Why Sangh Parivar is the real anti-national

Nationalism is both more widespread and all-embracing than a mere slogan like 'Bharat Mata ki jai'.

 |  4-minute read |   27-03-2016
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The Sangh Parivar is persisting with its nationalism campaign. Ironic for an organisation which itself stayed out of the freedom struggle between 1925-1947. Its chief mascot is VD "Veer" Savarkar, who was never a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) but was with the Hindu Mahasabha.

He too succumbed to pressure, including harsh conditions in the Andaman jail. He wrote to the British authorities seeking clemency, assuring them that the Indian youth would rally around him to support the British. Contrast this with Bhagat Singh who strongly reprimanded his father for trying to build a defence for his son.

He insisted that he had no defence, knowing that the path he and his comrades had chosen was a certain route to the gallows. But every time the Sangh Parivar has been in power in states or the Centre, it has tried to rewrite history to conceal its weak nationalism in the first half of the last century.

Also read: Sanghis bringing burre din for Bharat Mata with bogus anti-national charges

What is the real story? The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is more short of money than before. Farmers continue to commit suicides in BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra. In BJP-ruled Goa, the coconut tree is no longer described as a tree so that developers can cut them down while building, without hindrance.

nationalism_032716040316.jpg Can nationalism be reduced to a slogan?

What happened to the billions of dollars in black money that Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to bring back from abroad? When noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani asked the Modi government to send a brief letter asking for the return of black money from a European country which was willing to facilitate this, there was no response. In sheer disgust, Jethmalani resigned from the BJP. Yet another broken promise.

The Budget had been a disappointment for the middle class. For the first time in years, it was announced that provident fund was going to be taxed, though the government decided to roll back tax on EPF withdrawals after public outcry.

Also read: Desh bhakti nationalism will make us a Pakistan

The price of diesel has been increased by Rs 1.47 per litre though fuel prices have fallen worldwide. This will be inflationary as freight charges will increase, leading to a higher consumer price index.

So introducing the nationalism discourse is necessary for the BJP's electoral performance in the coming state elections.

The minority communities are a minority of the electorate. But a slogan like "Bharat Mata ki jai" is being used as a mandatory one, as a litmus test of the nationalism of a person, party or community.

But no slogan is laid down in the fundamental duties enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution only provides for a national flag and a national anthem. There is no mention of any national slogan. There were slogans of the freedom struggle, used by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and others, like "Jai Hind". Bhagat Singh used the slogan "Inquilad Zindabad". In all Army regiments, there is a wide variety of slogans that have existed for a long time, even before Independence.

Also read: JNU row lays bare the ugly truth of ultra-nationalism

But can nationalism be reduced to a slogan? Nationalism is both more widespread and all-embracing than that. "Bharat Mata ki jai", or "Jai Hind" don't tell us much about the content of Indian nationalism. Does distorting Indian history from ancient to modern, for school and college texts, constitute nationalism? Of course not.

Distorting history is anti-national as it spreads an archaic and unscientific understanding of history. The Sangh Parivar has done this for decades and the National Council of Educational Research And Training (NCERT), Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and other government bodies are busy creating mythological histories, which have little or nothing to do with real history.

The Sangh Parivar's claims of the invention of plastic surgery and the origin of mathematics in ancient India are absurd and untenable. This is real anti-national propaganda. There is no dearth of such claims, including a plane produced 7,000 years ago.

This distorted and fabricated nationalism is an enemy of real nationalism, an enemy of real humanities, social sciences and sciences.

Politicians and parties that stoop to such levels purely for electoral reasons are the real anti-nationals. That is why they attack universities like the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Under the rule of Union human resources development minister, Smriti Irani, HCU vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile re-entered the university though there were charges against him, and called in the police to brutalise the students and even sections of the faculty.

The JNU is the number one university according to the National Academic Accredition Council (NAAC). The HCU is also highly regarded. But politicians should realise that universities, institutes and colleges are knowledge banks collating valuable knowledge for India's future development, which is invaluable. Those who attack these universities and institutions of higher learning which produce knowledge and provide education to relatively poor students including those from the backward classes, are elitist and truly anti-national.

Writer

Kamal Mitra Chenoy Kamal Mitra Chenoy @kamaichenoy

The writer is an academic and activist.

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