By Masood Peshimam
Sir Winston Churchill had sarcastically thanked Germany for partially attacking England and diverting its whole resources and arsenal in assaulting Russia as it was to the advantage of England. He could visualize the collapse of Germany under Hitler as the Russian forces were not capable of tolerating the vicissitudes of the chilling Russian cold. The visualized consequences of the multiple conflicts in the teeth of the second world war flowed form Churchill’s expression.
It is said that the thoughts flowed from Churchill’s cheroot or the cigar. One oft quoted thought of Churchill was that the politics is the last recourse for the scoundrels. With certain alteration the new concept can be defined as the patriotism is the last recourse for the vested political interest. It is the vested political interest which has developed the knack and flair of whipping up the pseudo nationalism or the ultra patriotism carrying the undertones of jingoism combined with the communal politics which has become the monopoly of the certain section of the political culture. The misplaced passion for patriotism is not for promoting the common good but to practice the politics of divisiveness with the sole emphasis to create the climate of confrontation to nail those already on the weakest turf.
It is in line with belligerent nationalism born of vested political interest that the BJP M.P. Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma said that Muslims do not vote for BJP because it’s a patriotic party. Mr. Verma arbitrarily decided that Muslims are not patriotic which is far from truth. Muslims in the country are no less nationalistic or patriotic than their counterparts. Notwithstanding the vituperative politics the fact remains that Muslims are rooted in Indian soil and are not largely involved in the acts of terror here or abroad. There is no betrayal of the larger national cause. There may be some aberrations but the aberrations do not define the general law. The aberrations are not restricted to Muslims alone. While besmirching the reputation of Muslims with the terror tag the very acts of terror at Mecca Masjid, Samjhuta express, Malegaon and other places by the forces with other shades are overlooked. What about Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Asimanand, COL Purohit and others. No one community or class can be identified with the acts of terror.
The former Prime Minister late I.K. Gujral had appreciated the fact that Indian Muslims are not largely involved in the acts of terror the world over. The fact also remains that in our country there are attempts to falsely implicate Muslims in the acts of terror who are later over a period of time are exonerated or acquitted by the Courts of Law and the trial takes so much of time that precious time of life is ruined by the time the exoneration or acquittal takes place. The bigger worry is that with the communal forces at the helm the cause of justice is jettisoned. The justice is the biggest casualty when the different institutions of the government are injected with the communal influence. The furtherance of the communal influence is manifest with the BJP at the helm of affairs.
While playing the communal card in the name of patriotism Mr. Verma failed to recollect that the communal forces had no or little role in the freedom movement. Instead some of them played the role of the puppets to the advantage of the erstwhile British masters. The freedom movement against the Britishers was fought irrespective of any consideration but mentioning of Muslim sacrifices has become some sort of taboo or the forbidden fruit. History is subverted to undermine the role of the Muslim freedom fighters.
What is more that just after the independence the culture of intolerance had claimed the life of Gandhi whose great sacrifice symbolized the Hindu Muslim unity.
It is this culture of intolerance which many a time raises its head in the name of patriotism.
The expression of free will and opinion is the hall mark of democracy which is being undermined in the name of patriotism. Any expression of opinion inconvenient to the particular brand of ideology or thought is mired in the controversy taking recourse to nationalism. The nationalism has grown in to a big stick to beat those refusing to toe the line of particularly brand or thought. The criteria of nationalism lies with the powerful identity or communal politics. An Urdu couplet symbolizes the anomalous situation
Khirad ka nam pad gaya Junu aur junu ka khirad
Jo chchahe Aap ke husne Karishma saaz Kare
[The reason has assumed the name of passion and the passion has assumed the name of reason
It is the miraculous beauty which decides the criteria]
It is the crushing of the dissent which made the government supported Science Congress to deny the invitation to Amartya Sen distinguished for receiving the Nobel Memorial Prize on Economics and other national and international honors. He is denied the invitation on the pretext that he is not the man of science though other invitees also did not belong to the realm of science. He was ignored for the simple reason that he raised the murmurs of protest against Modi’s demonetization policy. It is observed that those viewing the government’s views with skepticism are put in a messy domestic imbroglio by the band of the supporters practicing the divisive politics. It is not Amartya Sen alone but those not subscribing to the communal politics have borne the brunt of it. Any crushing of the freedom of expression poses the terrible danger to the very survival of democracy.
The communal card is also played in the name of nationalism to divert the attention of the people from the economic and social chaos triggered with the fall out of the demonetization move. The distressing woes of the people are too manifest to need any further recounting though it’s a different proposition that those in the corridors of power have no sensitivity to the harsh circumstances experienced by the people. A couple mirrors the harsh reality.
Patta patta boota boota hal hamara jane hai
Jane na jane gul hi na jane baug to sara jane hai.
[Aware are the leaves, branches and creeps of our condition.
Unaware is the flower but acquainted is the entire garden with the scenario].
Those mercilessly flogged in the name of being anti national are those who are bereft of all the three Ps as Paisa [money], Power and Position. It is easy to tar the weak and humble with the antinational brush and spread the lawlessness against the victims who have no potential of Paisa [money], Power and Position to clear the cobweb of misunderstanding. The worst human right violation can well be justified in the name of national interest.
The self styled votaries of the nationalism indulging in the hate politics with the manufactured notions of patriotism are out to fragment the polity to harvest the electoral fortunes. Invoking jingoism in the name of nationalism to target a particular set of people is a great disservice to the nation. True nationalism lies in uniting the people and not dividing the people and those questioning other’s credentials of patriotism may be having something else in their agenda which needs to be exposed sooner the better.
(The article was sent to Kanglaonline by Masood Peshimam. The author can be reached at peshimammasood(at)gmail(dot)com.)