Inflated Nationalism will defeat India

By Prabhakar Timble
19 March 2016 05:10 IST

When the nation is calm and cool why is the BJP and the right-wing brigade beating the bugle of nationalism? Why manufacture threats to India out of thin air and create an atmosphere that clouds of anti-nationalism have gripped the nation? What calamity has hit the nation that the people have to be reminded about blind subservience to ‘Bharat mata’ and force them to reaffirm their nationalism holding the scalpel of anti-nationalism down their throats? Is there even a perceived threat to India’s sovereignty that the Indian youth needs to be slapped with charges of sedition and the people conduct flag marches on the streets chanting Vande Mataram?

I am reminded of the Aesop short story where a shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, "Wolf! Wolf!" and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The only concern is that We, the people of India should be on the guard that this crying wolf of nationalism does not destroy India’s democracy, inclusive development, diversity and social harmony.

Losers & gainers

Narendra Modi and the BJP stormed the national capital with a bang raising hopes and aspirations of people. However, it is losing its grip on the economy and the promised national development. There is nothing on the development front to lay claims upon after the honeymoon months of show-casing growth of Gujarat and the model which has been dubbed as crony capitalism. BJP is also cutting a poor figure in terms of foreign affairs policy despite the Prime Minister spending maximum nights on foreign soil. People perceive that the BJP in its short tenure has overtaken the Congress led UPA government with higher levels of corruption. The big talk of getting the wealth and black money stacked in foreign banks has dampened the BJP. Bringing in nationalism as a commodity to trade and insulate the BJP from its failures is probably perceived as a good political proposition unmindful of the threats to India as a whole and the people.

Though the BJP nationalism voyage is overall Hindu friendly, a free thinking Hindu is listed as enemy on their radar. Minorities are also losing the opportunity to embrace the liberal way of life as the fundamentalists in their communities find justification for their aggression and assertiveness as an answer to majority fundamentalism in the guise of nationalism.

However, the RSS and frontal organizations are making gains in taking their agenda of cultural nationalism forward. The more the youth is kept glued to symbols such as the national flag and emotive jargon of ‘bharat mata ki jai’, it promotes fanatic and fascist thinking. So, Afzal Guru stays in history as villain, whose story should not be told or heard. Nathuram Godse gets reinvented and renovated as a national hero whose story becomes a tale of patriotism. Every issue, whether it is what we eat, the language we speak, the way we dress, what education we receive, the festivals we celebrate, the way we express, the strokes we paint, the way we exhibit our bodily intelligence through theatre and dance, the companionship we treasure, each and every issue is evaluated against the yardstick of nationalism. None else, other than the BJP, RSS and the Hindu Sanathan become self-assumed courts of nationalism.

The loss is to the cause of secularism. The constitutional expression of the Indian republic as secular gets obliterated providing space and visibility to nationalism. Anyone questioning the rise of such narrow and fascist symbols is vulnerable to be attacked as anti-national. So, the modern and progressive secularist thought is put on the defensive and forced to soft pedal as nationalism like religion is a kind of opium.

Replacement to Sri Ram

It is Sri Ram and the Ayodhya movement which brought the BJP close to power through community polarization, but could not put them in the driver’s seat. What resulted in the sweep is when BJP succeeded in selling corruption-free governance and ‘saab ka vikas’ to the people. Now, the hidden agenda is being brought to the front office.

Nationalism is the new buzz word which accommodates the ‘hindutva’ ideology.  It is the new weapon to attack dissent. This weapon can destroy autonomy and independence of universities. This instrument can sell the lie that leftists are separatists. This pump can spread the virus that Muslim population will overtake the Hindu demographic numbers. The big lies can be told with straight face and confidence.

Nationalism is the new found idol of the BJP to replace Sri Ram. BJP is nursing nationalism to equate it as the synonym for secularism and develop it as ‘secular’ word to facilitate the ‘hindutva’ agenda providing the glorified nomenclature for the otherwise Hindu Rashtra that they espouse.

As the pendulum swings from national development to development of nationalism, the threat is to the idea of India and inclusive development of people. The key agenda of the BJP today is to propagate that the spirit of nationalism will lead to national development and it is the dearth of nationalism which explains the economic state of the nation. Narendra Modi being the icon of nationalism as they claim, anti-Modi and anti-BJP automatically fall in the net of anti-nationals. This is the truth of JNU, Rohith Vemula, Kanhaiya Kumar and others to follow.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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Very well written article and the line

When the nation is quiet and calm. What the need of exaggeration..

- Ashish, Goa | 26 th March 2016 12:00


In last six decades when Timblo n his likes were in shells we suffered a lot. Secularism meaning everything and anything Hindu is communal, socialism, Gandhi as father of nation, Pabdit Nehru Indira Gandhi to straight Rahul Gandhi were forced on us by gangsters called congress. We were not allowed to dispute this. Now if circle of fate is turning one has to bear with it.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 25 th March 2016 07:14


In the title of the article the word used is ' INDIA' ! Is it well defined or as vague as Nationalisam ?

- Anand Masur, Madgao | 19 th March 2016 11:41


This is typical anti Govt article with same set of accusations which have become old and stale.By his same argument when nation was calm and cool why this same people created the bogey of intolerance? Secondly nationalism has to be in everybody's blood as we Indians have sacrificed a lot to get freedom. If tomorrow's generation are shouting anti India slogans, talking of splitting India,should Govt keep quite? If father hears his son saying same thing about his own family will he keep quite? Those who've taken freedom for granted are talking this language of freedom of speech and expression.

- Parag Hede, Panaji,Goa. | 19 th March 2016 11:36


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