Patriot or Nationalist
Patriotism and Nationalism are two sides of the same coin, like YIN & YANG. But the line which separates them is so narrow and thin that one would never be able to find the breach until it is too late. History is the witness for that. Take the example of Turkish nationalism, which cost many Albanians their precious life. It started just like any other patriotic uprising, but when it started to equate religion with nationality; nobody knew, until it exploded, in the form of an ethnic cleansing, where Christian Albanians were murdered mercilessly. A wise man always learns from other's mistake. We should also. The way it is going in our country, people are confused and confused mind is easy to manipulate. They don't know where and whom to turn, who is genuine and who is foxy.
Our honourable PM pleads for unity of our country. At the same moment others try to booby-trap this by crying out just the opposite, in the name of religion and caste. India has to be secular in nature. Nobody can deny the diversity of India. Some hardcore Hindu nationalists are of the opine that we should've been gone a Hindu country when Pakistan was formed. I beg to differ, if they thought just throwing out all Muslims would make India a Hindu nation of their dream, then they were mistaken. This so called Hinduism in itself is a pandemonium. If you go from North to western part or to the East or to the Central and Southern tip of the continent, Hinduism will start to change its colour in rituals, rites and the type of gods people preach etc. In northern and central part, they are very conservative about Cow. But when one go to extreme south and eastern part of India, beef is a daily menu. There are many regional gods and goddesses are being introduced as you go on. And the first and the most important of all, the language. Every state in India was created on the basis of language, from Kerala at the southern tip to Kashmir at the north. But in the northern belt, like Uttar Pradesh(UP), Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, etc; Hindi is also spoken as a second language. But when you go to central, southern, western and eastern part languages differ. One will see lot many well established languages. This language problem was always been there as a hindrance for the unity of India. The first thing that gives you a sense of belonging is the language. When you hear or see someone speaking your language, you feel relieved. You can relate to him, among the foreigners. It acted as a boon and a bane for India. Because of this disconnect, caused by language, helped India from getting worse when Hindu nationalism swept through the northern part of India. Even though Hindi is the unofficial official-language of India, language debate is a sleeping giant, if awaken, capable of doing great damage to our unity itself.
It is never a healthy practice to equate one particular religion or ethnicity with nationality, which creates insecurity. But history repeatedly showed us that that is the case with humans. Now a days some extreme Hindu and Muslim organisations were chosen to take that path of hatred and violence. They intentionally showcase handpicked events from the history to quash the opposite party (since Hindus are a majority, they practice this to demonise Muslim rulers). Hindu nationalists call themselves patriots, they would have been correct if this was an exclusively Hindu nation, but it is not. Their patriotism extends to a certain group of people with in the country. They want India to be rooted on religious text based morality and justice. Just like Pakistan, which they despise the most. The height of insanity created by hatred is so big that people are ready to barter their reasoning and thinking ability with self-contradicting nonsense. They have more than enough time to babble about the may or may not be scientific facts, which they say, were there in the thousand year old "Vedas". On the other side they are missing out all those great Indians who sacrificed their life in the altar of science and for humanity. They haven't shown interest in people like P.C Ray, H.J Bhabha, C.V Raman, S. Ramanujan, Meghnad Saha etc who ignited the fire of Indian scientific temper. What these hindutva-vaadis are talking about is a vast land mass of Indian sub continent. It was a time when the notion of India as a country as we conceived today was still a long way ahead. The "Bharat varsha" mentioned in epics were never inclusive of southern India.
Everyone should be cognisant of History. It gives us a clear cut understanding of who we are? And where we came from? We all must do a self introspective study by comparing the history and the present. It would tell us where do we stand now? According to that, we should put in our collective effort to take our country forward. Our previous mistakes shouldn't be repeated. It should be our log book. We are a young democracy that too a stable one. Isn't that enough to be proud of. How many democracies plunge into chaos around us, especially in Asia and Africa. It is our choice to be a nationalist or a patriot. I always wonder how people could skip such a simple logic- if something leads to death, violence and hatred, it must have been wrong, Its no rocket science. Religion and belief are personal matters; it must not interfere with the nationhood. When organisations with a customised outlook of culture, compatible only with their own versions of narrow-mindedness, start to actively indulge in the process of nation making, conditions arises which will clash with the people of different viewpoints and cultural outlooks.
What, A.K Ramanujan (famous poet, philologist, playwright etc) observed about India in his collection of “Folktales from India” –“Whoever speaks of Indian or India must hasten to add that India contains many Indias” is very much germane.