The Big M

Indians must thank Modi sarkar and Hindutva for sedition

By being as anti-freedom as British Raj, they have forced the Indian to speak up and be counted.

 |  The Big M  |  3-minute read |   29-02-2016
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Almost everything has an upside. Looking at the state of India and its politics, one would not think so - and yet there is.

Since the Modi government was elected, the voices of the saffron brigade have become louder. And although these mutterings have been around for a long time, things are different this time. Using the political clout that comes with being elected representatives of India, they are attempting to fuse their ideology with the definitions of nationhood and patriotism. And it is precisely this that has triggered a tumultuous, but extremely positive turn of events.

Indians are generally not vociferous nationalists, but "freedom" is central to our DNA. Whether this is a genuine notion or not is debatable, but the idea of democracy and its relationship with freedom defines India for its citizens.

This may be because India, as we know it today, was born from a struggle for freedom and this is embedded in our national subconscious. We pride ourselves in the fact that this painful birth produced a country that is a melange of religions and  ethnicities. There is a celebration of contradictions and the lack of uniformity even though there lurks the feeling that perhaps this grouping is somewhat forced and born without debate.

For the best part of seven decades of free India, these notions have been predominant till a party with a blatant agenda came along. As part of their efforts to convince people of their brand of patriotism, they have become barefaced, and of late, resorted to being openly violent.

However, the pleasant outcome of all of this is the counter surge.

For the last ten years, the people of this nation were undecided - sitting on the fence.  First there was the blanket of a new and improved economy that they could use to sheath themselves with.

With intellectuals, the middle class and the youth, a kind of ambivalence prevailed. Many looked away on the pretext of the possibilities that came with an improved economy, of change from dynastic politics and a new corruption free-India.

The government came to power and in a great hurry started to restructure and reconfigure, and yet the protests were confined only to educational institutions and political spheres.  

Emboldened by the lack of reaction, they went too far.

Arresting Kanhaiya Kumar and making him the poster boy for anti-nationalism and sedition is akin to the British Raj and its treatment of the freedom fighters of the day. The violence meted out to him makes the analogy clearer.

By repeatedly using terms like anti-nationalism and patriotism, they have put every Indian on the dock. Now we are all being forced to answer these questions - does Hindu nationalism equal nationalism? Does patriotism mean no one can have an opinion contrary to the government's standpoint? Is education just a way to indoctrinate? Is debate dead? And finally - did we wage battles for freedom against the British to finally be prosecuted by their laws and nearly for the same reasons?

And for this we must thank the Hindu Right wing. By being so anti-freedom and in a sense propagating the same mindset as colonial powers, they have called upon the people of the country to once again define what freedom means to them and to stand up and be counted.

The wave is not just political - it is social, and it is a call for updating values and thought processes, the reweaving of a social fabric that includes an equitable society and progressive mindsets.

Writer

Madhureeta Anand Madhureeta Anand @madhureetaa

Film Director. Director of Kajarya. Founder of the Digital Film Festival - New Delhi, occassional writer, a mom and lover of life.

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