Congress’ Preposterous Equation, Freedom Struggle= Nationalism

by S Murlidharan - Mar 23, 2016 03:17 PM +05:30 IST

Congress’ Preposterous Equation, Freedom Struggle= Nationalism

Sonia Gandhi
Snapshot
  • Congress and its fellow travellers these days taunt the BJP saying those who didn’t participate in the freedom struggle have no right to talk about nationalism.

    Does the present day political class that didn’t partake in the freedom struggle stand condemned ipso facto as non-nationalists unless their forebears were involved in the freedom struggle as per Congress’ weird worldview of nationalism?

Congress and its fellow travellers these days taunt the BJP saying those who didn’t participate in the freedom struggle have no right to talk about nationalism. This is their riposte to the BJP after the party’s national executive resolution placing nationalism on top of the party’s agenda.

Long ago, the BJP patriarch L.K. Advani coined the term ‘pseudo-secularism’ to counter the Congress’s charge that the BJP was communal. It is now the turn of the Congress and its groupies to pay back the compliment—BJP’s chest thumping, ultra-nationalism is pseudo nationalism and real nationalism was practiced by those who participated in the freedom struggle.

It is this linkage that is sought to be established between nationalism and participation in the freedom struggle that hogs the top honors for the most irrational and bizarre formulation ever on what constitutes patriotism. It begs the following questions:

Does 65 percent of India’s population below the age of 35 not make the grade as nationalists or patriots because they simply couldn’t have participated in the freedom struggle? Or is it that they do make the cut in Congress’ weird worldview if their forebears partook in the freedom struggle?

Does the present day political class that didn’t partake in the freedom struggle stand condemned ipso facto as non-nationalists unless their forebears were involved in the freedom struggle as per Congress’ weird worldview of nationalism?

Are parties like NCP, TMC and other splinter groups of the Congress non- nationalists having broken away from the pristine Congress of the freedom struggle?

Interestingly on this touchstone, even Congress-I is a breakaway group if not a splinter group.

All these questions might appear rhetorical but they emerge from the most ludicrous doctrine on nationalism ever expounded. Britain never has had the mortification of waging a freedom struggle; instead it has had the dubious distinction of colonizing and subjugating many countries. Does this make Brits as a country unworthy of the nationalist appellation?

The sad truth is Congress party seems to have mixed up issues, and equated freedom struggle with nationalism. Of course the former is a species of the latter.

Nationalism is a continuum whereas freedom struggle, a species of nationalism, has a short or long duration. Those who participated in the freedom struggle deserve recognition and reward but to term those who didn’t participate for whatever reasons as non-nationalists is syllogism at its worst.

Nationalism or patriotism cannot be caught in a time warp or held hostage to history or hagiography. It is a dynamic concept moving ahead with times. Young jawans bravely defending the Indian borders with Pakistan obviously did not participate in the freedom struggle but they are no less patriots or nationalists.

The young and old who rise to the call of natural calamities to reach out to the affected are nationalists with compassion no matter whether they participated in the freedom struggle or not.

Having said all these against the Congress worldview of nationalism, something also needs to be said about the BJP’s. Nationalism takes on hues of altruism and should not be reduced to mere sloganeering or chanting of mantras admittedly imbued with nationalistic flavor and fervor.

BJP hasn’t done anything wrong in elevating nationalism to the top of its agenda but where it has erred is to relegate deeds to the background in its overweening desire to appropriate time-tested nationalistic slogans.

Every citizen therefore must be deemed to be a nationalist until he commits an explicit or implicit act of insulting or dividing the nation like the renegade sloganeers did at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on 9 February 2016,the trigger for and catalyst for the present animated debate.

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