Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity an obligation; Every possession a duty.
It was in the last leg of our month-long India trip that I watched with dismay, anger and utter shame some of the reports coming in about the JNU incident.
Hum kya chaahein – Azaadi (What do we want? Freedom)
Chheen ke lenge – Azaadi (We’ll snatch Freedom)
Bandook ke dam par – Azaadi (Freedom at gunpoint)
Hurriyat ke jawaano – Azaadi (Soldiers of Hurriyat – Freedom)
Jab Kashmir ne maangi Azaadi, Manipur bhi bole Azaadi (When Kashmir demands freedom, Manipur demands freedom too)
Kitne Afzal maaroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega (How many Afzals will you kill? Every home will beget more Afzals)
Afzal hum sharminda hain, tere kaatil zinda hain (Afzal, we are ashamed, your killers are still alive)
Bhaarat ki barbaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi (Till the destruction of India, the fight will continue, the fight will continue)
Bhaarat tere tukde honge, Insha-allah Insha-allah (By the will of Allah, India, you will be broken into pieces)
Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistan Zindabad (Long live Pakistan)
One can be forgiven for mistaking the slogans above to be from a Bollywood movie, where the terrorists and their sympathizers are threatening the Indian state – except they aren’t! These are, in fact, slogans raised in JNU and Jadabpur University, in the heart of Delhi and Kolkata – institutes of higher learning where Indian taxpayers’ hard earned money is being thrown down the drain to inculcate such treacherous behaviour. They depict the kind of hatred towards the motherland some of our own citizens carry on in their hearts and on their lips.
The picture below aptly captures what every right-minded Indian feels about the incident.
This post is not just about the JNU incident though: It will be foolishness to dismiss the malaise plaguing JNU as an isolated incident. Secessionism and support for terrorism do not exist in a vacuum. There are various forces at work that spawn, abate and embolden such thinking.
We have been getting conned by some special classes of people, as far as the security and sovereignty of the nation is concerned. Masquerading as the champions of liberty, secularism, justice, these institutions actually debase these very ideals to serve their selfish interests. They enjoy with impunity the freedom granted by the Indian Constitution and work day and night to destroy the very nation that bestows them rights. While conceding that not all of them are like this, it is imperative to identify these players and challenge their narratives:
Media: “Honest journalism” is an oxymoron in today’s days and times. There were days when the Fourth Estate used to be regarded as one of the pillars of democracy, a conscience keeper of the nation. But in today’s world of 24/7 news, barring a few, only half-baked lies, half-researched events and mostly ill-formed opinions are peddled as facts and news.
Worse, there is no unbiased analysis of any issue. The conclusions in any debate or discussions are pre-formed; the news story is run merely to support them at the end! The MSM, by and large, slept through the numerous corruption cases during UPA-II and they have suddenly become vehement in their protests for small things during NDA 2014. Even a child can see who their paymasters are; for which parties they act as powerbrokers. They create issues out of non-issues; decide which report to inflate or twist or communalise and which to turn blind eye to, ignore, cover up and suppress.
Mediacrooks, opindia are some of the initiatives by regular citizens like you and me that regularly analyze the lies spread by our mainstream media. However, these don’t have the power that TRP-raising, decibel-blaring electronic media has over the minds and hearts of an average Indian citizen.
Politicians: Like leeches, some of our opportunist politicians latch on to any issue and have the magical ability to turn it into a communal or casteist one. They stoke the fire and fan the flames in a media-manufactured controversy as described above just for the sake of a few more votes. The cards they play are many – Religion/Minority (e.g. Muslim/ Christian), Region (e.g. Bihar/ Delhi/ Telangana/ Bengal), Caste (e.g. Dalit/ Mahadalit/ OBC/ Jat/ Gujjar), Poverty (e.g. Farmer suicides, Kanhaiya’s poor background) Feminism (women’s rights), Secularism (minority rights), Liberalism (human rights) – whatever works the best for a particular situation! Below are just a handful of gems coming from this class in recent times:
Academicians: Check out this video in which Prof Lahiri of Jadabpur University comes up with all sorts of ludicrous excuses for not supporting the hoisting of the Tricolour in the campus: We have our own university flag; the hoisting of the Indian flag will be “infiltrating the autonomy of the university”; it is “perverted nationalism”; ABVP students carrying the Indian flag have destroyed our campus etc. If this is the mindset of the Prof of International Relations of the topmost university of a state, one can very well imagine the resultant thought process of impressionable students attending his lectures!
Gone are the days when teachers were responsible for building good character, for instilling patriotism and discipline among students! The academia has always been a hotbed for leftist liberal thoughts – but what can become catastrophic for a nation is when that’s the only thinking allowed to flourish. Yet, this is what happened recently when an invitation to Baba Ramdev by JNU officials was opposed by the students, while they regularly invite Naxalite, Maoist and even Pakistani leaders for talks and “cultural events”. The JNU students who have been agitating against the recent government action citing freedom of expression, right to dissent etc. can not listen to any ideas opposed to their own! If this is not the height of hypocrisy, I don’t know what is!
Intelligentsia: These consist of a few obscure poets, novelists/ journalists, the award-wapasi brigade, some one-novel-wonder authors, some senile retired judges, some actors well past their prime, some NGO activists. Read here a theory on how and why they raised the Intolerance boogie, their hypocrisy and inertia when the country passed through some really turbulent times, how they concocted some of the vilest details on the 2002 riots, and about the political stooges that they really are! They abuse the freedom and rights granted by our Constitution and do not lose a single opportunity to denigrate India on the world forums.
Watch here how Arundhati Roy, one of the idols of the Pakistan-Zindabad-shouting JNU students, has been touring the world for many years now accusing the Indian state of “waging war on its own people” in a way that even Pakistan does not. She demonizes the police and Indian army while waxing eloquence on Maoists, Naxalites and Jihadists. Read how Teesta Setalvad siphoned off funds meant for 2002 riot victims and spent them in buying wine/jewellery among other things, cooked up incidents of killings and tutored witnesses to tell lies about the riots. Check out this good rebuttal to the frenzied claims of Aamir Khan based on facts and figures. These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Leftists: In an ideal world, leftist and rightist policies should work in harmony, complementing each other and getting the best of both the worlds to take the country on the path of justice and prosperity. But of course, that can not happen in India. The Congress and communist parties have been the powerholders for majority of the 68 years of India’s independence. They have worked hands in glove with keeping the masses poor and subjugated through their economic and social policies, while doling out populist sops for an intact vote-share.
It is amusing how the Leftists speak of right to dissent when the world over the Communist regimes have been imprisoning/torturing/executing millions of people even on the suspicion of the slightest opposition! When worldwide the Communist ideology had to bite the dust and even a large communist country like China had to adopt capitalist policies to bolster its economy, rabid liberalism is plaguing our institutions. See how they can turn a blatant secessionist act into a fight for freedom of expression, a war against fascism – as evident in the JNU incident. They can turn a terrorist Ishrat Jahan into a martyr for the sake of preserving their respective votebanks.
While the above forces have always been there, they have suddenly become hyperactive following the election of a nationalist government at the centre. Makes you wonder – why? Modi’s strategy of communicating directly with the Indian citizens through social media, radio or websites (like mygov.in, PMOIndia ReportCard, Mann ki baat) bypassing traditional media has not gone down well with the latter. India’s rank on global corruption index has jumped from 94 in 2013 to 76 in 2015. India’s standing in the international arena has improved. With a “Perform or Perish” directive to bureacracy, things should look up. And guess what kind of elements will have problem with all these positive developments?
The legendary Mark Twain used to say:
Loyalty to the government – when it deserves it.
Loyalty to the country – Always!
The Modi-baiters and Modi-haters in the media, academia, intelligentsia, political class have turned the above saying on its head: In their overzealous loathing for a democratically elected leader of the largest democracy in the world, they have started maligning and working against their own nation!
Coming back to Rockefeller’s quote at the beginning of this post –
The Indian Constitution accords unprecedented rights to its citizens. To alter one of the most popular catchphrases from Spiderman – With great freedom, comes great responsibility! Apparently, all the JNU student protesters are alert to their rights and none to their duties.
Despite the fake intolerance boogie raised, the fact of the matter is this – We Indians are a tolerant lot. We have tolerated too many things for too many years! We have tolerated corruption for eons; we have tolerated politicians playing caste and religion-based politics for ever. We have tolerated state-sanctioned inequality in the name of caste-based reservations. We have tolerated terrorists being accorded all legal rights and cases pending in the courts for many many years. We have tolerated stone-pelting, bus-burning protests everywhere from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu. We have tolerated special status being demanded and accorded to various factions of the society. We have tolerated third-degree treatment meted out to Indian army personnel in captivity by enemy states. But there should be a limit to even virtues of patience and tolerance.
So, the question now arises: What should be the limit to our tolerance?
(In 2010, when some JNU students distributed sweets and organized events celebrating the murder of 76 CRPF jawans during Maoist insurgency in Dantewada, the Congress government at the centre remained a mute spectator! Had there been steps taken then, things probably wouldn’t have come to this in 2016.)
When students celebrate massacre of the police and army personnel – that’s when you know what the limit should be! When CBI, NIA and almost every central institution is compromised by UPA government to feed their political interests while jeopardizing national security- that’s when you know what the limit should be! When the protesters start talking in the language of the enemy states and defend secession in the name of freedom of speech – that’s when you should put your foot down! When a part of the state population hold an entire nation to ransom – that’s when you should crush it! When a school-principal like Kazi Masoom Akhtar is beaten with iron rods for daring to encourage girls education, for daring to promote respect for the National Anthem and the Tricolour – that’s when you know what the limit is! When known and legally proven terrorists like Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon are deified in a society instead of heroes like A.P.J Abdul Kalam and Azim Premji – that’s when you know what the limit to your tolerance should be!
Hope we learn our lessons in time, or it might be too late.