On December 3, social media suddenly woke to a post shared by Shashi Tharoor on his official Facebook page. It was someone’s views on nationalism following the recent decision by the Supreme Court on the issue of the national anthem.
Tharoor, a Congress politician, perhaps found in the post a sentiment he (and his party) echoes. Written by one Deepak Rana, this is the post:
Tharoor shared it on his timeline on December 2. It went viral and had around 15K likes at the time of writing. There were 444 comments on the post Tharoor shared – a mix of supportive and disapproving.
The dominant ‘intellectual’ class found the post to their taste. It satiated their thirst of criticising everything the other side did. What they chose to overlook was logic.
They failed to see that the seemingly emotional analogy of the post was nothing but fallacy. And this is why everything in the post is wrong:
“I grew up in an India that was much different.”
This appears to convey that India has become worse. The statement is true, but for a different reason. Unlike today, no one in India shouted “Bharat Tere Tukre Honge” from campuses of universities. Student politics was always there but the objective was to fight for the rights of students, not separatists or radical Islamists. Opposition was always there but they supported the Centre on matters of national security, not play vote bank politics. (India would not have been able to liberate Bangladesh if they had an Opposition of the kind we have today.) India has become different not because of a rise of nationalistic sentiments but because of a sudden rise in sentiments that overtly or covertly supports calls for its disintegration.
“I stood up for national anthem, because I found it cool, not because I had to.”
Students in schools and colleges are asked to stand for the national anthem. It is not to prove their patriotism but to show respect to the anthem. And that is the bottomline. It is a sad reflection on our society where people find it ‘uncool’ to stand for 52 seconds for the national anthem. In a country where indiscipline is rife, those are, sadly, the only seconds that make us look like a disciplined country.
“When I visited a temple, I questioned priests about the idea of god and they did not mind it.”
No one minds it even now. Those who mind are not priests, they are politicians. You can discuss and debate the logic of the Bhagwad Gita at the ISKCON temple. No one – shastras or priests – prevents a Hindu from criticising Bhagwan. Yes, some movies and books critical of Hinduism have faced the ire but that ire was political and not religious. And in spite of the outrage, no writer, painter or filmmaker has been physically hurt by anyone. Everyone these days finds one or the other flaw in Hinduism and Hindu festivals alone. It is the beauty of India’s culture that even such criticisms are entertained and debated. Can any Pakistani try to question the idea of God in Pakistan?
“When I met a political party worker, I told him that his leader was stupid and he laughed.”
Any political party worker would laugh at a stupid leader, even if the leader is from his own party, BEHIND the leader’s back. This happens even now.
“When I supported Australian cricket, because of Steve Waugh, no one objected.”
Even at the time of Ricky Ponting, there were Indians who supported team Australia. No one objected. No one objects if an Indian finds Roger Federer better than Leander Paes, or Serena Williams better than Sania Mirza. The point is that Indians still respect the better player or the better team. As of now, Indian players, at least in cricket, are dominating the world with their aggression. It is this aggression that any sports lover is attracted to. Ponting, Waugh and the Australian team members under their command had the aggression that made them greats. This is why even die-hard fans of Sachin Tendulkar respect them to date.
“I was surrounded with soldiers and military officers, yet, none of them ever talked about nationalism and anti-nationalism.”
Military officers still do not talk about nationalism. They don’t have to. It is obvious that when someone risks his or her life in defending the country, they have nationalism running in their veins. What is, however, DESPICABLE is playing politics with the armed forces. What is HUMILIATING is when a state gives five times the compensation to a Haj accident victim than it gives to the family of a martyr. What is DISGRACEFUL is when some enlightened media persons write about the “pain” and “suffering” of a family of a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist but has no time to visit the village of a soldier who attained martyrdom fighting terrorists. What is SHOCKING is when professors justify Kashmiri separatism and self-proclaimed guardians of feminism, liberalism and secularism keep mum on the increasing radicalism in some of India’s most literate states.
“It’s funny, just a decade or two, and how quickly we have moved backwards.”
This statement is either false or an oxymoron depending on individual political views and ideology. Firstly, some would say that India has not “moved backwards” but forwards because it is now one of the world’s fastest growing economy and is a superpower in the making. And protesting against those who call for the disintegration of the country or criticising ‘seculars’ who turn a blind eye to radicalism is not moving backwards. Secondly, the “decade or two” were not ruled by the current government, if that is what the writer and anyone who shared the post meant. Now, if one still believes that India has moved backwards economically, politically or socially then it is because of the party that ruled for the most part. And even Mr. Tharoor knows which party it was!
Nothing in India has changed. The country still offers space for all ideologies as long as they do not go against the Constitution. There is nothing wrong if a court wants the rule of law to be above the rules of religions or individual ideologies, especially when it comes to the national anthem and the flag. It is surprising that someone so well-read and intellectually gifted as Mr. Tharoor failed to note the flaws in the post.