Monday, May 11, 2009

The Idea of a Nation

It started of at Nita's blog , on her latest post , "Kashmir through the eyes of a Kashmiris" . where a gentleman said so -

"This may seem uncomfortable, but I think India should not only give away Kashmir but also let go of North Eastern states if they want independence. Who are we to impose our rule on them? Actually I don’t even know why India is even one country. Our states have less in common with each other than the countries in EU do. What’s with this artificial sense of national identity, forced language (Hindi) and fashionable talk of secularism (asking Hindus to be secular is a mockery).To begin with, the BIMARU states should be let to go. These states can go screw themselves as they have been doing all this time. Enough of taking money from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, TN and other states."

There other such comments as well , questioning the Oneness of India , and the incredulity expressed at it being one country without having a common language, culture or religion . And I came across a new definition of nationalism . Nationalism , it seems , "is nothing but the regionalism of the Hindi imperialist north Indians" . So the martyrs of 26/11 , Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan , a Keralite , Hemant Karkare , Ashok Kamte , Vijay Salaskar and Tukaram Omble , all Marathi's , were not Indians , but rather a Keralite and Marathis defending Mumbai for their own selfish interests . Irrefutable logic . Yes , Hindi was imposed , the imposition of was not fair . Even so , the mere imposition of Hindi , making the official language of India does not imply that Nationalism is Regionalism of Hindi Imperialist " North-Indians" . In one stroke, I have been reduced to an "imperialist" and a "North-Indian". And this is just an interesting tit-bit , V D Savarkar , who was a true blue Marathi and a Nationalist ( I beg of you not to drag the assassination angle), wanted Hindi to be the National Language . Shocking , right ? I cannot comprehend why . Once again , I do not suggest that it should be . If it were up to me , I would have a common script(Sanskrit's script could be the best) for all Indian languages , and make English and some-other-unanimously-decided-upon-language , as the official ones .

The concept of a nation is not just born out of a common language or culture . Diversity cloaks everything, without fail . This planet does not have one species , one climate or one vegetation . Should life on Earth cease to exists just because all the living beings have nothing in common apart from being alive ? I see India as a microcosm of the World . A rather big one though . You have different languages , religions and cultures . You have different , or rather a mixed race as well . So if we, cannot survive together , tolerate each other , then I have no hope for humanity . If we cannot learn to exist within the realms of diversity , then we will either perish or live very tumultuous lives. A common language/religion/culture may seem the ideal way , but sooner or later , some other issue would crop up . People following the same religion fight over caste and sect . Brahman and Dalit, Forward and Backward , Gujjar and Meena . Shia and Sunni . Protestant , Catholic , Baptist and Syrian . People following the same language ay start arguing over dialects . Hell, you have blonde , brunette and red-headed Caucasians, and even that could be turned into an burning issue by some diabolical genius. And if that doesn't brew up anything, you can always bank on : Communism Vs Capitalism . Male Chauvinist Pigs 's Vs Feminists . Straight Vs Gay .Maybe Vegans vs Non-Vegetarians . The question here is , to what extent are you willing to tolerate the differences between you and the people around you ? Do you want to live with people who look,talk,eat,pray,copulate exactly like you ? Ever come across a jungle with just tigers or rabbits living in it ? Humanity will never be short of reasons to fight over . The trick is to try and keep it to a minimum .

And it is not just race or language or religion , but also shared historical experiences which is important , for nationhood . I bet people were not wondering whether we were one or not in 1962 . It seems as if you need a common enemy to unite everyone , even if not for long . It reminds me of the movie Watchmen , where Dr. Manhattan takes the blame for the nuked New York , unites the World, and de-escalates the tension between US and Russia, who are shown to be on the brink of all-out nuclear missile shooting match . It is fictitious , but makes a lot of sense . So some day , if a hostile alien ship is found hovering above Earth , I guess Chavez , Bush and Osama would also come together . How do you unite people even in the absence of a common enemy ? How do you pull off something like what Hitler did with Germany , without the Jewish fixation ?

The children of a mother may have nothing in common , but that doesn't nullify their bond, does it ? Diving people into smaller and smaller groups, on some nonsensical “common” ground , might be a good short term solution , but in the long term , it will come back and bite us in the ass . It is very easy to crib about how India is divided , how we constantly fight amongst ourselves , how there is not even a semblance of unity . Well , first of all define One . If you expect a nation of 1.15 Billion people to sway in unison over every damn thing , get off the dope you are smoking . That is only going to happen , when , as I said , there is a grave external threat , say , China attacks again . And in the absence of that , you need good leaders to bring out that united "Aye" . And secondly , you are one , if you want to be one . You need the collective will of the people to be a nation. It is like living a big joint family , it seems like a nuisance , but has its advantages . I have said this before , the mass of humanity is a force , if tapped the right way . And yes, it can be mother of all chaos as well . I bet the Nagas , the Tamils , the Kashmiris will be ecstatic to secede . It will be good for a while , until the next despotic dickhead decides to add them to his empire or exploit them for it . And the smaller you are the weaker you are . Gone are the days of nations like Sparta , where 300 held off an army of thousands , may be millions . The concept of India as a nation comes at a price , are you willing to pay for it ? It is an idea ,a bold and imaginative , and it won't be that easy to materialize completely . For those "love-lorn" Indians living in the US who disparage it , please read American History . The US of A came at a price , after a lot of struggle and blood-shed , but that is what makes it strong , among other things . They had a Civil War . May be , even for us , a good spell lies ahead , after the turbulence settles down . Don't we all love be to Global citizens , and rant about Globalization , and how boundaries are created by shallow selfish power-crazed politicians . Well , if you can learn to be a citizen of India , it will teach you everything you need to be a good global citizen .

Indians need validation from the West . So , take a look at a huge chunk of the West , Europe . What is the European Union all about ? They are trying to bring down the walls, after fighting amongst themselves since ages, coalescing themselves as a single unit . Why the hell are they doing that ? Aren't they a bunch of fools, falling for “united we stand,divide we fall, even if the unity involves diversity” ?

Quite a while ago , I had written this as a comment on IHM's blog . What does patriotism mean to me ? It is an extension of the feeling I have for my family . You love it unconditionally . And why do I feel that way ? May be I was born like that. May be there is a gene for it , you can trust the geneticists to come up with something like that . My up-brining is responsible , yes . My grandfather taught me that the motherland comes before religion , or anything else . And education . Not the crap I learned in school . The NCERT History that is taught in our schools is very clean and very guarded. I bet if they added the parts about the creation of Jan Sangh and RSS , it will create a furore . I heard about a man called Deen Dayal Upadhaya through chance, when we all should have heard about him through school books . His words -

"We are pledged to the service not of any particular community or section but of the entire nation. Every countryman is blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh. We shall not rest till we are able to give to every one of them a sense of pride that they are able to give to every one of them a sense of pride that they are children of Bharatmata. We shall make Mother India Sujala, Suphala (overflowing with water and laden with fruits) in the real sense of these words. As Dashapraharana Dharini Durga (Goddess Durga with her 10 weapons) she would be able to vanquish evil; as Lakshmi she would be able to disburse prosperity all over and as Saraswati she would dispel the gloom of ignorance and spread the radiance of knowledge all around her. With faith in ultimate victory, let us dedicate ourselves to this task."

His is the kind we need . And he died under mysterious circumstances .

The above , like many other historical facts, I learned on my own . Through observation and by quetsioning things . From the left,right and center angle . I think if you want the complete picture about a Historical event , you should read about it from the different kinds of Historians . You know , Saffron,Secular,Marxist etc . Then , a semblance of the truth might emerge from it . I use "semblance" and "might" , as this is just a theory . It took me a while to realize that History , is his(or her) story , and not just a cold,unbiased and unemotional assortment of facts . And that it only acted as a soporific while I had to mug to score , in school . :)

I wonder what scares the custodians of History in this country from writing as it was , as humanly as possible . Why can't the coming generations be trusted with the tales of the past , even if they are full of blood , gore and pain . Are they afraid of creating a rift ? I think the absence of truthful historical accounts would create it instead , when one fine day , you suddenly discover what happened , and you feel cheated , and suddenly , all of it seems like a conspiracy directed against , you / your kind / community . I think we just not need to teach the right History , but we also need to teach how to assimilate it the right way . If India was invaded by Mughal/Arab rulers and thousands of Hindu heads rolled in their bloody quest , that does imply that Muslims in India , today , be held accountable for that . I have read about the hundreds or may be thousands of temples destroyed by the Muslim invaders , and kings like Aurangzeb , and that makes my blood boil . But , I am not picking up my demolition kit , and going to destroy mosques in turn . Isn't the study of History , our past , supposed to teach us a lesson for our present and future ? But how will that happen , when those lessons are doctored by the people in power , to suit their ideology ?


Coming back to patriotism, a few days ago, after reading a fellow bloggers comment , I question myself . Why am I patriot ? Why does the motherland mean so much to me ? Am I patriotic because I am a Hindu , one who has been not faced any caste-based discrimination ? A Hindi speaking one ? Is it so , because so far , this nation has not been unkind to me , as could be said in the case of all Kashmiri Pundits or certain parts of the Muslim and Sikh populace , or Dalits ? Does this feeling of patriotism stem out of your association with this land , or is it measured in terms of your net gain as a citizen of this country ? Discrimination or denial of rights alone could be held responsible for having an apathetic attitude towards your nation . I have known quite a few affluent Hindus , who would ditch Mother India , in a jiffy for the land of milk and honey . And I don't think I am patriotic because I am a religious Hindu , cause once again , I think there are thousands of this kind , who will and have gone abroad , but still look up to India as the Holy Land . And if religion alone is the reason to fuel one's love for motherland , than shame on such a patriot . Love for one's country should flow naturally , and without reason , as does your love for your own mother . If the change is one's faith leads to a change in the loyalty for your country , then shame on you , and shame on that faith as well . The prime reason behind my love for my country is that I was born here , and I belong to this place; by virtue of birth and history is this land my motherland . And I can say that his sense of belonging can only be discovered and realized on your own .

Edited to add :

"The human hand is very different from the leg , as the kidney is from the heart , but together they are one functioning entity , and the soul , the consciousness resides in that body , not in the limbs and organs that make it up . And when you chop off a piece of that body , it may live , but in pain . And if you keep hacking off pieces from it , one day , it will die for sure. My sense of patriotism directs me to respect and revere the entire body as that of Mother India , and establish a bond with her soul . "

45 comments:

ramblingsbybones said...

I agree with you - patriotism is not about just religion or region...Patriotism is to do with the state; the idea of a nation...It is not based on shared descent or kinship...It includes attachment to the country's land and people, acceptance of its diversity, admiration for its varied customs and traditions, pride in its history, and interest in its welfare and development...

The gentleman who made the comment doesn't realize the idea of India...He wants to get rid of certain states - India wouldn't be India without them, would it? India is strong because so many diverse groups have come together...Individual states based on kinship will not survive survive...

Kislay said...

@Bones
Exactly . The Idea of a Nation is not that simple . If a nation is based upon common culture , race or values , then it is not the only reason for its being one nation . I say look at America , is there any less diversity there ?

Vinod_Sharma said...

Bones has put it very nicely: patriotism is not just about religion and region and, if I may add, language.

In many families you will find guys who will happily suck off everything common as if it their right, at times even as though they are doing a favour to others. But the moment they have to share anything thing that is theirs alone, for a family member who is is not so well placed, the family is over for them. This is the kind of guy who will say what you have quoted him saying elsewhere.

There will always be people who will question the idea of India but not the "smaller" idea of a part of India that they think is real. And, they will try to justify it with "history", philosophy, what have you, often so mindless, that you will know quickly that they are beyond any reasoning. And, as you have rightly brought out, the latest addition to that list is the lot for whom patriotism is a bad word because the "land of milk and honey" is a more practical idea...many in this lot are not very different from the type of guy whose views have got your gut.

In a nation of a billion plus, there will be some who will have ideas that clash with yours and mine; with some we can reason, with others you know instantly that it is not even worth trying.

Just forget about them and focus on carrying along with you those who broadly agree with your views and adding more who have still not crossed over.

I must add that this ancient nation has now become a political unit on the basis of a very recent nation-state model that first made an appearance in Europe in the 19th century. Before that, the world over there were multi-ethnic, multi-racial kingdoms with flexible boundaries decided primarily on the relative power and ambitions of kings. India too was a collection of many large and small kingdoms for thousands of years. But the oneness of Bharat, Jambudweep, has been known since the beginning of history as we know it. India is no fiction, nor is it an idea invented by the British.

Kislay said...

@Vinod Sharma
You have said what I wanted to say , in different words . India , as a modern day country with well defined boundaries is only 61 years old , and the forfathers took a bold step in trying to keep it as one , but , as you say the concept of Bharat Varsha exists since ages . And I just cannot understand what lie am I am believing in , when I say that . Why does everything have to conform to the Western standards , our religion , our language , our defintion of a nation ?

manju said...

Kislay, congratulations on an absolutely superlative post. And obviously written from the heart! I agree completely with what you have written.

I will read it again before commenting later on...

Usha Pisharody said...

In these lines you capture much:
"I see India as a microcosm of the World . A rather big one though . You have different languages , religions and cultures ."

And while she is one brilliant mosaic, her people have yet to raise the bar of their threshold of tolerance, which is what is also needed to keep her together, sensitively and sensibly.

I find the comment about each part of India being allowed to seceede one of those ostrich with the head in the sand outlooks! It is simply running away from the situation instead of making oneself belong, and ensure that belongingness evens out all over!

A discerning post, Kislay. And yes I had read the comments on the said blog, and to put it mildly, was flabbergasted, and horrified. I like the way you take it and give food for thought, and assaying that courage of conviction of one who know where he is, and to whom he belongs.

Kudos for this!

Anrosh said...

i would rather have 25 different countries of india -- than bundling it together. Then nobody can complain and fight and do violence in the name of organized religion - which is the cause of all problems.

don't get me wrong - i have families from the east to the west to the north and the south -- we are spread across everywhere -- but if reglionalisim and religion is the cause of riots and violence -let it seperate.

it is not easy and aint't going to happen too -- that is why we must tolerate pakistani flags right in the muslim quarters of bombay and hyderabad !

i like the concept of the nation but I pray along with tagore " o let my country awake"

Anrosh said...

please don't shoot me for writing the above -- but for a nation to exist there has to be a common vision, which is lacking in india.

the diversity in america is fathomless but these guys have a vision and a political will so strong that if people will differ on everthing else they will come together to keep safe, strong, powerful - they will not mince works. america does not have fence among themselves nor does it hedge. they are bullish. they have won in all kinds of climates - they do not look anywhere else for direction but themselves. they might not know so many things ( 100s of things in this country is outsourced even the equipment that they use on their borders - but they wouldn't outsource their political will to other ! --

if the 60 year old india can relearn this we will be successful in this country otherwise it will be kashmir across india ( i have written a post on my blog long time ago )

if i have hurt anybody else's feelings i didn't intentionally mean to - i just wrote as it is.

Vinod_Sharma said...

I agree with you An. We need to learn something from the unfathomably diverse nation created by immigrants about nationhood. And that, as you say, is a common vision....who can disagree with that?

Kislay said...

@Manju and Usha
Thank you . It makes me glad to know that I make sense to some people . India for me , is not just an interesting subject to debate over .

@Anrosh
But if you think that dividing it into 25 parts would solve the problem , then you are mistaken . Remeber why were we invaded by the Gaznis and the Ghauri's in the first place ? Because are Kings were busy playing war , like some Eurpoean football tournament with other Kings . The way I see it is , no matter how many pieces you spilt the country into , the problems would not go , but only increase . Peace does not come that easily . And if there are Pakistani flags in the muslim quarters of Bombay and Hyderbad , it is more because these people are delusional , they need to taught a lesson in History and Nationalism .

Kislay said...

@Anrosh
Please feel free to put forward any view point . But I will take shots at you , through counter-arguments . :) Anyways , I agree with what you wrote in the secon comment , wholeheartedly . Common vision and political will . Do you think their Presidential system contributes towards it , as compared to our Parliamentary one ?

manju said...

Kislay, this is the same mentality as that of Jawaharlal Nehru when he said that we should let go portions of Ladakh to China because "not a blade of grass grows there".

When our country was for centuries under first Muslim domination, and later British domination, did our freedom fighters not fight for the liberation of the whole country from foreign rule?

Or was it understood that Maharashtrians should fight for the freedom of the Marathi people? Did the Sikhs should only care about liberating Punjab? Was not Veer Bhagat Singh the revolutionary hero of the whole nation?

Revolutionaries fought for freedom in every corner of our land. We are the inheritors of their comprehensive vision and should try to understand, as they did, that our country is one entity. -Not just a cobbling together of different states.

Indians do not merely say that "this is my county". They say "this is my motherland". And patriotism in India means devotion to our motherland. How can we let her be cut up into separate parts?

As you say this is something to be felt, not just debated upon.

Solilo said...

Kislay, First Kudos to a wonderfully researched and well-written post. One of the best I have read.

"If we cannot learn to exist within the realms of diversity , then we will either perish or live very tumultuous lives."

That is exactly what is happening today. All of us are trying to turn this diversity into uniformity by wrong means.

Chrysalis said...

Kislay:

I read your post and then I read the post on Nita's blog. I must say I was asleep when patriotism and diversity became bad words.
I am am shocked and ashamed at the comments I read at Nita's blog. I found it so hateful that I did not have the stomach to leave a comment there.
I am from Jammu and Kashmir... not a Kashmiri but a Dogra , (the Dogras being the erstwile rulers of the state, Hari Singh was a a Dogra Rajput). Any discussion on the state without talking about the Dogras is ignorance. There are many Dogras , I one amongst them who feels we are caught in the crossfire between the Kashmiri Pandits and the Kashmiri Muslims, but this did not shake our faith in one nation.
I am also a Bihari Bahu, Patna now being my second home. My brother married an Oriya and we are all for diversity.

India comprised of many kingdoms but the idea of one nation existed.

I was born a patriot and am very optimistic about India United. If diversity is an issue I wonder how we as a humanity, as a planet could possibly survive.

I also feel that religion and patriotism are not related in the sense that you cannot create a nation on the basis of religion. Religion per se, though teaches the tenet of loyalty to one's birth land. Even during the partition there was a school of Islam and its followers who were againt the creation of Pakistan because of this very reason.
I am so worked up right now , coherence is difficult to achieve. maybe I will be back to write more later.
Needless to say Brilliant Post ! I read somewhere you are from Patna. Maybe you are Chanakya reborn :). Your post reminded me of Chankaya's speech at the eve of Alexander's attack.
I pray you can translate your words into action and revive Magadh's glory and the nations too.

Kislay said...

@Manju
Those sound the words of a leader trying to console his people after a loss incurred due to his own short-sightedness . I read a book called "Leaders in the Indian Army" , in which I found out how the top brass warned the Government to strengthen the NWFP and be aware of China . You are absolutely right about the revolutionaries and freedom fighters , they did for the whole country rather than their community .

Our hand is very different from our leg , as the kidney is from our heart , but together they are one body , and the soul resides in that body , not in the limbs and organs that make it up . And when you chop off a piece of that body , it will live , but in pain . And if you keep hacking off pieces from it , one day , it will die . My sense of patriotism , is to treat the entire body as mine , and establish a bond with the soul .

@Solilo

Thanks . If only this message could be sent across the nation .

@Chrysalis

Thank you . I can empathize , cause this post is the result of the anger and shame I felt . I am from Patna , it is my hometown . And Chanakya , seriously ? :)

indianhomemaker said...

I had read the comment Kislay, and I had the same reaction. We seem to have some people who imagine that if all Indians were Hindus, and all belonged to same caste, and all spoke the same language - we would have lived in peace forever. But what is needed is not a common religion, culture or language but some tolerance and the realisation that it benefits everybody to stay united. Mumbai terror attacks were an eye opener ... Those who look for excuses for divides will find them anywhere, like you said, The question here is, ... Do you want to live with people who look, talk, eat, pray, copulate exactly like you ? Ever come across a jungle with just tigers or rabbits living in it ? Humanity will never be short of reasons to fight over. I hope that commenter reads this.

Kislay said...

@IHM
Even Hindus all over India are so different from each other , customs , languages , different schools of thoughts . And as you said , Those who look for excuses for divides will find them anywhere , very true . I can come up a reason to prove how me and father are completely different people who will clash if we lived under the same proof .

Smitha said...

Kislay, Fantastic Post! Agree with everything you say.

This talk of separation - I always wonder where will ikt end? And is it a real solution? People talk about the length and breadth of India and how it is a cobbled together nation. But look at Srilanka - tiny nation, in comparison, to India, more homogenous population, at least in comparison to India, aren't they have a separatist movement? We have to learn to be proud of our diversity and accept it as a part of life and move on. A truly homogenous society can never exist. Anywhere for that matter. It is a shame that we talk about being global citizens yet have so much trouble with being Indian.

Kislay said...

@Smitha
I wonder whether there are many such people who talk like this , or a few . Our education system is certainly not doing enough to instill national pride .

Anrosh said...

the nation is still an idea is a popular notion that exists among its citizens. Though its geographical boundaries exist, it seems to gnawing away in the north and in the east . Any country that sits at its borders is playing with the idea of cutting across the existing border line or the people of the state is helping the country across the border to chew it – that is one reason that india still exists as an idea in the eyes of its citizens.

One of my family members has immigrated into India and though he was raised in the central part of the country, he still feels emotionally closer to the state that speaks his native language. People like him exists in millions in india – that is the 2nd reason why india as a nation is an idea.

It was a bolt from the blue when I heard something called as “south india” exists , and that too no where else but at the orientation of international students in the university in the US – that is the 3rd reason why india as a nation is an idea. An anonymous comment only adds to the shock !

It has been proven that one is more closer to the region that one is raised in.One can see this dyanamisim in universities .All from the same region huddled in groups. Multiply this in millions across the country . Imagine a few millions .This is the 4th reason.

...it is getting tooo long i have the rest of it on my blog ..

Solilo said...

Exactly Kislay. Whenever this diversity was forcefully turned into uniformity, we have seen only bloodshed. For a long time India suffered because of this. Nothing has changed yet. So many countries too which were invaded to convert everyone to make them one of their own as per the requisite of religious books.

I also agree to an extend with Anrosh that at times we witness a fake patriotism too when people group themselves among similar ones.

A funny note. At orientation when everyone was to say the country they belonged to, each one of us said Name and country but a dear friend said

Name: X
Country: City of Joy..Calcutta.

Solilo said...

Exactly Kislay. Whenever this diversity was forcefully turned into uniformity, we have seen only bloodshed. For a long time India suffered because of this. Nothing has changed yet. So many countries too which were invaded to convert everyone to make them one of their own as per the requisite of religious books.

I also agree to an extend with Anrosh that at times we witness a fake patriotism too when people group themselves among similar ones.

A funny note. At orientation when everyone was to say the country they belonged to, each one of us said Name and country but a dear friend said

Name: X
Country: City of Joy..Calcutta.

Kislay said...

@Solilo
Forcing anything down anyone's throat never worked . But to be fair , nobody is doing that right now . Nobody has launched an all India movement of sorts , all we see , people taking advantage of the diversity for short term gains .

Destination Infinity said...

Even though Punjab is a totally different culture than TN, go abroad and they look at all of us as Indians. There is a connection between all the people of the sub-continent, and in spite of the different languages and cultures we are indeed one nation. We think like one nation and we act like one nation. The concepts of society is not very different in TN than Punjab. But when you compare this to a US of A or China, you can see the difference. Europe understood the importance of being together after a long history of blood bath. And I don't think this country will divide.

Destination Infinity

Kislay said...

@DI
Yes . The same way we look at Americans as one people , where in fact , they too are very diverse , a Texan is different from a New Yorker .

Anrosh said...

Solilo, -- the city of joy --i can't stop laughing..

As you said Kislay Laloo is brilliant. In the current circumstances where Manmohan singh and party has decided to observe a "maun vrat" laloo would have shaken up mademoisille rice and party's trip after the bombay incident. we dislike his certain traits but it is this same traits that help india to develop a spine - nation or not.
indian citizens have become lethargical comfortable under the silk pallu of gandhi that they do mind eating dirt if they have too.
if you have read shashi tharoor, he has mentioned elsewhere that he was disillusioned with the indira gandhi's emergency etc etc . and he went on to write about Nehru: something and then now standing with congress -- that is the problem with our educated intellegensia --they have become the tyrannical status quo for india's continued degradation! not that it has no potential, but we seem to be in a slumber. Even the bomaby incident has not woken the indian government/citizens up..

Anrosh said...

correction: Read "indian citizens have become lethargical comfortable under the silk pallu of gandhi that they do NOT mind eating dirt if they have too.
"what a shame that india's largest political party is run by an italian woman" these are words of a spanish man who once talked to me. Half the world still thinks that india is ruled by the british !

Indyeah said...

Brilliant Kislay!Take a bow for this!These are my thoughts and my anger that you have expressed so strongly and so coherently here!

Though each and every word of this post speaks to me and for me…and it is damn difficult to choose just some…but for me, these liens of yours say it all…

The question here is , to what extent are you willing to tolerate the differences between you and the people around you ?It seems as if you need a common enemy to unite everyone , even if not for long .

Exactly!!! Ironic it is Kislay and yet at times I feel that this maybe should and will jolt up those who speak in a manner so divisive..when an enemy attacks India ..then where do these hate mongers disappear?
Where is all the talk of us and them? There is only an INDIA isn’t there?


It is very easy to crib about how India is divided , how we constantly fight amongst ourselves , how there is not even a semblance of unity . Well , first of all define One . If you expect a nation of 1.15 Billion people to sway in unison over every damn thing , get off the dope you are smokingROFL!just imagining some of them in their smoke induced stupor…
I have to stand up and applaud this one statement!
Bravo Kislay!! Brilliant!!




, if you can learn to be a citizen of India , it will teach you everything you need to be a good global citizen .What does patriotism mean to me ? It is an extension of the feeling I have for my family . You love it unconditionally . And why do I feel that way ? May be I was born like that. May be there is a gene for it , you can trust the geneticists to come up with something like that .

Yes Kislay and believe me when I say that I heaved a sigh of relief when I read this…for, after reading comments like the one you have cited I started feeling that I was a prehistoric creature living in some god forgotten age…

If it is indeed in the genes then by god I have got it in mine…and no I cannot give any reasonable sensible explanation for it…


I think we just not need to teach the right History , but we also need to teach how to assimilate it the right way .
Brilliant!!and I am saying this for all your words here but as someone who loves history this is just what everyone needs to learn Kislay!


Love for one's country should flow naturally , and without reason , as does your love for your own mother . If the change is one's faith leads to a change in the loyalty for your country , then shame on you , and shame on that faith as well . The prime reason behind my love for my country is that I was born here , and I belong to this place; by virtue of birth and history is this land my motherland . And I can say that his sense of belonging can only be discovered and realized on your own .

Kislay you have left no words that I can think of and share here…for, you have said it all and how!!

Hats off dear friend for this write!
I loved it…and yes all that anger and the frustration that you felt as even I did after reading those words in that comment…that anger ahs been well channelised….and again…for some this anger will come naturally while some will be unable to comprehend the reason for it…

And therein lies the difference that you have written about….


Thank you for this Kislay…thank you

Indyeah said...

Bharat Varsha or the idea of India is not a lie...but one cant say the same about the people who want to believe in such lies..

Kislay said...

@Anrosh
I am ashamed of that fact that out of 1.12 Billion Indians , the INC made Ms. Sonia Mano as their chief .
I wonder if anything short of a nuclear attack will make us , I mean really really wake us up .

Kislay said...

@Indyeah

I knew my blog was missing something . :) The hate-mongers do disappear when we are under attack , remeber 26/11 and Raj Thackeray ?

We would rather be pre-historic patriots , than over-analytic,snooty "global citizens" , wouldn't we ? :)

I wanted to hear your views on what I wrote about History , you being a Masters and a teacher of it .

And I thank thee for thy generous comments .

Indyeah said...

The idea of India Kislay...a question that the best of us will be hard pressed to answer....I mean how does one define India?
And yet ask these very same people and they will come up with either NO definition because to them India is a lie or A definition so easy that one simply wonders....


Whereas you and I know as does everyone who has shared here that India is an idea that defies comprehension...it refuses to get tied down in boundaries and definitions...and that perhaps is what India is all about...an ever changing ever evolving land .country/idea/definition that stands with her arms wide open...willing to embrace all those who come at her door and makes them her own...

motherland indeed she is...and a mother has no prejudices...

Kislay said...

Well said . India does defy convention and comprehension .

"motherland indeed she is...and a mother has no prejudices"

Beautifully put . But most of her sons and daughters are prejudiced .

quintessentialhope said...

I have been waiting 2 days to read this........
now finally have got to it....

this has been done beautifully man....
---
This planet does not have one species , one climate or one vegetation
----
We have had this discussion earlier as well............
India for me is more than a country, it is an idea which proves that people can exist as one even under extreme diverse conditions!!!!!!
THat is why I love her so much!!!
Great one Kislay!!! kudos!!!

Kislay said...

Thank you Ajit . Was waiting for you to comment , for I knew , you and I think alike on this .

Vikram said...

@ Kislay, if you remember I had very strongly opposed Priyank's statements. But after reading your post I feel you and I have very different approaches to nationalism. Please dont take my words harshly but respond rationally,

You said, "I see India as a microcosm of the World . A rather big one though . You have different languages , religions and cultures ."

Fine. But there is a problem here, the first two words 'I see'. I see it that way too, but does a Naga or a Kashmiri see it that way ? It doesnt seem so. And if they dont see India that way then we have no right to impose our ideas on them. This does not mean that they dont want any kind of relationship with us, but that perhaps they want a relation with India like the one Bhutan does. They will definitely lose out on many things by not being part of India, but the choice has to be made by them, not by us.

@ Anrosh, America's and India's diversity are very different. Please dont compare migrating to a land of opportunity for better economic and social opportunities to thousands of years of tolerance and syncretism.

Kislay said...

@Vikram
I read your comments , and I must thank you for your emollient words on that blog . And I understand what you are trying to say . I feel the way I feel , because , I am educated , without sounding immodest if I may , more than the average Indian ; and I have experienced a slice of the multi-cultural diverse India . If somehow ,through education and other right means , we can show them the pro's of being an Indian , apart from the cons , then it might work .

Winnie the poohi said...

A very very articulate post! loved it!

Kislay said...

@Winnie
Thanks :)

Anrosh said...

Vikram, i understand that - the reason for migration or immigration is due to different reasons. But after 2 generations you will hear things as " i am american, but on my moms's side i am scandinavian and my father's side i am this or that". the first generation comes for a different reason - but the country is made of differnt generations.

Per se they do not have differences and conflicts like we have in india, but during election season - vote bank is targeted community wise - not so long ago - obama's sister campaigned targetting the asian community, his mothers side of the parents showed up targetting that part of the audience and the black of course because of his mixed linege and etc etc..

This difference was very distinct immediately after 9/11 --for the first time america felt the lines strongly and it has continued to exist - the lines emerging strongly or lightly as per the climate in the country ( an attack or election )

- You will not see this in the university community but you will definitely see it outside. Race, religion, nationality, community -- but they do have a common vision -- "economic prosperity and wanting to be powerful"- and for that they are really united.

Anrosh said...

vikram/kislay:

And in case of kashmiris as they see it with their eyes ( i have mentioned one such case on my blog - kashmir acorss india ) they clearly feel that government at the center have failed them and this goes to the states in the north east too. And for this I am not for the current governing system in india -- somebody wrote a comment on my post with regards to shashi tharorr contesting it from kerala -- at least he will be able to talk in hindi during the sessions and this was one of his bullet points during election !

http://thetwentysecondline.blogspot.com/search/label/kashmir

J P Joshi said...

A very passionate post. Agree with you on most counts. Like you argue, our biggest strength is our diversity. Diversity leads to problems sometimes, as do similarities, no more no less - and you have alluded to that in your post. Some of us do not understand this fact but at the macro level most of us do, and that is the good news - we need to celebrate this good news.

Our diversity is the biggest plus point of this IDEA of India. We have a constitution that unites this diversity into one Sovereign Republic. Everything will fall in place if we keep our personal beliefs personal, and in public life we take patriotism to be our religion (for the very same reasons that you mention in your post) and the Constitution to be our holy book. Our constitution celebrates diversity and so should we.

Look around us in South Asia, and there will be no further questions on our viability as a nation. It was a treat to watch the people of India exercise their franchise from North to South and East to West, and based on this verdict, it was another treat this evening when the PM drove up to the Rashtrapati Bhawan to suggest the dissolution of the present Lok Sabha on the recommendations of the Cabinet, and the President accepting the same and requesting the PM to continue until the formation of the new government - such dignified and smooth hand over of power in a nation of 1.1 billion people is worth giving one's life for. Jai Ho to our Constitution and our institutions to have made this possible.

lifeismystery said...

Hi Kislay,
Came over here from OG's post. Wonderful post. I completely agree with your thoughts.

"If we cannot learn to exist within the realms of diversity , then we will either perish or live very tumultuous lives" Well phrased.
I liked every line of your post especially the last line "The prime reason behind my love for my country is that I was born here , and I belong to this place; by virtue of birth and history is this land my motherland"

Kislay said...

@JPJ and Mystery

Thank you . I am glad , that more and more like minded people, Indians are echoing my thoughts .

scorpiogenius said...

India may appear to be on dodgy tops, waiting to blow out at anytime. Its amazing how a union of so many starking diversities manage to call themselves as Indian (well, generally speaking). If we lose anything from this union, be it BIMARU or Kashmir or the NE, we will cease to be
India.

Never shall that happen!