A nation that takes immense pride in being a democracy had silenced one young dissenting woman.

But then, mightier, more renowned Indians have had to zip up before. So this is hardly news. One of the most illustrious cases was that of India’s most famous modern artist, Maqbool Fida Hussain, who died in exile following years of litigation and threats of physical harm by Hindutva goons over his paintings.

In a beautifully-worded verdict, the Delhi high court in 2008 rubbished all charges against Hussain and his paintings. The judgment by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, which starts off with Pablo Picasso’s famous words—“Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art”—makes for a riveting read.

While it largely deals with art and the creative fields, the judgment touches upon a variety of issues related to freedom of expression.

The complete text (pdf) ought to be a must-read for Indians. All the more so if you are the hyper-anything kind—nationalist, sensitive, or prudish. Trolls, the little-known ones as well as the high-fliers, must keep a bedside copy.

For the benefit of our readers, we have here a few pertinent excerpts:

We welcome your comments at ideas.india@qz.com.

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