also invites us to initiate discussions on the kind of literature we want to leave behind for the coming generations.
Today, I went cycling through the town.
Well, “through the town” is a bit of an exaggeration really, but traveling 9 kilometres non-stop did seem like traveling the length of the town to me. You see, I’m a very unathletic person.
Despite this, given a choice between walking, cycling, driving and flying I’d choose cycling anytime (unless flying is flying on a broomstick, of course).
You could think it’s rather boring: something we did when we were young and had nothing else to do but to me cycling is discovering: discovering new roads to the same old destination; discovering new shops at the same old markets or maybe if the ‘odds are in your favour’ discovering something about your own self ; only when you escape the ordinary can you discover something extraordinary.
I see the long stretches of time between leaving home and reaching back home as the time to sort my thoughts. The idea to write this blog and many others also came to me while cycling. Maybe it’s the company of Dauntless (my cycle) that is fairly favourable for my thought processes, but I would still attribute it to cycling.
Pedalling through crowded roads and lonely ones; busy markets and quiet colonies; scarce, small patches of greenery and seemingly never ending expanses under the blazing sun; areas where the rich live in their palatial mansions and where the poor reside in their humble dwellings and for reasons beyond maintaining your body is happiness to me. A happiness I often equate with freedom.