In the Name of Nationalism

In the last few days, this country has seen many controversies which can easily be regarded as part of an exercise routine for the 2014 elections, which are going to decide the political fate of many. And while writing this article, I got the news of the 2001 Parliament attack convict, Afzal Guru’s hanging by a government which is hell bent on cutting down to size the rise of a certain Narendra Modi.

The way NaMo was called to address the students of the Sri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi University and the way he is being pushed by the corporate class, the Bollywood , the sportstars and the  Sangh Parivar alike, including the Bachchans, the Irfan Pathans and the seers at the Mahakumbh rallying up behind him, shows that these classes are only served by their own interests, nothing else matters. The killings and murders and pogroms of innocents mean nothing for them. Their nationalism has made them blind towards the apathy of the others. It is a sordid affair when nationalism becomes an election agenda.

Shah Rukh Khan was beaten black and blue on the prime time shows by India’s 24×7 messiahs, only because he expressed his just concerns through a wonderfully articulated article in Outlook magazine, concerns which I too share, among many other Indians. He never wrote that he feels threatened in India or wants to shift out of the country but was still asked by the “nationalists” and “patriots” to leave India and go settle in Pakistan. Spokespersons after spokespersons of the right wing Bhartiya Janta Party and television anchors started to make him feel that through his article he has tried to cut the same hands which have been feeding many Muslims like him. All his secular talks and the views which he expressed about the way he and his wife, who is herself a Hindu never ever trying to force their own religious views and ideals on their two children, Aryan and Suhana were thrashed in one go.

After listening to the ideas and ideals of the prime time TV anchors and spokespersons from the BJP, it felt as if the one and only abode of each and every Indian Muslim who expresses his concerns like Shah Rukh is Pakistan. It’s high time that we start seeing Muslims as Indians because in the country‘s development and progress, they have been playing equal roles along with their Hindu counterparts.

Indian secularism faces its biggest threat in the upcoming 2014 elections when after being defanged of the issues like ‘ Kasab’ and ‘ Afzal’, the rightist BJP will not let any stone unturned to capture the power at the centre by using “Mandirs and Masjids”. It’s going to be a test for the Indian masses including the youth, which are expected to be come of age by putting their communal baggage behind. India may be able to afford to hang a suspect by calling him a criminal on the basis of ‘circumstantial evidence’, but it cannot afford to have as it’s Prime Minister, a man against whom there lie ample amount of proofs of letting loose the goons of Sangh Parivar to kill, rape and maim innocents on the streets of Ahmedabad and many other places in Gujarat over a decade back. But the way India’s grand old dynasty, Congress, is tackling the surge of Modi is something which is equally alarming. There is no denying the fact that it’s not only the BJP whose ideology is based on communalism, but the Congress too has been involved time and again in flaring up the communal passions. In Gujarat, it has intentionally let BJP gain ground only to consolidate the Muslim votes in its favour from across the country.

All the events like the recent hanging of Afzal Guru, controversy over Shah Rukh Khan’s genuine article expressing the genuine concerns of many Indians who happen to be Muslims and the way Narendra Modi was being felicitated in one of the best colleges of the Delhi University has one thing in common –  and that is the way Muslims are being seen with suspicion by the Indian middle Class which is getting highly radicalized.

If you raise your support in favour of Shah Rukh’s concerns, you are asked why you feel insecure in India or someone will advise you to move to Pakistan. If you raise your voice against the visit of Narendra Modi to the national capital’s one of the most prestigious colleges you will be asked, “Why you Muslims always keep barking against Modi? Can’t you forget what happened in Gujarat and move forward?’’ If you raise questions about the way Afzal Guru’s execution was carried out, you are most likely to be asked, “Why you Muslims are sympathising with a terrorist ‘mastermind’?”

All these questions are well enough in themselves to show how polarized our society has turned into, where jingoism, prejudice and biasness have replaced reasoning, and justice is always seen through the prism of bias and prejudice. The reality is that the Gujarat state sponsored pogrom’s victims and the victims of many other riots too need justice just like the ones who lost their lives to save India’s parliament some 12 years ago. It’s a shame for , we the Indians and our democracy that we wish and pray for the Gujarat’s mass murderer’s elevation to the 7 Race Course while intentionally forgetting the facts that under his watching eyes, many pregnant women saw their own wombs being teared apart and flagged on Trishuls on the streets of Ahmedabad. It’s high time for us to ask ourselves, do we still want Modi to become India’s PM? If yes, then we need some serious self – introspection.

Syed used to work with the Hindustan Times, Delhi till 2010 December and then he took a sabbatical for academic purposes which continues till date. Currently pursuing his masters in Peace and conflict studies with Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, Syed has studied journalism from Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi.

Be first to comment