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 . "