Ramjas clash: Stop this nationalism debate; it’s shameful and unpatriotic to divide Indians

It’s time we hung our heads in shame.

Do we seriously believe Gurmehar Kaur and 20-somethings like her in colleges or universities are anti-national? Are sports, film and political personalities slamming them for being less than patriotic really convinced that they are so?

Something is seriously odd out there. We have stopped treating the young as young. They will be a bit reckless, at times irresponsible and even foolish. But anti-national, working against the interest of the country? Come on, the assumption is not only insensitive but also cruel.

A file image of members of ABVP. AFP

A file image of members of ABVP. AFP

It is worrisome how even supposedly responsible people are getting drawn into this farcical nationalism debate — yes, it is nonsensical because it is pointless and is meant to achieve nothing but divide people — and adding decibels to it. In effect, they become a party to this branding game which seems to have no sense of rhyme or reason.

"Leave the kids of the country alone. You may not agree with their views. But you cannot snatch away their right to have an opinion on everything, including politics. If you continue to bully the young, you will soon have no individual thoughts and opinions, but a herd mentality," said actor Shatrughan Sinha in an interview with the DNA newspaper. He makes loads of sense. If only others in his party, including Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, thought along similar lines.

Who are you fighting? Someone must ask those fierce advocates of nationalism. They should also be asked how they can call themselves nationalists when they hate other Indians with such pernicious resoluteness, how their patriotism is superior to the patriotism of others and how wonderful idea like patriotism can be defined by the limited criteria of hatred for Pakistan and unqualified adulation for the Indian Army.

"It’s a clear fight between the student communities worshipping the motherland, working for the glory of its rich culture and heritage on the one hand and the Left-leaning, polluted anti-nationals on the other. In Ramjas College, the students' union of the college — that is democratically elected and is an independent union — only advocated nationality and integrity," said Vinay Bidre, ABVP’s national general secretary in an interview with Firstpost earlier.

He is entitled to his understanding of the motherland, but should the larger community be joining in to promote his fight or that of whoever he represents? It does not make sense, the same way the Left’s call for revolution did not. Shatrughan Sinha mentioned about the herd. We are, wittingly or unwittingly, becoming part of the herd.

“Gurmeher apne ghar ki bachchi hai. Don’t talk about harming her just because you don’t agree with her opinion," he said in the interview. It’s clear not many in his party and even non-political people who have become part of the nationalist brigade subscribe to such a view. Rule of the herd: follow the man in front. Stop thinking.

What is worrisome is the fact that the support from the wider group becomes the licence for thugs to move in. So, we have students being threatened with rape and murder. Of course, there are physical attacks and other acts of intimidation. Should our young be getting rape threats and physically assaulted just because they have a view?

The best solution would be to stay off the whole thing and let kids be kids. Let them enjoy the free air that the democracy allows them. None of them is anti-national, even if they belong to the Left; none becomes a threat to the country by speaking a few words.

The nationalist-patriot debate must stop in the country. It serves no purpose. It only divides the country. Something that divides Indians cannot be patriotic by any stretch of the imagination.


Published Date: Mar 02, 2017 03:02 pm | Updated Date: Mar 02, 2017 04:01 pm

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