Nationalism(n): Nationalism is a belief, creed or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with, or becoming attached to, one’s nation
A quick search of the term nationalism, that is used a bit too casually these days gave me this definition. I think it would be prudent to declare at the outset, that I am not an intellectual. I haven’t read Tagore’s take on Nationalism nor have I attended the nation’s premier Arts college. I do however have a decent college education and a fair bit of understanding of the world. And that combined with a dash of common sense should enable me to provide a fairly balanced picture of the whole issue.
It all began around a week back, when a bunch of students from JNU were seen protesting on the streets of Delhi shouting quotes that glorified a convicted terrorist and spoke about a war that would continue till the destruction of the country.( Afzal Guru, was tried and convicted by the nation’s apex court. If you had evidence that proved his innocence, that you acquired now, not at the time of his conviction, that would have been unfortunate, but still would not make him a martyr. Let us also keep in mind that this is the same judiciary that gave a fair trial to a monster who was caught on camera with a gun in his hand killing innocent civilians in Mumbai, so it is highly unlikely that it will give out a death sentence unless there is concrete proof for the same) An event was also organized to remember the “martyr” Afzal Guru. (I wouldn’t like to bring an emotional angle into this, but as they celebrated the “martyrdom” of a man who had planned the attacked on India’s lower house, a man who had served the nation at the world’s most hostile war zone lay dying. But I guess talking about his sacrifice wasn’t intellectually challenging enough for our fellow friends at JNU.) While the freedom of speech is a fundamental right of every citizen of this democracy, using it for slander, sedition or the propagation of violence would be rightfully opposed by any democracy in the world. In a country which desperately tried to give its citizens a peaceful and safe life in the wake of a proxy war from Pakistan, internal tensions as well as new threats like ISIS recruitments, taking strict action against anyone who openly talks about breaking the country to pieces is the most rational way to go. While the actions by these students is deplorable, the attack on Kanhaiya,while he was taken to court was not at all excusable. I wouldn’t like to go into the debate of which of the two crimes was worse, but the parties guilty in both cases should be tried as per the law of the country.
[A few people (whom I respect) had questioned BJP’s double standards with the PDP(which is also a supporter of the man in question.) I would like to mention here that I am not(nor have I ever been) a supporter of the BJP. The fact that they would go against their principles for a political upper hand is contemptible, and their two-faced nature should be brought to the attention of the people of this country. That being said, two wrongs do not make a right, and the swift action should be taken against people who threaten the integrity of this country through words or actions.]
The popular press, including senior journalists, have lashed out against the “atrocities” of our government. These people for reasons untold believe that there is some great poetic beauty in letting people walk down our streets and talk ill about it. It is important to note here that that was being done was not a constructive(or for that matter any sort of) criticism of the state. People have called the PM of the country a psychopath on a social media platform, and our brand ambassador has spoken about the country’s growing intolerance- All of which were allowed.) This, however, was a direct attack on the security and stability of the country(For those who believe that it was only a verbal attack, and doesn’t count for much will do well to note the people with ISIS flags in Kashmir who came out in support of JNU.)
Our freedom of speech, along with our other freedoms, is a result of a long fight with the British. This is the freedom that our men on the border fight to protect even today. So before you speak about breaking this country apart, or about your wretched dream of having a terrorist in every home, take a moment to treasure the freedom you have. And exercise it with caution. I want the “Azaadi” that you want too- from casteism, poverty and discrimination. And in that fight, the people of the country will always be by your side. But if you threaten to break apart the very nation that feeds you and makes you who you are, there will be action taken, and the people of the country will support that action.
If that makes me a nationalist, then be it. I see nothing wrong with the word.
Thank you. Jai Hind.