Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who has long been the whipping boy of jingioistic right-wing elements —both online and offline — has ignited a controversy after writing an article titled 'Yes, I am anti-national'. His article has come in the backdrop of a heated debate and physical assault over allegations that students and mediapersons are engaging in 'anti-national' activities.
In a strong rebuttal to people attacking for his views, Sardesai said, "Yes, I am anti-national because I don't believe in doublespeak on issues of nationalism." He went on to raise a number of controversial issues, including the beef ban, criminalisation of homosexuality and the death penalty.
Not surprisingly, #Iamantinational surged to the top of the Twitter trends, propelled by abuse, opinionated voices on both sides of the ideological divide, and a few stray voices calling for sanity.
Wonder how would the Hanamanthappas be feeling seeing the #Iamantinational trend.
Alas, you died in vain Sir. Nationalism is a certified sin
— Pranay Tiwari (@pranayom) February 19, 2016
Yes i do belong to the group who wants to have discusion on development not on RSS & VHP .
Weather u can call me #Iamantinational
— Mehul Choradiya (@ChoradiyaMehul) February 19, 2016
Being so NATIONALIST if u are allowed to spread violence and hatred among the citizens, Then so sorry.. Let me be #Iamantinational
— Vikash Kedia (@vickykedia) February 19, 2016
There is half truth in Rajdeep's claim. He is for sure an anti - National, but a disgrace to Hindus. #Iamantinational
— Baba Satarangi (@BabaSatarangi) February 19, 2016
I'm VERY MUCH an INDIAN NATIONAL bcoz my allegiance to my country is NOT bound by the views of a bunch of hooligans/morons. #Iamantinational
— Nandini Tandon (@nandinitandon9) February 19, 2016
In a post on his blog, Sardesai wrote, "When I was first accused of being 'anti-national' on social media, I was angry. Now, a few years later, the coarse political discourse, where desh bhakti certificates are being liberally distributed, tempts me to scream: garv se kaho hum desh-drohi hain."
Sardesai also made a reference to recent incidents in which female journalists were assaulted by angry protesters outside the Patiala House Court complex in Delhi. He also pointed out during the period surrounding the Babri Masjid demolition too, women journalists were attacked.
On Tuesday, a case was registered against a Twitter user who made a gangrape threat to a woman scribe who put up photos of a protest organised by Mumbai Press Club on the social media. The incident was described as an example where 'nationalism' was used as a pretext to threaten or verbally abuse those criticising the government.
Read Sardesai's blog titled Yes, I am anti-national here. And to find out how anti-national you are, take this quiz: