During the time India was negotiating for its independence, several smaller states were independently negotiating with the British for their independence. So Manipur and Nagaland, which had been left as territories independent from India by the British rulers, were immediately captured by the Indian state. The people of these states often don’t consider themselves a part of India, while the Indian state insists on owning that territory with little regard for the voices of the people. -Said Nivedita Menon, a JNU Professor, at JNU campus
February 9, 2016, could eventually turn out to be most momentous and memorable in the history of the Jawaharlal Nehru University. The event that day, holding of a meeting to remember, as posters claimed, two victims of judicial killing Afzal Guru and Maqbool Butt, has sent tremors, which could either change the political hue and culture of the University, or could bring it down a few notches in the respect it had as a premier seat of learning or the university’s doors could not be inviting to all those not subscribing to the prevailing ideology of extreme Left, which seems to be in danger of swamped by anti-India elements and slowly become hotbed of India-haters.
A very reliable source alleged that the West-Asian languages faculty is virtually under the control of a small group, which does nothing but think of plans or plots to create chaos in the country. They are extremely good at reading the direction of political wind. They correctly estimated that if the government came down on them, Rahul Gandhi who hates Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would take an opposite stand, thus bring the government to a standstill.
The fact is times have changed. For a long time the Left dominated, JNU was encouraged by Indira Gandhi for its Left leanings who too, like her father was inclined towards the Left. The Rightist were non-entities, snubbed out from the governments and the media. Slowly the Rightists have grown and are asserting themselves. The nationalism, with them around, has acquired the halo of patriotism which is sanctimonious. This is why the debate, what is anti-national, and who is a nationalist has vertically divided us. The anchors of a few channels looked murderous as they ranted about slogans raised at the meet.
The authorities came down heavily on the organisers of February 9 meet. The Government’s invoking of sedition law snowballed into high-voltage debates, one over whether the Government over-reacted and the others over as to who could be called anti-national and who could qualify to be a nationalist. And more importantly whether shouting anti-India slogans was covered by the Freedom of Speech.
Some argue, especially those belonging to the school of Rahul Gandhi’s thoughts (don’t grin please), that the young in campuses would tend to be radical and their thought processes do conceive theories from utopian to bizarre. It does not mean that when they leave the University they continue to hold on to their dreams. They thus advocate that their radical thinking should not be curbed. But, is breaking the country just a radical thought? Anyone who says so is plain stupid. Such slogans, especially at functions celebrating “martyrdom” of one who had planned to destroy the symbol of India’s sovereignty, are indicative of fifth columnists festering in the capital of the country.
Arun Jaitley righty said that campuses are not sovereign territories that the police cannot enter. If some offence has been committed under IPC, police would go in. We would also discuss, the charge of the likes of Ghulam Nabi Azad and others that the slogans like jang rahe gi jab thak bharat barbad nahi hota did not justify the heavy-handed approach, of sending of police at midnight to the campus and then slapping the charge of sedition on Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNU Students Union.
The likes of Harvard, Cambridge and other leading institutions have felt that the police action violated the sanctity of the campus and the right of freedom of speech. Over 400 academicians from international varsities, including Columbia, Yale, Harvard and Cambridge, have also come out in support of Jawaharlal Nehru University students. They havesent messages to the JNU that they are with them and condemn the government action in sending the police inside the University.
In India, most Left-wingers, ‘intellectuals’ and many in media who see nothing but non-secular, totalitarian and divisive political ideas of the present government have also questioned the police entry into the campus. Rajdeep Sardesai, who wrote in Hindustan Times that he was proud to say he was an anti-national penned :“Yes, I am anti-national because I believe in an expanded definition of the right to free speech as spelt out in Article 19 of the Constitution. The only two ‘reasonable restrictions’ are incitement to violence and hate speech. What constitutes hate speech may be open to debate. Is, for example, the slogan of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement Jo Hindu hit kee baat karega vahi desh pe raj karega, which openly calls for a Hindu Rashtra, to be seen as violative of the law or not and does it spread enmity among communities? Is Raaj karega khalsa, the slogan of the Khalistanis, to be seen as seditious or not? In Balwant Singh versus State of Punjab, the Supreme Court ruled in the negative.
“Yes, I am anti-national because while I am discomfited by the slogan shouting at JNU in support of Parliament terror convict Afzal Guru, I do not see it as an act of sedition. The sketchy video evidence made available shows the ‘students’ (we still don’t know if all of them were, indeed, students) shouting slogans like Bharat kee barbaadi, and hailing Afzal’s ‘martyrdom’.
“The speeches are primarily an anti-government tirade, but is it enough to see the students as potential terrorists or rather as political sympathisers of the azaadi sentiment? And is that ideological support enough to brand them as jihadis who must be charged with sedition?”
I tend to agree with some of the points Sardesai has raised but his saying “the speeches are primarily anti-government tirade’ is incorrect. They vowed to fulfil the objective of Afzal Guru, which was not anti-government but was an attack on the symbol of sovereignty of India. The JNU students at the meeting were in effect being against the country, the corpus, the idea of India. What should be done with them? Hold talks.
Says Sardesai, “Yes, I am anti-national because in a plural democracy I believe we must have a dialogue with Kashmiri separatists as we must with those in the North-East who seek autonomy. I will listen to student protestors in Srinagar or Imphal as I will to those in an FTII or a JNU.”
But then he say, “Prosecute all those who break the law, incite violence, resort to terror but don’t lose the capacity to engage with those who dissent. The right to dissent is as fundamental as the right to free speech: shouting down alternative views, be they on prime time TV or on the street, is not my idea of India.”Quite right! Those who were meeting at JNU on February 9, were not merely dissenting but inciting violence — jang jarir ahegi jab tak Kashmir ko Azadi nahihogi and jang jari rahegi Bharat ki barbadi tak.
Was this not inciting violence? Mr Sardesai knows enough Hindi to understand what they were saying. They were not just dissenting; they were saying their war will continue till India is destroyed.
India fails in commitment to nationalism
Sometime, I feel I have lost my direction of understanding to those who have no faith in nationalism though they project themselves to be global in their outlook and belief. Does this mean that they can condemn their place of birth and raise slogans for its destruction? Can they celebrate the terrorist who attacked the citadel of democracy, the Parliament and found guilty by the highest judicial court of country? I traveled to almost 90 countries and worked for 11 governments around the world, but everywhere I proudly carried a tag that I am an Indian.
Now, I find that to be anti-national, the talk of its destruction and eulogising terrorists are things that are virtually a haute coture. There are a dozen of journalists and writers, who ruthlessly hate Narendra Modi and find every opportunity to run him down. They shamelessly defend the conduct of such students and call it freedom of speech. I was shocked when a writer in a major English daily wrote an article questioning how can one love a nation? She said that you can love nature or human, but not a country, it is just a piece of land. It is amazing that her article was published in a major newspaper of the country.
After extensive research in India and abroad I wrote in my book ‘Eastern and Cross Cultural Management’ that India lacks nationalism. The fact is that we have hundreds of dissipating currents in the country in terms of castes, languages, dialects, religions and cults that we are unable to act as one nation and forge a strong unity in the country. The success of Japan owed mainly because to their nationalist approch. While Japan was under reconstruction after World War II, a Japanese delegation went to United States for obtaining technology. Americans asked what technology they would prefer and their answer was simple: “Whatever is on our national interest.” This is how from the holocaust, Japan revived its economy and strength. We wake up at the time of a war as one nation in the face of threat of the enemy, otherwise this sentiment always remains fragmented, owing allegiance to narrow interests. It goes to the credit of Mahatma Gandhi that he could invoke this commitment to national freedom. But the Partition and subsequent developments have left us again broken and confused.
What happened at Jawaharlal Nehru University is a shocking episode of national shame. The Constitution of India had a provision in Article 19(A) providing right for free expression, but it was amended in 1951 at the instance of Jawaharlal Nehru and Article 19(1)(A) was introduced against abuse of freedom of speech and expression. In 1961, the Supreme Court upheld it and provided for some conditions such as inciting for violence etc. What is freedom if it means violating all norms and creating such dissension within the society?
The debate does not end with JNU episode which is sub judice and we will soon know what the court has to say. Hoisting the national flag is also now being questioned. I was shocked to hear at a TV debate that a Jadhavpur University professor asserted that unfurling national flag is interference with the autonomy of the university as it has its own flag. Any country that has some respect for its national symbol will not brook to such assertion. I could never think that such a situation could arise but here is validation of my findings of research that India lacks commitment to nationalism. It needs a strong movement and an inspiring leadership to bring it.
By N K singh
(The writer is former Chairman, International Airports Authority of India.)
Why India is burning
Yes, India is burning. India is bleeding. The million dollar question is: Are we ourselves burning the nation or the task has been outsourced to some agency letting the fire by anti-nationalists to engulf the country. Let’s go back to 1947, when India was about to attain freedom from the British rule, after about two hundred years of slavery, the country was then enveloped in the fire of hatred. Consequently, the country got divided into two pieces. But peace could not be restored even after the creation of another country, because the issue of Kashmir was created with the help of external forces, which wanted to keep India in unrest and turmoil. Here, it is worth mentioning that only about one lakh and half Britishers were able to rule the country of 400 million people. This great wonder could happen only with the help of the traitors.
It looks as if India was waiting the recurrence of the similar wonder again, where the external forces, though not mightier than India in numbers in force and weaponry, may become a power to dictate in the coming time with the help of our own countrymen. Some may got trapped being foolish, while others for the lust of money or power or both. Some political parties are either not able to understand the far-reaching results of what they are doing today or are ignoring it for the hunger of power under the pretext of religion or communism.
It is not easy to keep the folks of Indian states together particularly because of the great diversity in the culture, habitats, living styles and languages. And the enemies understand this fact very well. It is a well-known fact that to finish a country, one has to liquidate its culture. The external forces are engaged in doing this for centuries, and some Indians fall victims to their conspiracy.
Today, we feel proud in speaking English rather than speaking Hindi and putting on western attire rather than practicing Indian customs. Criticism of our forefathers including our God has become a fashion. This was witnessed when a person moved a petition to the court to register a case against Lord Rama. Surprisingly, the court entertained it rather than coming heavily upon the petitioner for wasting the time and insulting the sentiments of Hindus.
Some people, having vested interest, in the name of freedom of speech, shouted the anti-national slogans. And Leftists and a section of politicians want them to go scot-free.
They do not feel the heat of the fire, which may take the shape of a wildfire and then it will be very difficult to douse it.
Let us take a brief account of the incidents occurred only after the change of the government at the Centre. Right from the day of the Modi government formation, the anti-national activities got accelerated suddenly to destabilise the government. These elements first started the criticism of the Prime Minister for keeping his wife away. Then they shouted from the rooftop that the PM is ruling the country from outside and spread rumours about his foreign visits. Then they criticised him for his endeavour to establish good relationship with neighboring countries. His programme, Make in India was sought to be made a laughing stock. Then came the big jolt in the name of intolerance. And now they are crying hoarse over the Rohith Vemula suicide and the JNU crisis.
The Leftists, a section of JNU faculty members and politicians have crossed all limits and are appealing to the government to release the students’ leaders and to withdraw cases against them. It is noteworthy that this is not a political issue but it concerns with the security and integrity of India. The fire was lit by the foreign forces, i.e. Pakistan, ISI and other enemies of India, which is being fuelled by anti-nationalist elements. Let’s see how long this goes on and whether the government has the wherewithal to root out this evil.
Dr. Vijay Khera
He then says, ‘Yes, I am anti-national because I don’t believe in double speak on issues of nationalism. If support for Afzal Guru is to be seen as ‘sedition’, then at least half the erstwhile Cabinet in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP is in coalition with the PDP, would be held guilty.
“After all, the PDP’s stated position has been to protest Afzal’s hanging as a miscarriage of justice. If the Kashmiri youth today see Afzal as someone who was framed, they should be challenged to a legal and political debate but can they be branded as ‘jihadists’ simply because their views are repugnant to the rest of the country?”
True, but there is a difference. PDP has not vowed to avenge by fighting to achieve what the objective of Afzal Guru was, which Sardesai knows. BJP seeking alliance with PDP thus distinguish between Modi and India.
I suppose Sardesai was quite delighted to have confessed that he was anti-national because he must have thought that after self denouement people will not doubt his objectives when he sided with ‘followers’ of Afzal. HE would find it easier to convince people of his viewpoints and surely his assessments.
But then he made the basic mistake of not distinguishing the present government and India. He believed everyone would tut-tut how can you call yourself anti-national. He did not count the gentleman at Delhi Gymkhana Club who wanted to have him lynched. That of course was over-reaction, possibly the gentleman had one too many.
But to convince people of his point of which was that it would have been better to talk with the students who were shouting slogans against India (which he might think is covered by Freedom of Speech) then arrest them and charge them under serious crimes like sedition.
Vivek Agnihotri, who has written an open letter to Sardesai makes the same point. To Sardesai who wrote “I am anti-national because I don’t believe in doublespeak on issues of nationalism. If support for Afzal Guru is to be seen as ‘sedition’, then at least half the erstwhile Cabinet in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP is in coalition with the PDP, would be held guilty.”
Vivek countered, “I absolutely agree with your logic. And by that logic, and no doublespeak, you must also hold Arvind Kejriwal guilty for having partnered with Congress and Congress for partnering with Owaisi and Nitish for partnering with Lalu. Even you must be held guilty for partnering with corrupt and crony capitalist Ambani and your wife for partnering with your unethical enemy group: the Times of India.
“What you have failed to understand is that iss hamam mein sab nange nahin hai, yeh nangon ka hamam hai. You are one of them.
And then Sardesai said, ‘If the Kashmiri youth today see Afzal as someone who was framed, they should be challenged to a legal and political debate but can they be branded as ‘jihadists’ simply because their views are repugnant to the rest of the country?”
Vivek pointed out his mistake. “You are again confusing issues. It’s not about Afzal. It’s about India. It’s all about ‘India go back’. India ki barbadi ‘ India tere tukde honge. It’s about that. Afzal, sedition law, Lawyers’ hooliganism etc are games journalists like you play to shift focus, confuse issues and keep the ‘ecosystem’ protected.
It is about terrorism. It is about alleged terror links of some students. It is about supporting terror groups. It is about terror funding. It is about threat to India’s sovereignty. That’s why people are concerned. Leave sedition laws for the court. You tell us where do you stand? Without any buts! If you are seen protecting the rights of these allegedly terror-linked students, or seen spinning this news and covering them up, you won’t have to put any hashtag, because soon you will become a hashtag yourself – of all anti-nationals.
Then Sardesai says “I am anti-national because while I am a proud Hindu who wakes up to the Gayatri mantra, I also like a well done beef steak, which, according to BJP minister Mukhtar Naqvi, is a treasonous act, enough to pack me off to Pakistan. I celebrate the rich diversity of my country through food: Korma on Eid, pork sorpotel with my Catholic neighbours in Goa during Christmas and shrikhand during Diwali is my preferred diet. The right to food of my choice is again a freedom which I cherish and am unwilling to cede.”
To which Vivek said, “Unfortunately, your understanding and definition of Hinduism is limited to Gayatri Mantra, beef steak and shrikhand. The day you will understand Hinduism you will regret that you had to waste all your productive life to learn secularism, tolerance, inclusiveness, nationalism etc. when all this wisdom was available in your grandfather’s diaries…” Barkha Dutt also worte an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on JNU crises.
The point that comes out is that nationalism is something whichwe don’t have to prove by sitting in an examination. We don’t wear it on our sleeves. India is full of diversity and communities of various faiths are here. But so far during four offensives against our country, everyone rose as Indians.
A miniscule number was of course not amongst the majority. I remember when I had gone for lunch at a friend’s house in the capital city of an eastern State, when the 1965 war was entering last stages.
After we had finished we were sitting in the balcony enjoying the sun when the friend’s servant came panting. He told my friend, Gazab ho gaya, Hindustani fauzi chogil nahar ko paar kar Lahore ki taraf badh rahi hain. Lahore pe kabza ho gaya to badhi sharam ki baat hogi. His eyes were full of tears.
If the elements of the JNU meet are allowed to continue poisoning thinking of other young, we may find a rather dangerous number of fifth columnists Dutts, Sardesais and their tribe can go on with their criticism-laced campaign, Yechuris and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma may go on disrupting Rajya Sabha and Rahulji may go on avoiding speaking in the House, because he has been asked, whether according to him, Afzal Guru is a terrorist or a Shaheed and possibly he does not want to hurt Guru’s soul nor dare risk wrath of the country. So silence is golden.
The left, intellectuals and 400 dons and students keep barking that in a subtle way Emergency has been brought back, but, since the Government is responsible for our and the country’s security it must do everything to keep India safe.
And let’s not forget the 400 Dons and students who have written saying they are with the JNU. A VC has also advised the JNU VC not to succumb to pressure. To all these gentlemen we ask only one question: Will dons and students of Harvard hold martyrdom day for Osama Bin Laden and censure the US for ‘murder. Anyway it would be nice if they stop being judgemental from 12000 kms away.
The Modi government is in power, it is responsible for India’s security. But it has to deal with the danger if any,within Legal frame and constitution. It means it has to keep in mind the Right for Free Speech.
By Vijay dutt