Post Pulwama, the social narrative in the country has changed. Instead of vision, policies and programmes, chest thumping jingoism has now become the order of the day. People are making all out efforts to establish their credential as patriots. All types of language are being used about a neighbouring country. A particular community is being targeted. As it is election time in the country, the political parties have also joined the fray. All parties these days are busy expressing solidarity with the security forces rather than presenting a vision to take India forward. Clearly, this is not a good sign. This neo nationalism will do more harm than good to our nation.
As a country India may be old, but nationalism in India is a relatively new concept. India as a nation took the present shape during the British rule. It was the ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi who instilled the concept of nationalism in the minds of the people to fight against the British. It goes in Gandhi’s favour that he did not indulge in any popular gimmicks to preach nationalism. Before giving the final call to oust the British, Gandhi had to wait for many years as he realised that till everyone is driven by nationalism, struggle against the British would not succeed . Moreover, he relied on non-violence to achieve his goal. The great man was fully aware that violence would only breed hooliganism, not true patriotism.
But what are we watching now? In the name of patriotism, sons and daughters of Mother India are being harassed, thrashed and forced to live amidst a sense of fear. The moment Pulwama happened, Kashmiri students all over the country were attacked by hooligans. The situation became so bad that the Supreme Court had to intervene and instruct both the Central and state governments to ensure security of the Kashmiri people residing in the mainland. To a North-Easterner, there is no need to explain the outcome of such a situation. The neo nationalists did not realise that their acts will only help to grow a sense of alienation. They have forgotten the fact India is not limited to a particular region. It has many regions with different cultures, languages and traditions. To make India stronger, effort should always be made to bring all regions of India closer so that a North-Easterner or a Kashmiri can feel equally at home while staying in Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh.
Inclusiveness which is regarded as the strength of India is being attacked by these neo nationalists. It is high time to realise that the extent of damage being done to the nation. If we are really interested in building a new India, it should be done by taking everyone in confidence. Pulwama, Pathankot or Uri hurts us all. We are powerful enough to combat the forces acting against mankind. We are all together in this fight. There may be differences of opinions. But that doesn’t mean we are not united against terrorism. As a matter of fact, now the entire world has realised that terrorism has the potential to destroy the world. This is why 11 years after the Mumbai terror attack; China has termed it ‘notorious.’ Thus, it is not the time to create any divisions amongst Indians. If we continue to do so, our downfall is eminent. Patriotism is a potent weapon. We have to use it carefully.