By Dar Wasim
During the election campaign in 2014, Narendra Modi capitalised on the failures of previous regime and roared the great slogan of development and change: “sab ka sath sab ka vikas” (Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth).The tireless campaign sowed some hopes in the hearts and minds of the common Indians and Modi became the natural alternative to the Congress. Narendra Modi assumed the centre stage and emerged as a strong leader in India after Congress and its allies were caught in multiple scams.
As he assumed the throne slowly, all those great slogans started to fade away and the country became the victim of the nationalism brigade. RSS, the mother organisation of the BJP, started to spread its wings and preach Hindutva. RSS does not need any introduction. It is an organisation preaching the thoughts of its ideologue, M.S. Golwalkar. They are toiling hard to disseminate the historic slogan he wrote in his publication, Bunch of Thoughts in 1966: “In this land of ours, Bharat, the national life is of Hindu people. In short, this is the Hindu nation.” The organisation with the help of government behind the veil started to rope in all government and non-government institutions. The media which is the fourth pillar of democracy decided its side, sold its loyality, and opted to advocate the right wing version of nationalism and patriotism. In February 2015, the RSS Chief, Mohan Bhagwat said, “India is a Hindu state. In this hour we need to unite all Hindus as the time is in our favour.”
The nationalist Hindutva brigade, which strives to control the national narrative, had murdered an innocent like Akhlaq Ahmad for consuming beef. Rohit Vemula, another victim of systemic casteism, committed suicide. The betrayal by the BJP, which used the slogans of development to lure the people, gave birth to new voices of dissent. An alternative discourse started from JNU. Although many voices of dissent were arrested and thrown in jails, the high-handedness has given heroic birth to the common students like Umar Khalid and Kanhaiya Kumar. It is unifying the people cutting across religion, caste, class, and gender, while countering the false patriotism of the right-wing brigade.
After the violence by the ABVP over the invitation to Umar Khalid and Kanhaiya Kumar at an event at Ramjas College, all the major student unions of India, including civil society, unified and protested. A female student, Gurmehar Kaur, joined the protest and uploaded few photographs with messages of resistance against right-wing fascism. An army of right wing trolls appeared to troll the girl and even threatened her of rape. But the girl remained firm in her stand. With the support from all corners, the girl became a symbol of resistance and courage.
The incident of Gurmehar Kaur has today exposed many black-sheep, which include many celebrities and sportsmen. They took to social media and attacked the girl for preaching freedom of speech and expression. The courage shown by the girl discouraged these celebs and they changed their statements later.
It is high time for the alleged nationalist brigade to realise the tide, give up their false dream, and join the masses. Whenever there will be a debate on nationalism, they would end up on the wrong side. The demand for civil liberties and freedom is unifying and forming an ocean of people, which will drown this idiotic nationalism.
Media should revert to its professionalism and stop eulogising fake nationalists for their petty economic interests. It should refrain from showing fake narratives of prejudice and hatred. It should rather accept the voices of dissent and play the role of a mediator to trade truth, not propaganda.
Today, the youth, the main agents of change, are studying at various educational institutions. They are the best judge to differentiate between right or wrong. Give them space to put their opinion on board and argue with them in a civilised manner. Universities are the places to debate and discuss. One can change the opinions through a proper dialogue and evidence and not by the vandalism, which the right-wing groups are indulging in with the help of law and order machineries.
Dar Wasim is a blogger from Kashmir, who can be reached at @payami_ on twitter.
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