Mark Twain once said, “Patriotism is, loyalty to the country always; loyalty to the Government when it deserves it”. When one speaks of loyalty to the Indian state, it is about celebrating it’s pluralistic multi-lingual, multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural ethos. Hoisting the Tiranga, singing the national anthem, chanting Jai Hind, Vande Mataram or Bharat Mata ki jai are expressions of patriotic fervour and pride.
Just as respect for elders, parents, partners and teachers, affection for minors, compassion for the downtrodden and empathy for the underprivileged, are the ‘natural state of affairs’, why should it be different when it comes to expressing love for one’s motherland or taking pride in one’s glorious and rich heritage?
Just as disloyalty, hatred, filth-mongering, adultery, greed and avarice, cruelty, hypocrisy, misogyny, deserve to be condemned, slogans like ‘Bharat tere tukde honge, Inshaallah, Inshaallah’, under the veneer of free speech, are unacceptable. A terrorist is not a martyr, and anyone who puts slain Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani on the same pedestal as martyrs like Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, Sepoy Babloo, Subedar Mohit Chand or CRPF Commandant Pramod Kumar is either ignorant or has zero respect for the Indian state. And when it comes to unity and integrity of the Indian state, ignorance is simply not an excuse.
If this is all so simple, why then is the BJP in the midst of a raging controversy with India’s so- called secular liberal class accusing it of Fascism? The answer is even simpler: For the past 70 odd years, India’s nationalistic fibre had been hijacked by Left-leaning pseudo-seculars who scoffed at the idea of Indian-ness, ignored the sacrifices made by the likes of Veer Savarkar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Ashfaqulla Khan, KM Munshi, Captain Laxmi Sehgal, Rani Saroj Gaurihar, KE Memmen, Krishna Kant Sarma, Shyam Lal Gupt, A Balappa and Jatindra Nath Das to name a few.
The Modi Government has in earnest and rightfully so, reclaimed the legacy of India’s freedom struggle by, for instance, debunking the halo that surrounds Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. True, Nehru may have been a man of many a charm and passion but barring personal heroics, he was a troubling and egotistic personality that seldom cared for either an astute statesmanr like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel or an erudite scholar like Babasaheb Ambedkar. Nisid Hajari’s celebrated masterpiece, Midnight’s Furies, fairly and squarely blames Nehru in large part for India’s blood-soaked Partition in 1947 – a partition born of Nehru’s unquenchable thirst for power, lack of foresight, administrative incompetence and of course, a certain elitist contempt for Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Take, for example, Veer Savarkar: The Congress has always despised him, making him the object of slander, opprobrium and misinformation.While it is true that Veer Savarkar espoused the idea of India as a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, his critics conveniently forget that Savarkar’s Hindu was simply a patriotic inhabitant of Bharatavarsha. He, in fact, described Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism as one and the same and his vision of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ was simply that of an ‘Akhand Bharat’. Savarkar’s defiance of the Khilafat movement in the 1920s is again testimony to his stated objective of never mixing religion with politics.
If anything, Veer Savarkar was an atheist and a rationalist, who worked tirelessly against caste discrimination and untouchability, besides being one of the few Indian freedom fighters who openly denounced the Lahore resolution of 1940, which endorsed the Two Nation Theory. Today, the BJP endorses Savarkar’s ideological commitment to ‘Justice For All, Appeasement of None’.
Ironically, the misguided, Leftist bigots who burnt the midnight oil and yet failed to free dreaded terrorists like Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru from the gallows, point fingers at freedom fighter Savarkar for petitioning the British to be released from prison. They don’t realise that wanting to be a free man was Savarkar’s birth right.
Narendra Modi’s India, much like Veer Savarkar’s, is inclusive and goes beyond caste, creed, gender or religion. Equally, Modi’s India takes pride in its Hindutva identity and Hindutva here means, “A philosophy, a way of life, a state of mind”, as was rightly espoused by former Chief Justice of India JS Verma in his historic 1995 judgement. Hindu nationalism is not something that Modi’s India is apologetic about.
In fact, a lesser known fact is that when Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, poverty ratio among Muslims in rural Gujarat was at 7.7 per cent – the lowest in the country. This vindicates the fact that minorities are as much as part of India’s success story as anyone else. The moot point here is, nationalism is not merely about cultural or political consiousness, it is as much about financial empowerment and inclusion.
This is something that the Modi Government is now working towards.
Suffice to conclude by saying that allegations of majoritarianism against the Modi-led BJP Government at the Centre are absolutely baseless and unfounded. Majoritarianism thrives on the idea of a totalitarian state. India,on the other hand, is a tolerant,vibrant democracy that survived the horrific Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in June 1975.
We, as a nation, have come a long way since then and under the current dispensation, led by the BJP, Hinduism and nationalism have meaningfully blended into a harmonious whole, celebrating ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’. Robert G Ingersoll sums it up beautifully when he says, “He loves his country best, who strives to make it best”. Jai Hind!
(The writer is a spokesperson for the
Bharatiya Janata Party)