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Education is not memorizing that Hitler killed six million Jews. Education is understanding how millions of ordinary Germans were convinced that it was required. Education is learning how to spot the signs of history repeating itself.
By Our Bureau Chief Vijaylakshmi Nadar, Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi, TIO: The promise was for India becoming a ‘world leader’. The promise was for “sabka saath, sabka Vikas”, Instead we are back to 1947, trying to defend the Sangh’s imposition of the two-nation theory, which it first propagated in 1930! With the ill-thought of bill like the National Citizen Register (NCR) and the afterthought of a bill like Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB), to establish citizenship, an issue which is guaranteed to keep the country on a boil for the next five years at least, in gross violation of Article 14 of the constitution. A classic case of negative nationalism.
So was the narcissistic show of strength, to reduce Jammu and Kashmir into union territories, and using the same brute strength to clamp down 70 lakh Kashmiri’s, with no remorse for the lives being destroyed there since August 5.
Confused? Never thought nationalism could be negative too? Maybe a classification like this was never needed in the Indian context, but today it is as real as the extreme polarization that’s seized the country, signs of it becoming a failed state.
Positive nationalism is when the country revels in its diversity, and no section of society is singled out for persecution, as is being done to Muslims and other minorities today. Negative nationalism is when a concerted effort which started in 2002, in Gujarat, with the Sangh Parivar’s two-nation theory raising its ugly head, threatens the second partition in the country today, and yet there is abject surrender to a possibility like this.
Positive nationalism is when you invest taxes to build schools, colleges, and universities and ensure that no child is deprived of school education. This brand of nationalism pushes the government to make education a priority and notices when the education budget stays at a pathetic 3%, of the annual budget which too is not utilized. Negative nationalism is when the government wages a war on its educational institutions because they do not conform to their ideologies and fall prey to their divisive agenda. It is so when the government announces a Rs 3000 crore cut in funds because they have been incompetent enough to squander away taxes, continuously showing themselves in the red. It is every bit a display of negative nationalism, when the same amount, which would fulfill the educational needs of millions of children, was spent on a statue of Vallabh Bhai Patel.
Positive nationalism is when taxes are invested in public health because a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Negative nationalism is when the government of the day claims to have insured people’s health but makes no move to improve existing health services, whilst allowing the existing facilities to deteriorate.
Positive nationalism is when the ‘strong leader’ expresses shock and pain at rape and does everything in his power to ensure that a woman’s safety becomes a priority of the government and every step, from sensitizing the public to empowering the police to do their job, becomes the norm. It ensures that promises like setting up fast track courts are fulfilled. Negative nationalism is when attempts are made to deflect from the crimes, by refusing to fix the government’s accountability.
Positive nationalism is when you hold the government of the day accountable for its progress, which is what makes the country happy and economically sound, which in turn invites foreign investment. Negative nationalism is when you hear and read stories of economic disaster, of rising employment, but are too caught up in the false narrative of a ‘strong’ leader to even get a whiff of the disaster that’s hit the country.
Positive nationalism is when you weigh in the government of the day’s economic policies and keep a constant check on whether it is serving the best interests. Negative nationalism is when reports that the country’s economy was hurtling downwards for five full years, continuing the downward trend in the second term too, is dismissed as a false narrative of a biased media against the ‘strong leader’
Positive nationalism is when one recognizes and follows the path of the many leaders that the freedom movement had thrown up. Negative nationalism is when one fails to notice that those leader’s like Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel are being either maligned or usurped by the followers of leader’s like Veer Savarkar and Nathuram Godse, who had absolutely no role to play in the freedom movement!
Positive nationalism is all about becoming aware of when one is being led up the garden path with fake narratives of how the country’s economy is on the rise. And refuse to be diverted from the real issues that are threatening the country, whether it is the bank frauds, tanking economy, rising unemployment, farmer suicides, among other equally pressing issues. Negative nationalism is when you continue to defend the government of the day, despite the illusions being shattered, on a daily basis, by some discerning media.
Positive nationalism is when you are part of the democratic process and ask the right questions, like where is the election funds, which is the root cause of corruption, of a political party, coming from. Negative nationalism is when asking questions is considered an anti-national activity or worse dismissing the issue as being irrelevant.
Positive nationalism is the ability to distinguish between facts and fiction being doled out by the media. Negative nationalism is dismissing even the work of credible journalists, who have built their reputation over several years. Just because they are criticizing the government, which is what they are supposed to do.
Positive nationalism is when you make the government accountable for all the grand promises made, whether it was generating two crore jobs every year, bringing all the black money stashed abroad, having a special court to identify corrupt legislators and throwing them behind bars. Negative nationalism is when one imposes blind faith in the government.
In short, positive nationalism is when you discern that the government of the day is merely a service provider of the day, not the country itself. The country has been around for centuries and will be around for centuries. It is the country that we are emboldened to, and not to the government of the day, which is here today and gone tomorrow, honorably or otherwise. Negative nationalism is when the leader is perceived to be omnipresent and every decision taken by him is considered in the interest of the nation, a whether it is demonetization, General Standard Tax (GST), abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, or the most recent NCR and CAB bills.
Millions of voices in the country and around the world, rose in unison to protest, against the corrupt rule of the congress. The voices then strengthened India Against Corruption movement (IAC), to throw out the corrupt congress. The media, on one hand, helped “expose” the scams, on the other hand, reported the loud noises against the government. As a result, the IAC became one of the biggest civil movements after 1942 Quit India. But unfortunately, for many, the fight stopped there.
The battle for corruption that was won after such a spirited struggle was squandered away soon enough.
An unsuspecting nation soon slipped from “Mera Bharat mahaan” (my country is great) to “mera neta mahaan” (my leader is great). While Modi ridiculed the “Indira is India and India is Indira”, a steady campaign was unleashed, to project that any criticism against him, the “strong leader” was an automatic abuse to the country. A troll army unleashed by the BJP IT cell then dismissed even senior journalists, who helped Modi rise, as anti-nationals.
As highly educated, well-heeled Non-Resident Indians (NRI) living a much better quality of life, in the USA even as immigrants, you were expected to have a more discerning perception of how things were really panning out. Contrary to what was being inboxed to you. Some of you have even joined the troll army to abuse journalists and supporters from the opposition.
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You ignored while there was no talk of development, no improvement in public education, public health, infrastructure, no news of jobs being created, in the last five years.
Instead, you looked the other way, even defending it, while the country was being subverted into a Hindu terror nation, with horror stories of lynching’s of minorities, exponential increase in crimes against women and children especially rapes, the complete collapse of institutions, from the media to the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, banking, and other financial institutions.
You did not even bat an eyelid when even your families and friends suffered the indignity and cruelty of demonetization, something which no civilized nation would indulge in.
Kashmir is still under siege, its seven lakh citizens locked up like herd in their own state, and yet you celebrate, based on false information fed to you.
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As NRI’s, we all benefitted from subsidized education in India, which brought us here to this land of plenty. Children born in the USA are given automatic citizenship and yet you fall prey to chants that lakhs of “outsiders”, even the ones born in Assam/India, should be reduced to the status of refugees immediately, as the government still flexes its muscles to create detention camps for them.
Is this what you signed up for?
Though Modi’s campaign was centered around development for the first term, and the Indians were told ‘Vikas’ (progress) was on its way, it never really birthed in the first five-year term and we were told by WhatsApp university that the birth was postponed because 70 years of mess by the previous had to be undertaken first. And surprisingly none of his supporters asked, whether the wild promises came with a deadline? Instead, we were told that since the cleaning is intense, it would be drastically unfair not to give the strong leader a “second” chance!
I wonder how many of you “knew” that Modi’s catchline “the government has no business to be in business” meant that he would sell off even the profit-making public sectors, which have been around for decades, contributing to the country’s wealth and power? Leaving lakhs of employees uncertain of their futures?
How many of you swallowed the lie that all elected representatives who have criminal cases against them will be prosecuted by a special court? Most of them were actually cleansed of all their crimes by simply joining the BJP? How many of you expressed horror at the horse-trading that went on in states like Karnataka and Maharashtra and Goa before that? Where no efforts were made to even hide the figures which were paid to opposition MLA’s to form governments where BJP did not have a majority?
All you NRI’s who joined in with Modi to ridicule Dr. Singh, did you question Modi’s silence on key issues, including rapes, lynching’s and farmer suicides, besides the crumbling economy?
The irony is that not just the prime minister, who is running the country like his personal fiefdom, along with his better half Amit Shah, but also his coterie of corrupt, arrogant and incompetent minions are beyond reproach. Whether it was Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley, Yogi Adityanath, Nirmala Sitaramanan, Sadhvi Pragya, or a Sakshi Maharaj. Even rape accused Kuldeep Sengar was spared by the media.
You wealthy NRI’s who probably have been illegal immigrants once, now trying to anchor on a ‘strong leader’ from back home, for better acceptability here, are well aware of the resentment that locals have for your sudden rise, while they struggle with the loss of jobs. You vote democrats, because they have a pro-liberal immigration policy, but are now turning against them because their liberal mindset does not resonate with the fascist trait blatantly exhibited by Modi? You are now being coerced to vote for republicans, even as you stress your Indian ness, to prove to the world you have arrived?
This is exactly the kind of mindset and arrogance, which is making the leader back home look bad internationally, and which will dig your grave in your adopted homeland as well. And the ‘strong leader’ won’t be of any help, as he would be battling his own demise. The world hates fascists.