Monday, February 22, 2016

Save Symbols of Nationalism from ...... Power & Politics/ The Sunday Standard / February 21, 2016

Save Symbols of Nationalism from Becoming Victims of Divisive Agenda of Neo-liberals

Police stop demonstrating students during a protest at JNU
Police stop demonstrating students during a protest at JNU 

Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin— Mahatma Gandhi.

The poignant irony of ideology is that the Father of the Nation would have never imagined that India would be debating the concept of nationalism seven decades after his martyrdom. And that too over the arrest of a student leader from one of India’s 500-odd universities. The paradox of patriotism is that the noble notion of nationalism is under threat from those individuals who swear by Gandhi’s nationalistic legacy. Last week, the entire Indian society was dangerously divided over the definition and desirability of swearing by one’s nation and her integrity. For a class of liberal opportunists, nationalism is just another adjective to be used or misused to propagate the idea of a country without borders and exercise the freedom to damage and insult the avowed symbols of India’s pride. There are many counterfeit liberals, who bask in the illusion that nationalism is just another marketable product, which can be peddled on the auction block to the highest bidder from India or abroad. They don’t seem to understand that for a mammoth number of people, nationalism is an article of faith. India’s National Anthem, its Tricolour and borders are the three undisputed and non-negotiable pillars of nationalism.

Hence it is tragic that in India exists a cabal of conspirators, who, bound by their idea of education and political predilections, has made these three symbols a matter of dispute. The questionable activities that happened at the Jawaharlal Nehru University were aimed at demolishing the idea of India. The involvement of JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar may be a matter of dispute and judicial scrutiny. In a free country like India, anyone can legitimately question the invoking of a dubious sedition charge against Kanhaiya. But there is not even a shred of doubt that the motives of the organisers and participants at a gathering on campus were to glorify Afzal Guru, the Indian Guy Fawkes who was hanged for conspiring the 2001 Parliament attack. Yet, ever since Guru went to the scaffold and an unmarked grave, a section of the intelligentsia and illiberals has been mocking the Indian state and its highest judiciary for sending him to the gallows. Such is the fate of all traitors worldwide, ever since the history of nation-states began. None of the propagandists of “freedom of speech” are questioning an undisputable anti-national event where slogans like ‘Bharat Ki Barbadi (destruction of India)’ were raised. Even the pro-Guru event organised by a former Delhi University teacher SAR Geelani at the Press Club of India was ignored by them. They have been able to convert it into an episode celebrating freedom of opinion and academic autonomy. Many of them have been educated in the US or UK. Have any of these professional pundits of pseudo-patriotism ever heard of any American or British institution lauding and eulogising the killers of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King or John Kennedy? Have they ever attended any seminar held by the American establishment to discuss water boarding at GITMO? American, Russian and European forces are killing hundreds of terrorists in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere on a daily basis. Why have none of our modern freedom fighters ever raised a finger against them? The current US Presidential election is dominated by the issue of saving the nation from the terror threat and debating the morality of banning a certain community from entering the US. Never before has an American derided the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ or mutilated their national flag. Instead, they display it with pride even in their front yards to signalise the power of democratic beliefs.

But in India, invent-a-cause and hire-a-crowd has become remunerative for political parties, which have been dining out on secularism ever since the word became an apology for cynicism. The protest against Kanhaiya’s arrest wasn’t confined to New Delhi. A bigger protest march was organised in Jadavpur University, where students raised anti-India slogans and supported the ‘Azadi’ rhetoric raised by Guru. Even media organisations and journalists took sides in the fight between supporters of nationalism and its opponents. Many of them pleaded to understand the psyche of the student, which is rebellious by nature. But the modern Indian student is more interested in MBA than Marx.

Undoubtedly, it was the loony faction of the BJP, which provided a handle to the illiberals to pillory the government by attacking journalists, while the issue of the deification of terrorists and their tool-wielders was pushed under the secular carpet. Since the JNU event was organised by some extremists from J&K, it was clearly an attempt to jeopardise India’s unity. These are the same elements that refuse to sing the National Anthem or hoist Tricolour in the Valley.

The current confrontation between the Left and Liberal Lampoonists on one side and the Saffron forces on the other is an attempt to weaken the symbols of nationalism by converting the JNU issue into a cry against suppression of dissent. If intelligence agencies are to be believed, the country will face more attacks on the idea of an inclusive India, its flag and its National Anthem. Some parties even questioned the timing of the HRD ministry’s decision to direct Central universities to hoist the Tricolour in campuses. Both the Jana Gana Mana and National Flag were conceived by genuinely nationalist and secular leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel and Maulana Azad. But in India, the duplicity of dissenters is being passed off as virtues. Many of them call themselves Hindus, yet they oppose integral Hindu traditions. They support the ban on cow slaughter but relish a Kobe beefsteak, well done. The bathos of their crocodile tears is that even as they mourn the killing of our jawans, they toil to prove their secular credentials to Pak diplomats. They take out candle light processions and lobby for the continuation of the Indo-Pak dialogue over the graves of our soldiers. They turn a blind eye to the Obama administration’s duplicitous decision to provide F-16s to Pakistan, which will be eventually used not for peacekeeping but against India.

The blame for the revival of ersatz-liberalism lies at the door of a section of the ruling establishment. The trigger to shrink PM Modi’s gigantic stature was provided to his detractors from within. Modi has to evolve a mechanism to prevent India, the Tricolour and Tagore’s immortal ode to nationalism from becoming victims of the divisive agenda of the neo-liberalists. After all, nationalism threatens their luxurious existence.; Follow me on Twitter @PrabhuChawla

No comments: