War of nationalism

Part one

From the time of Indian independence the discourse over ‘what it means to be a patriot, what is the meaning of true nationalism, the fight for national identity has been discussed over and over again. A number of great thinkers have contributed to this discourse and to its related material. This essay is my humble attempt to decode what really matters in the debate on nationalism, in words of those, who have fought for the independence of India and warned us from losing it again. Before going ahead ,may I inform the reader that this is not going to be a stagnant essay, but one of many coming in a series of essays in future on the same topic. I have mostly confined myself with Dr. Ambedkar and Tagore’s commentary on nationalism in this essay.  

                  While nationalism is not a new matter in Indian politics, as each party and ideology has used the subject for political influence or manipulation. In my previous article ‘Nationalism used for party interest’ I have commented on how political parties are using nationalism, which is a sacred matter for many Indian. If you have indulged with mainstream media, there are two words synonymously used, one is nationalist and the other is anti-national. In most case, media used the latter with great amount of generalization and enmity. Everyone who disagreed with your prescription of nationalism is a naxal, maoist or anti-national and in extreme measure, a terrorist. In such ethos what is the youth of India supposed to think regarding the above labeling, one either stay quiet, stay away from any controversy and be in everyone’s good books. The other option is to stand up and voice your decent, fight for the cause one may believe in, but in doing so risk ones reputation, career and even life.

                The most common method used by government is to impose sedition to silence any critics of the establishment, be it in the elected government or other powerful ideological influencers. Anyhow, there is another group of youngsters other than the previously mentioned are the trolls, the ones who will do anything to bring you down mostly digitally. If one engages with them on a well meaning debate, there is the tendency to dominate the matter through sheer trolling, majoritarianism or use a ‘scapegoat’. Hardly anyone is able to hold a good argument in matters of nationalism or patriotism. As youth we are always high on energy without knowing what we mean, when we want to say, are we nationalist or a patriot. So let’s try to do that, lets discuss and disagree from each other on what is the meaning of being a patriot, but before that we must understand what is the meaning of nation. 

‘’Before I go any future may I inform the reader parts of the essay has Dr.Ambedkar and Tagore’s writing, I have marked their work different from my writing.’’

-What is a nation?

            The normal idea of a nation we have is, of a legal boundary, a territory, a state and its machinery used to govern its people or legal citizens, upholding certain cultures and norms, who communicate in one or few similar languages. I wish it would have been this simple to define any nation, unfortunately it’s not. We must look into history of nations and monarchy to category what we mean by any a nation.While nation is always the more important subject of discussion, the concept of state is also important.  What is a state and is it only meant to govern, and who is governing us. In the past, religious institutions were consider as the most important matter when it can to moral formation of any society. Religious heads would tell people how they are meant to live and what to do with their lives. The morality and legality were both influenced by religion. With changing times, kings started to govern its citizens more, but under religious guidance, thus most kingdoms and monarchies history cannot be discussed without the influence of its priesthood. Who governs us? Is a great matter of concern in any nation.

The policy of ‘Self-governed’, initially in Europe, was very aliened to the ‘idea of nation’, and nation was interpreted as ‘people’ came up quite late. Now one must keep in mind that most European nation in 1600s and head of the state were all monarchial, though all had some concept of democracy or rule of people There were many sections still believing in the ways of monarchical principle given by god. The British crown and monarchy is an example of progressive change in the monarchal influence with democratic republic. The identity crisis which we see today in India was non-existent, least not in the masses as the idea of nation and its people was very clear.

While ethnicity and language can be part of national idea, it is not by any accounts a limiting factor.

After independence we also see such monarchical inclination even today. But in the form of religious doctrine, an existence of it is also the perverted idea of ‘Akhand Bharat’, which I request my readers to have patience before they start calling me names. There is constant demands from blind followers of certain intellectual and other groups who again and again demanded the implementation of Akhand Bharat, which partly means taking up land from Afghanistan to Myanmar and south eastwards wards to Philippines .This desire I can trace back to rightist thinking of the American and Europeans rulers who in the beginning fought for the idea of freedom. Then take away everyone else’s independence through conflict with the excuse of need for better resources.

 This way Indian constitution was framed, and it is my belief that this was desired to be avoided by our fore-fathers. Now some supremacist also claim some wrongs of the constitution must be made right. 

The kind of nationalism we are propagating right now is the one which claims rights of nation, which is bigger than rights of individual, which may install sound good but is followed by abusing and exploiting the individual. People are generally fine when their rights are protected, while others exploited in the name of nation, but develop a problem only when the same exploitation happens to them. Such situation or doctrine entertains the majoritarian view, as the question remains what is the nation? And are we talking about the people here or the few in power with monarchical style rule.

-Dr. Ambedkar and his understanding of people’s nationalism.

While discussing nationhood or nationalism many tend to only focus on militaristic leaders or political analyst and try to theorize the value of nationalism in today’s political discourse. But the one name which should be included in all Indian political discourse is Dr B.R.Ambedkar for the simple fact, that today we need his scholarly understanding on a variety of subject be it politics or science, infrastructural development, social justice etc. On nationalism too, Dr.Ambedkar have placed a very balanced and well calculated description of what nationalism should be at all times concerned with its people well being and prosperity through safeguarding their rights and investing in their social, political and economical development and not merely on symbolic value.

An important statement made by Dr.Ambedkar in parliament was “India was independent before, but now will India maintain its independence. It lost its freedom due to infidelity of its own, will we consider creed above nation or below’’.  (The following extract is taken from ‘Dr.Ambedkar’s idea of nationalism’ by Rashmin C Bhatt’s writing )

The Above statement was made right after giving India its constitution, why does Dr Ambedkar try to warn us regarding maintaining Indian independence. ‘I would like to consider Dr. Ambedkar’s work which was always more concerned with human wellbeing, be it Indian or foreign all his work was humanitarian in nature, which was motivated by his lifelong experience as a lower caste, ‘Mahar’. Even in adulthood he had to face discrimination due to his caste status. To Ambedkar freedom of a nation was as important as freedom to all of its social classes, if one class ruled over the other that cannot be considered as true freedom, which would even weaken Indian independence. Through his work he was accused by his contemporary that he cared more for his career and communities rights only and not for the greater right of freedom for India, as he hardly participated in much of the national movement. Though one must understand the social situation in which Dr .Ambedkar was working in and his experience was well enough to concise him that even if India would gain freedom from the British rule it would not be free of its caste based social political system, which does not allow most of its citizens the right to life with dignity and liberty. Thus he did everything possible to make Indians ready for a free nation be it to develop schools and colleges or even draft the Constitution of India’.

What is nationalism according to Dr. Ambedkar, for him it is an ideology based on devotion to love one’s own country by birth or choice. Nationalism is a complex sense of attitude in favor of certain actions for establishing or achieving some sort of political sovereignty. Right use of nationalism is much important for social and political unity. But the question always remains who will lay down the bases for nationalist unity and what will it be based on, language, race, religion, cultural practices or the worst caste.

The usual understanding of a nation is its flag, anthem, history (mostly based on warfare or kingdoms) or some kind of superiority of culture. The point raised by Dr.Ambedkar is, for all classes feel a sense of unity, must strive for the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity, not merely by claims but by establishing institutions based on such values and safeguard by constitution and judiciary. The people must feel that they all have equal share in the national wealth, powers and opportunities, they not be deprived of any social benefits due to any cultural or other differences. Such a society would be ideal in Dr.Ambedkar’s say as it works toward uniting and national identity comprises all, into nationhood or national feeling of consciousness.

Ambedkar’s understanding of a nation and its people was very clear and through, welfare of all living people will make us into a true free liberal society.

-What is nationalism and patriotism? What’s the difference?

 Our general understanding of nationalism is quite simple, people do not like to complicate the matter too much, one must remember that most people do not have the time nor the energy to indulge in daily discussion on the topic. Many want to perform only good deeds which are confirmed by the law of the land and cultural accepted, and avoid any misdeed social or legal crime, which may harm one’s nation. Nationalism and patriotism is much different than what most think.

Patriotism can be characterized as great love and passion for one’s nation or believe and a deep desire to protect it and also expand within ones boundaries and assimilate your values with other cultures, even stop any bad practices within one’s believes if found through discussion, while nationalism may mean, love for one’s nation and its values be it good or bad, absolute faith in one’s tradition and institution, sense of aggression towards other nations and believes if it bears to threaten my nationalism and nation. To elaborate more on nationalism I started to read on Tagore in his poetic words, in the period of independence he had elaborated his thoughts on nationalism and its dangers in his lectures, and later written into essays.

-Rabindranath Tagore’s understanding of nationalism and its ill effects.

Contradictory to Ambedkar’s scientific and systematic explanation on nationalism, Tagore had a much more artistic and complex explanation of nation, which I still struggle to describe in words. He describes India more as a‘living organism made up of races, languages with spiritual nature of man’. He dislikes the idea of nation; he says that the ‘western idea of nation makes man into soulless cold creature’. For him India is not a nation but a continuous process of creation of various races contributing to the spirit of India and now we are trying to convert this into a nation, ‘a nation is made up of political and commercial greed’. He appreciates the British as a race of people but not their imperialism nor their nationalism which makes man slave to another man.

While reading Tagore one may consider that, he is in favor of the British as he has been accused of creating ‘Jana Gana’ in tribute to King George the 5th. While this has been refuted by many, you can also read on this in my article ‘Jana Gana Mana’. Tagore is clean on his views on nationalism and also asserts why we need humanism more than nationalism in today’s world. He explains what is a nation and how it effects humanity as a whole, how dangerous is it for the Indian soul in the following para. (The following extract is from Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘essays on Nationalism’)

‘I am not against one nation in particular, but against the general idea of all nations’. What is the Nation?

‘It is the aspect of a whole people as an organized power. This organization incessantly keeps up the insistence of the population on becoming strong and efficient. But this strenuous effort after strength and efficiency drains man’s energy from his higher nature where he is self-sacrificing and creative’. 

For thereby man’s power of sacrifice is diverted from his ultimate object, which is moral, to the maintenance of this organization, which is mechanical. Yet in this he feels all the satisfaction of moral exaltation and therefore becomes supremely dangerous to humanity. He feels relieved of the urging of his conscience when he can transfer his responsibility to this machine which is the creation of his intellect and not of his complete moral personality. By this device the people who loves freedom perpetuates slavery in a large portion of the world with the comfortable feeling of pride of having done its duty; men who are naturally just can be cruelly unjust both in their act and their thought, accompanied by a feeling that they are helping the world in receiving its deserts; men who are honest can blindly go on robbing others of their human rights for self-aggrandizement, all the while abusing the deprived for not deserving better treatment. We have seen in our everyday life even small organizations of business and profession produce callousness of feeling in men who are not naturally bad, and we can well imagine what a moral havoc it is causing in a world where whole peoples are furiously organizing themselves for gaining wealth and power.

‘Nationalism is a great menace’. It is the particular thing which for years has been at the bottom of India’s troubles. And in as much as we have been ruled and dominated by a nation that is strictly political in its attitude, we have tried to develop within ourselves, despite our inheritance from the past, a belief in our eventual political destiny.

Tagore’s understanding of nationalism consist of a political organization motivated through politics and the need to maintain such an organization it has to expand its territories in doing so steal others land, resources and life. The one challenge with Tagore’s explanation is, one may consider his argument merely philosophical and lacks scientific temper and realistic expectations. Though I will argue his work no matter how poetic and philosophical in nature, is very important to maintain humanism in our beliefs and practices through statehood.

              What we can learn from Dr.Ambedkar and Rabindranath Tagore’s explanation on nationalism is that without humanism being at the core of one’s nationalist identity, we are only preparing to exploit our fellow countrymen and women, on the basis of race, language, caste, religion and ideology. Consistence in debate and discussion on variety of ideas among people is a must in a democracy.

Nitish Chavan

Jai hind, Jai Bharat

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Forget justice for Sushant, we are unable to give him peace .

It’s about 5 months now for Sushant Singh’s deaths. Was it suicide or murder? That was the original talking point, which has now traveled a long way from nepotism to murder, murder to money laundering, to black magic, to influencing him under drugs. All sorts of theories have been put-forward. Unfortunately he died ones, but people killed him hundred times
Can it be justified to threaten any women or man in the name of justice for the dead, on the bases of circumstantial evidence or hersay? The media has surrender all ethical standards of professional courtesy, scrutiny or give the accused the benefit of doubt. Rather, the media has gone out for witch-hunt
While reading previous sentence you may have believed that my support is for Rhea, I’ll tell you what this case is simply a study of how to manipulate the people for politics. For many, its tea time gossip, for some, a matter of reginal pride and for others a subject of big egos.
The public is dangerously polarised, some are fighting for justice, the same way they fought for Aarushi Talwar or Jessica Lal. And others are even fighting for the unspoken victims who were ignored by media.

People saw Sushant’s case in the same light of the powerful elite crashing the powerless and innocent. The only major difference this time was, we are witnessing a global lockdown in which we have nothing else to do than to watch TV and allow it to manipulate us in thinking and reacting to what is important and what’s not in our control.
The reality is, once people are bored and depressed they want something to clinched upon and are frustrated to listen the stories of oppressed, now they want to fight back even at the cost of becoming the oppressor.

The typical reaction by a section of people is why the media is not paying attention to asking ‘why are the famers and students committing suicide? Why don’t we demand the central government to check on the downfall of the GDP? which has been falling for the last 2 years much before Corona pandemic. This is a lobby of people who question only when they don’t have anything else to argue on, did we ever cared enough for these issue before, that we are asking the media to care about it now.

We, who question about farmers and students death are the same type of people who ask for justice in SSR’s case only up to the point of sensation.
Plus, why should any media network listen to you? What are you ?who are you ? if you don’t want to watch the news on SSR then change the channel or watch a movie, don’t tell the ‘haves’ what to do with their news channel’s and social media accounts. I mean it’s the most practical thing to go for and watch something else, we got other channels. You can literally buy an 8000-10,000rs smartphone with 300rs net-pack and browse through many free YouTube channels and web-portal for news and entertainment. Why debate who’s the real journalist Ravish or Arnab and what has these media house done to our society, be it ‘The wire’ or ‘OpIndia’. You have the right to chose or not to, don’t blame, just act.

The reality is we don’t give a damn for farmers, students and others until our problems are the same as theirs, till then… ‘Sub change se’. The other thing to remember is the ‘backfire effect’ if we tell others that their beliefs are not true, and the other side is correct. Remember they give no damn to your facts. They have a belief which is inclined to their ideology and faith, why should one think other’s will abandon it, and follow your facts? You may Google search the term ‘backfire effect’ and even ‘confirmation bias.

Even my view on the subject has changed from ‘why don’t we focus on important issue’ to, why don’t I just turn the TV off and read something good. Why blame others for incompetence.

Anyways the republic of this country has been told to follow news on Sushant, Rhea and now Kangana. To distract us from common man’s problems. And not question the suicide by farmers and students which has reached to more than 300 according to some news reports while some even say it is up-to 600. Better to divert people’s attention to one death, which will only cause one government to fall and other to rise, some celebrities are using the situation to come back to attention while others are again fearing being labelled as anti-national if they raise a question. It’s not even important for the authorities to control people anymore, they themselves will call each other names.

With all this happening in the background, do we really care about justice for Sushant or is he just a past time now? Predominantly by media, let’s check.

Let us see the kind of media trail was going on, I am not against media trail as it has in the past help bring people to justice. ‘we the people’ have openly supported media trail it is even believed if media did not do it, everyone would have forgotten about Jessica in 1999 and 2012 Nirbhaya … this are just 2 of such case where media trail and public uproar was a way to bring justice .

But, In 2007 the same media has destroyed life of Uma Khurana, a mathematics teacher from Delhi, was accused of prostitution done through her school, the incident even lead to a mob beating her up, while all of this was based on fake news. Can we real trust the same media to bring Justice to Sushant?
We even have the recent case of Tabling Jamaat, in which the Bombay HC come down on media for using them as ‘scapegoat’ only to target Muslim community.
Zee news has been caught in a sting operation, and the now editor in chief has even went to jail for that.
Arnab Goswami was called out by Delhi HC in the matter of Sunanda Pushkar’s death when Arnab was accusing Dr.Shashi Tharoor as her murderer. The judge questioned Arnab was saying, “Were you at the spot? Are you an eyewitness There is some sanctity attached to the investigation.”…The judge added it was for the court of law to decide what was evidence in a criminal case’.
The same guy when he was in Times now in 2015 vehemently accused a young man, Sarvjeet Singh Bedi on charges of molestation, without strong evidence against him.

With such recent past of news channels can we really trust all the garbage which we are being fed on a daily base? In Sushants matter a number of accusation have been levied mostly on hersay or circumstantial evidence. While I agree some important questions are also valid.
Now with all of these imagine what could actual be going on with our minds…some people are literally brainwashing us, Images the kind of vilification one must feel when half the nation is against you, for what reason ?
I don’t know who is the criminal is Sushants case nor do I have the resources to find out.
The case is still not closed we still don’t know who killed whom , who sold what to whom or robbed, only time ,CBI and the court can tell us that.
Best the only important question for us is, what the hell is wrong with us and our media?

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Nationalism used for party interest.

Nationalism has become a tool to silence anyone who question the legitimacy of the establishment , on its failure , its lack of respect for institution and crimes for which an apology is due.

Idea of practicing democracy is questioning the authority and demanding appropriate answer’s but it’s equally needed that citizens cooperate with the ruling government on primitive bases.

But the one in power has used this political error for their own benefits, its true no democracy can work without its people participating in all government policy while balancing the act of Q&A to the current government .Many consider the government has failed to establish transparency through bureaucracy.

Bureaucrats have earned their own status-quo of an arrogant elite, who are cut from the mainstream population, even accused of misusing his powers.

Now how does this happen in a sovereign power? You keep people fighting among themselves, their lack of education regarding politics help’s a lot. And then they use nationalism as a punchline and misuse it for their vested interest,than for the people  .They break nationalism into the same framework of religion .

Establishment build to pass on the values of constitution are protected through state machineries the spirit of nationalism and tri-flag motivates the citizen to unit, agitate and build a nation in one sprit , while holding together all it’s difference’s. They will use the armed forces for vested interest and use soldiers blood to create a free root to gain vote bank. Few ex-officers have suggested the possibility that government is using state officers for their political benefits and ill-disciplined and co-operating officers chose to work for the state rulers for mutual benefit .

Police, courts the army all such institution have been there since the monarchy left, one must remember what was the priority of this institution back they , to protect and serve queen and country and people of the land .In democracy our fore father and mothers, demand for and worked for institution which provide service to people and not to few tyrant powers . To do so all institution were democratise in some way or another. Freedom of speech was the focal point of such act, you cannot practice democracy if you believe the state alone.

The few in power exactly curtail this powers again today and have successful protected their crimes using nationalism a cloth to cover up their real anti-national elements .In all this only poor, the powerless and always the service men and women are exploited only because they’re stopped by their duty and loyalty to system as it was in the time of independence to many soldiers. It is up to students and citizen to come out of this bondage.               

Jai Hind,Jai Bharat

Nitish Chavan

Duty of student’s

                      

                  With protest happing every other week , students boycotting exams , not accepting authority of administration in recent years the question arise what is the priority for any student is a country where more than 50% of the population is young , should they solely be concerned on their careers or participate in functioning of their country’s democracy which they feel is under attack . There are a number of aspects regarding student movements , we can not forget how Indian political history has been shaped by mass student protest from times of Independence to cultural student protest for protection of “Jallikattu” to college campus protest which were every day thing back in 2015 from protest at FTII or JNU etc.

The most important duty as I see for any student is as a young student myself is the loyalty to ones land , loyalty to ones principle . We can’t be good students if we do not be in touch to the natural essence of reliable to any dictatorship from centre or state or any religious thugs , no young chap is going to permit anyone walk over them.

But the sprit of young can not lay only in its rebellious tendency but also in its merit or principle to form a better world . Students must not copy  authoritarian  thug -ship similar to their counter-parts .The sprit of a young student must lay in his ability to discuss any issues frivolously and acquire to inevitability of being wrong .

Young must reject fundamentalism of any kind , from revolutions to religious any fundamentalism is good enough to be thrown away . The student icon “Shahid Bhagat Singh” gave a simple but valid  description of what revolution is , revolution is spirit and not simple over throwing of governments ruled and nurtured by tyrants, “The old order should be changed by the new, so no good order may corrupt the world” .The lethargic spirt is what needs to be changed and challenged , not merely governments, parties , faces of mortal men .

Aspects of students duty

1 Maintain Spirt of the youth

2 Challenge the mighty

3 Loyalty to the land

4 And Uplift the “right’ ( righteous ) by merit and principle

5 First duty of every student is to study

                                                                                                  Jai Hind,Jai Bharat

  – Nitish Chavan

“Jana Gana Mana”

                                                   If you are born in late 90s or in the 21 century the chances are high that you will be among the many who will feel immense pride on 2047 15 August as we hit our 100th year, a complete century, of freedom, of sovereign rule on the entire southern land of Himalayas . You and I will be experiencing something our fore fathers dreamed of, a free Indian nation state . But, that’s 28 years more to go,so for now lets just stay alive for the time being .

Now let’s start dreaming about what are we going to do on that day, everyone’s going to wake up early and get dressed in so called traditional clothes, go out on streets sings song , dance scream out slogans of ignites the national spirit . One thing for sure we will do , is sing the immortal anthem of Jana Gana Mana Adhinayak Jaya he .. created by India’s first (recipient) of noble price, the great Rabindranath Tagore . On Dec 1911, the song was first song at congress session in kolkata  by Tagore’s niece Sarla Devichowdhurani .

Tagore must have never thought what will follow in coming years , how for many people would blame him and call him  a traitor and follower of the British Crown , a lie which is still used by some to demolish Tagore’s legacy.

What really happened was, on 26 December 1911 at Congress session in Kolkata which started on 26th, was followed by Tagore’s poem later turned into song “Bharat Bhagay Vidhata” of which “Jana Gana Adhinayak” is the first part of the 5 stanza’s of was performed on 27th December at the same place King George 5th had come . On the next day 28th December, The Engalish Man newspaper said that Tagore had sang a patriotic song in respect to King George the 5th, and had considered him as the ruler (adhinayak) of India . Many such speculation were made against Tagore, which he at that point he choose not to respond , who knows for what reason . But on 1937 he wrote a letter to his friend explaining his stand on the controversy related to the song, that he never referred king George the 5th,6th or anyone as the ruler of India, but had referred the song to God as the ruler( adhinayak) of  India’s destiny .

Many things have been said after this clarification also, that Tagore was a slave to the British crown and not a true Indian and accepted knighthood by the British and noble price , one of the resent such conspiracy theory was also given by former Supreme court Justice Markandey Katju in 2015 . But one thing which is similar to all the conspiracy theory is that non has provide good enough evidence to prove the claim that Jana Gana was performed in favour or the British other than using circumstantial evidence and mis-quotation of the song . Till to date there is no clarity of this topic, though after the massacre at Jallianwala bagh, Tagore had returned his Knighthood  to Britain  as a form of protest to the inhuman act . Now some like to say why did he not returned the crown, the main reason could be, that he never received the noble price from British but from the Norwegian  government or more accurately The Swedish Academy, for his poetic work of Gitanjali, which Tagore had also translated into English making it accessible  to the western world . It was even said that part of Gitanjali was also in respect to the British.

None of this claims were ever proved according to my readings , then why are few people still trying to sabotage the legacy of Tagore, according to me, Tagore was in his time was one of the people who worked towards freeing the human mind of any slavery and promote any attitude of liberal thinking , in which everything must be questioned including nationalism , on which Tagore have written on and even had debates with Gandhiji . Tagore’s liberal , free thinking attitude is not good for the people of India, as the moment people think for themselves as to what is right and what is wrong, how are the few powerful going to control you . So the plan is just maligned the image of any great Indian who have protected and promoted the ethos of ‘ what can and should be of India’ has been and will be attacked ,it is up to us , the new generation of Indian’s who must protect the work of great leaders and also critically question , assess work of everyone, no matter how great they are and use the greatest power of democracy, which is the power of dialogue and tolerance and truth .

Let us remember Jana Gana was also considered as should be the national anthem of India in the year 1942 by none other than Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which he altered a bit to give Jana Gana a martial tune to encourage soldiers of Azad Hind Sena .

This song today is free India’s national anthem , considered as world best anthem must be protected along with its created Shri Rabindranath Tagore.

                                                                                                                                                                  Jai hind , Jai Bharat

                                                                                                                                                                           -Nitish Chavan

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