Carlos Santana, a rock musician and popular figure in the Latin-American music industry, once said, Just as we have two eyes and two feet, duality is a part of life.” Santana knew that in order for mankind to survive, there would have to be a balance of good and bad. The importance of having a balance between evil and virtuous traits, and not having a monopoly of one, is vital as both have the potential to bring out the worst in people, even if they are unintentionally doing something. Haroun’s journey proves the necessity of balance as without order, there would be chaos and anarchy. In Salman Rusdie’s book, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, characterization of the natives of Kahani, coupled with Haroun’s experience, is utilized to portray that the balance of freedom of speech and the power of silence must be existent in order for a community to be healthy and survive.
The power of silence can be either a deleterious enemy or a powerful ally. Haroun learns that the divide between the Gups and Chups is equivalent to the gap between the right to freedom of speech and controlling it with silence. Haroun discovers that Khattam Shud, the ruler of the Chups, is “the grand Panjandrum himself” (154) and “does exactly what he wants to forbid everyone else” (154). For example, “his followers sew up their lips and talk and talk” (154). As the two sides of the moon are polar opposites, the side Khattam-Shud rules is utterly evil. He ensures that his followers will never speak again by sewing up their lips and forcing them to take extreme vows of silence. These vows help Khattam-Shud rise to greater power as everyone in Chup is now under his dictatorship, proving somewhat detrimental to the Gup army as all the Chups are merged under one leader. As the Gup army crosses the border between the two cities, they encounter Mudra, the Shadow Warrior. Prince Bolo, who is too focused on rescuing Princess Batcheat, misunderstands what “Mudra said in his silent, dancing way” of Abhinaya and perceives Mudra as a threat to him and the army. Without being silent and letting Rashid translate Abhinaya, he addresses his army and asks, “Why should we believe this creature? Must we do business with traitors now?” Prince Bolo immediately comes up with the idea of seizing Mudra, as he still regards him as a threat, but after Rashid further translates the Abhinaya, the army comes to know that Mudra is the Champion Shadow Warrior of Chup and refuses to follow the rule of Khattam-Shud. Mudra later gives insight into Khattam-Shud and the life of the Chups, which tremendously helps the Gups beat the Chups.
Unification is evident in societies where freedom of speech enables the expression of thoughts, builds trust, and encourages collaboration of ideas. During the war, the Chupwalas turned out to be a disunited rabble. Their vows of silence and habits of secrecy made them suspicious and distrustful of one another. As a result, the Chupwalas did not stand shoulder to shoulder, but betrayed one another, stabbed each other in the back, mutinied, hid, and deserted (185). This illustrates the point that authoritarian control can never be maintained. Khattam-Shud’s silencing of the people of Chup and their abandonment of their past and present allowed the talkative Gup army to overwhelm the Chup army. As the Gup army advanced towards Chup, Haroun realized that the Guppees engaged in non-stop conversation and debate of growing intensity. This proved useful during the battle, as the Pages of Gup, having talked through everything so fully, fought hard, remained united, supported each other when required, and looked like a force with a common purpose. All those arguments and debates, all that openness, had created powerful bonds of fellowship between them. The strong unification and fighting for a common purpose were useful, as unlike the Chupwalas who betrayed each other, the Gups stood together and fought as one. This unification not only helped the Gups defeat the Chups but also unified both cities and both communities as a whole.
Overall, silence can be rewarding or mortifying based on the context of the situation. The freedom of speech promotes the active building of a unified community that progresses towards common goals. The predominance of the freedom of speech in the Gup community and the lack thereof in the Chup community prohibit the advancement of both communities. With no common purpose, trust destruction is inevitable.