Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taking A Stand Against Nationalism

Over dinner talks....

Friend to me,  "Say, Bharat mata ki Jay" ( Long live motherland India)
Me, "Bharat mata ki Jay" ( With a Grin )
He,  "Say, Pakistan Murdabad" ( Let Pakistan be doomed)
Me,  "Ohh common , I wont ever say that..."
He,  "It shows you have no love for your country you are born in, Country which has given you everything from identity, to living, to protection against same Pakistan you are fond of.."
Me,  "My Love for India is not a function of showing detest for Pakistan. I love India and love Pakistan too.. And I believe that there should be no conflict of interest between my feeling for two"

When You take a stand which is against populist nationalism in countries over the world , such events become perpetual part of your life. Some end with banter while some even go till tempestuous accusations. They start complimenting you as Pseudo Secular sometimes even Ingrate to India. I feel frustrated but then I believe that being ingrate to humanity is more important than being Ingrate to India. Sometimes I wonder, I still get away with my affection for Pakistan  as I am born into Hindu majority family of India. But if I was born Muslim, they would have tagged me as traitor, terrorist or whatever so easily. This desultory labeling is  product of disease "Nationalism" which most of us suffer from. Nationalist just love tagging people. Nationalist tag all Kashmiri Muslims as terrorist because their dumb neurons will never let them comprehend that many Kashmiris could just be what Bhagat Singh was for India. I sometimes wonder for people who believe British were evil colonizers , are now hypocrite in case of Kashmir ? People whose ancestors fought for so long for right to self determination are so blind to same demand raised by Kashmiris ? Nationalism making us blind to facts and honesty, blocks rationality and our minds becomes fortress of banality. The first seed of this blind nationalism are sowed in our schools when we learn that map of India containing Pakistani kashmir and Askai Chin as integral part (Atoot Ang) of India. Why are we not taught they are land of long dispute between countries? Why are we not taught truth and facts in first place? With mind obsessed in nationalism, you become blind to fact that we can be wrong at times, we can commit crimes and sins too. While any fact presented to us which conflict with our nationalistic ideas bring cognitive dissonance to our thoughts and we look for blame outside especially on weak and minority. Moreover those who manage to unlearn these fallacious teachings to discover and relearn the truth are termed as easily termed as ingrate or traitor to country.

Coming back to debate, I dont hate Pakistan because I don't find a reason to hate it. A country is made up of people who live in. When I talk to ordinary Pakistani, he is no different than any ordinary Indian. We have idiots lost in Nationalism on both sides. Though still I could find more self  introspective people on that side of border. Just like they will blame us for Kashmir living hypocrite when it comes to balochistan issue, we will blame them for attrocities on minorities keep closed eye on perpetual human right violations here.
So what separates the people of two countries? If I judge by human quality, If I have to hate Pakistan then I have to hate India first. Some might argue that Pakistani establishment has been Anti India from its very beginning. But truth is same thought process is prevalent on this side of border. India will blame Pakistan for 1965 aggression, Terrorism support in Kashmir and Punjab, Kargil war and Pakistan will blame India for Kashmir occupation, Siachin aggression and interference in Bangladesh civil war. Truth is both countries have to tried to inflict as much damage as they could have done and again there is really nothing to choose between to the two when it comes to idiocy . Both countries have piled up expensive weapon and nuclear arsenal while keeping millions starving. Pakistan being a smaller country, will face paranoid of bigger country more and hence we find more dependence on defense establishment on that side of border.

Indian Nationalist use propagation tools of slogans like "Hindus not extremist enough" and  "India is a soft state". Such views are practiced even after India has witness some of the most horrific stories in Gujarat 2002 and Delhi 1984. This is in spite of heavy militarization from Kashmir valley to North East states. Cheif culprit in 1984 Anti-Sikh roits "Sajjan Taylor" enjoyed political life in Z Security and architect of 2002 Anti-Muslim riots is in race to be probable Prime Minister of India. Fact that Narendra Modi is seen as penecea of Indian Problem tells a lot about how much this disease of Nationalism has crept into Indian Minds. At one side we are ready to forgive (even accept that he was involved) Modi for his crimes and to accept him for highest working post of this country while on other hand we are so blood thirsty nation yelling death for Ajmal kasab and Afzal Guru. Its the barbaric hypocrisy of our nationalist society. A killer is a killer, no matter he is Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Indian or Pakistani or whatever. Will we rise above prism of man made classification of a humans by Caste, Nationality, Region, Religion, Color and start looking any person as human first? God must be regretting for creating humans made same by DNA but we ourselves took the task of division and associations. Its just due to our gregarious needs where we lack confidence in our individuality and look for associations based on Nation, Region, Color, Caste and Religion.

Regionalism, Caste-ism are not very different from Nationalism and are infact subset of it. Plight of Biharis in Maharashtra or Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir is a consequence of same thought process on which Nationalism is based upon. They all invoke same feeling of identity instigating into tag - Us or Them. We can not think of removing one from society keeping others roots deep intact in society.  For example for a Jat who is nationalist will go defensive once he will hear about rumors against Khap Panchayat. Because for him both are part of his identity and more he is close to his clan, this tribe-ism will take precedence over Nationalism much to discomfort of staunch Nationalist. This is because Nationalist believe in one size fit all approach for whole Nation. This is no different than what Pakistan believed that only religion can bind two East and West Pakistan together. Even for all their problems, nationalist have same blind reasoning and solution. Be it for kashmir, Manipur or Chattisgarh. This superficial thought process keep them away from ground realities and truth.

Hitler said, “The effectiveness of the truly national leader consists in preventing his people from dividing their attention, and keeping it fixed on a common enemy.”. Bush has used it successfully in USA, Pakistan Army has used it Pakistan, Chinese communist party in China, Putin in Russia, BJP has used it successfully to rise to power from ashes in India. This obsession to seek line of fault on others than to seek within thus creating a sense of false perfection and pride within that community . Nationalist leader use utopian dream and combine them with unacceptable desires to sell it to masses. While talking of restoring culture and giving sense of group identity they profess that existence of other group somehow puts their own survival at risk. And to survive they have to mobilize in own identity grouping based on caste, tribe, nation, religion, language and build a shell around to keep out foreigners (who doesn't fit into majority). And with this habit whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labeled good or bad. Individuality looses its value and what remains is superficial tagging.

This Nationalism and Religion are just opium of masses.  They are no different when it comes to common disrespect for the individual, their intolerance for the necessary private margin of dissent and disbelief which keeps us all free. Religion and Nationalism though pitching for equality human values and right, have been greatest cause of loss of human lives and human rights through out history. When religious community based majoritarianism seek to capture the state, they can be nothing but exclusionary, discriminatory, intolerant and prone to use violence against minorities, secularists and dissenters. 

Before we were Jews , Hindu , Muslim, Punjabi, Marathi,.. We were Humans first.. And interestingly we still are; We have just forgotten it..

When ever I am asked about my identity, These verse of Bulley Shah play in my mind..

Bulley Shah Dee Zaat Kee Puchni, Shaakar Ho Razayaan.
Do not ask Bulleh Shah his caste identity; Be thankful and be content with the lord’s creation(Human)

1 comment:

asgar said...

This is a brilliant piece, kudos to the author. Wish the whole world were a single nation. The people are so blinded by this disease of nationalism that they are unable to differentiate between right and wrong and even if they recognize the wrong they stoop to any level to justify these wrongs under the garb of nationalism. Hope common sense prevails and ppl esp Indians choose humanity over this sick nationalism.