Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Spectre

A spectre is haunting India. The spectre of "patriotism". Ultra right wing nationals and neo-liberals are at war with one another, fighting over the essence and meaning of "patriotism". In the midst of their battles are the weapons thrown at one another: freedom of speech, Constitution, devotion to country and, of course, Pakistan! The melee has been tormented by clarion call to banish those who promote "sedition", doctored tapes, arrest of students in Universities, a numb police force that lets lawyers beat of the "accused" while they are still in police custody within the court premises, and the media that is divided vertical and center.

To start with, the call to prove one's patriotism constantly seems to be challenging. Isn't it something to be taken for granted? I have been traveling a lot around in the country. Yes, once I felt I wasn't welcome in the country....and my patriotism was almost tested. An officer in Rajasthan had questioned me on the "need for Madrasis (people from South India are clubbed together!) to come and work in Rajasthan to teach them how to do risk assessment". I was angered, but I kept my cool. Had I blasted and shown my patriotic nature, probably I would not have succeeded in getting the program I was promoting. The program took off shortly thereafter, and the sail was smooth. Is Indian patriotism often chauvinistic and regional, I wonder.

The political class enjoys the troubled waters as always there is room for many to come up, shout, and hide under the filthy waters. This has been the case thereafter. Once the patriotism of students was questioned, everyone jumped into the fray. Isn't it the fact that things like these, like rumour, get thicker as they spread? So, every political party joined one side or the other. Now, one needs to measure their level of patriotism against the standards of our patriotic netas (leaders). That is a tall call. Naturally, either you are seditious or you are a right wing conservative. Now, conservatism took one step further: someone puts a price on the tongue of a student leader, and another puts up a price on the head of the young man. Well, don't laugh at the stupidity of the police: they file a case on defacing public wall (for pasting the posters), and not for the threat! No wonder, why every one fears the people with opposite ideologies. Imagine someone wants to cut off your head, and the police files a case of noise pollution!

Did I say something wrong? Err.... Lest I be charged with sedition! So, let me attach an apology with case someone in any color of dress is hurt.

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