New Breed Of Indian Nationalism

Written by Malvika Singh | Updated: Jan 25 2003, 05:30am hrs
And, the fog continues to disrupt life in Delhi. But we now have a new and rather crazy, thoughtless disruption...rehearsals for the Republic Day parade. For one full week, commuters going to work, and work is the key word, are compelled to sit for hours in traffic jams because our army has to practice walking down a boulevard! All this is at our expense and the irony is that we who pay for it are also paying the price. There is no one around who can denounce this lunacy and make sure that such disruptions do not happen. If the government feels that clogging a city is in national interest, maybe it should declare a national holiday in the Capital for one week! Kill productivity, discourage the work ethic and get everyone to take to their beds, all in honour of a march past. Nowhere in the world does this kind of madness happen.

It is an eye-opener to see how the owners of fancy cars operate on the roads. They break every rule, break every lane and wreak havoc. This is the well-to-do educated middle class, the privileged. God help us if such people are in the drivers seat to take India forward. They slide about the roads finding any and every available space, adhering to no norms, like sludge on the streets. The men at the wheel are fake in their outward appearance, their mindset giving them away. One hardly sees a woman behaving in this cavalier fashion. If only male children were brought up with discipline by their parents, India would be a humane place.

Parents in this country pamper the male child, the pappus of Bharat, allowing them to indulge in activities that are unacceptable in a civilised environment. When they become adults, they know no better. They remain louts. Small wonder rape, hooliganism, cheap behaviour is rampant, not occasional. One can recognise that dreadful upbringing in the macho swagger and action, or lack of it, in the men who people all walks of life. It is the women who carry the dignity of India. Even in politics!

The signal has gone out that those who run the Academies, Sangeet Natak and Lalit Kala, are on their way out to be replaced by people who believe in perpetuating Hindu nationalism. It would be interesting to understand what this means rather than have an amorphous phrase thrown around when determining who should head which institution. Surely, such choices should be made on knowledge, merit and non-partisan intellectual acumen, not on arbitrary judgments Heaven knows what motivates those in power to make wild statements that will have long-term repercussions.

Where are the legitimate bodies that should be establishing the much cherished freedoms we had in this country, the freedom of thought and speech Governments must divest their hold over institutions and places of learning. They must confine themselves to putting in place the infrastructure of dignified life. By tinkering with what is not of their concern, particularly within the democratic framework, they are doing irreparable damage to the distinct strength of India, its plurality and diversity. This breed of nationalism will not bind us but balkanise us.

The attitude to faith too is undergoing a strange metamorphosis. Recently our senior national leadership stated with pleasure that, to see religious and political leaders on the same platform was a welcome change from the past, a past where this meshing of the two strands was forcefully discouraged. Disengagement of the two had nothing to do with being non-believers, it had to do with believing staunchly that politics had to be separated from faith. I, for one, was brought up on the ethic that religion was ones private anchor, ones personal centre. The rest was ones outer life, determined by the ethic of ones centre. It is this blurring of lines that has triggered the civil brutalities inflicted on our people.

The private domain is sacrosanct and we should ensure its protection. In the public domain we are all accountable to each other. Ideally, in this modern world, we should endorse this segregation. Lets hope the suns rays break through the heavy fog that has enveloped us.