Amarnath yatra attack: Media raises patriotism debate again; will there be an end to this frivolity?

The whole country knows it by now, doesn’t it?

Pakistan is so scared of India that it cannot stop escalating trouble in Kashmir.

The militant groups in the Valley are so disturbed by the country’s tough leadership that they cannot take a break from engaging the security personnel in regular skirmishes.

Yes, Kashmir is in turmoil because the Centre’s no-nonsense policy is yielding results.

China is nervous of India’s military might and growing global clout. That’s why it has started needling India near a tri-junction in Bhutan.

The killing of Amarnath pilgrims is a clear proof that terrorists and their handlers are getting desperate.

Thanks to rant television, we are convinced that India’s enemies are terribly afraid at this point and they would go to any extent to land it in discomfort. The current problems and whatever might arise later have to do with its incredible rise as a super power under the very able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Delusional? Well, no. It depends on what you chose to believe — the sobering gut feeling that things might actually be getting worse, or, that which the chest-thumping crowd would like to convey. Absolute truth is such a redundant matter these days.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Efforts at perception control versus resistance to it is one of the dimensions of the prevailing national discourse. But it’s a relatively harmless one given the fact that jingoism and painting the enemy as bad are hardly intrinsically divisive. They don’t set one Indian against the other. The more insidious dimension, however, is the tendency to paint Indians, a whole lot of them, as enemies, or at least ill-wishers, of the country.

If you have watched several television anchors responding to the 10 July terrorist attack on the bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir and noticed how they frothed at the mouth berating Indians advocating a shift from the current confused approach in the Valley from the government, you would understand better. The aim was clearly, as it has been for quite some time, to launch a vicious attack on people not subscribing to the muscular stand of the Right universe on Kashmir, or, in general, in the country’s neighbourhood, and branding them as unpatriotic and anti-national.

So, we had immediate questions on the #NotInMyName campaign, attacks on civil society groups active in the trouble zone, organisations favouring a dialogue with Pakistan and so on. The predictability of all this is sickening. It’s as if incidents such as the attack on the Amarnath pilgrims are only an alibi for a particular crowd working with some other agenda. There’s no real sympathy for the people dying or even soldiers getting killed. Keep out of the cacophony of ideology, and it appears so outrageously silly to the sane mind.

How can a bunch of people spread ill-will against other Indians and just divide the country this way? And yes, they have for company a whole lot of like-minded people on social media. The target is obvious: the supposed Left liberals. It has now been expanded to include all who don’t believe in the ideology of the Right. How can people be termed anti-nationals only on the basis of their beliefs or ideology, if they have one? One is not sure who is a bigger anti-national – the ones trying to divide people or the ones just expressing a different view.

All the countries trying to harm India could be laughing aloud. It does not take much to turn Indians against each other. Their understanding of nationalism is just too frivolous. One incident of provocation, and they would go all out attacking their own countrymen. Britishers didn’t take long to realise this curious trait. The result is known to all. The handlers of terrorists would be having fun watching how their activities have been playing out in India, particularly in its media.

This dimension of the national political discourse needs to be controlled before it goes out of hand. You cannot be a patriot by branding other countrymen as unpatriotic. Is anyone listening?

Updated Date: Jul 12, 2017 18:25 PM

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