Sunday, October 18, 2009

You know you are patriotic when...

*You think Hindi should be our sole national language- There are eighteen official languages and thousands of minor languages. The states are formed on linguistic bases. Hindi is spoken in mainly two parts of the country- North and West India. South India is completely opposed to the use of Hindi. Political parties like DMK and AIDMK are famous for their anti-hindi campaigns. South Indians argue that Hindi is foreign to their culture. Hindi(not Sanskrit) was never a part of their history. Similarly, the North-East has nothing to do with Hindi. Their languages are tibeto-burmese languages. Inspite of this condition, Hindi is to be the language of the Indians. Hindi is expected to bridge the gap even though English is more-suited for the purpose. The problem with English is that people think it is ‘foreign’ to ‘Indian’ culture. Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-European linguistic family. The other languages are all European(except Persian). So how is Sanskrit indigenous?? Sanskrit is the mother of many Indian languages. How does a language become ‘Indian’? When people speak a language, it becomes their medium of communication. So When Indians speak any language of anywhere, it becomes their language. English has been spoken for a couple of centuries now and it is as Indian as any other Indian language. This Hindi concept is a political construct. Hindi is used for supremacy. It is being used in the battles of regionalism and communalism. Hindi may be the language of majority but India is also proud to call itself a subcontinent. Therefore, Hindi should not be imposed on any grounds. Hindi is just another Indian language. It should be our official language besides English. But giving it the honour of the national language does not make much sense. It is as important as any other Indian language. The majority and minority concepts should not play a role in a diverse country like India.

*You think Kashmir belongs to ‘us’- The first thing that comes to our mind when we think of Kashmir is its scenic beauty. The second thing is Terrorism. What is the third thing? Nothing. We care about Kashmir only because we have an issue over it with Pakistan. Kashmir makes us very patriotic. But do we know that Kashmir is not just a landscape but the land of kashmiris. The situation of Kashmir is nowhere near normality. In Kashmir, Internal terrorism- secessionism is far more dominant than external terrorism. Part of the secessionist group wants Kashmir to join Pakistan and the other part wants it to become independent. What is our reaction to this? We feel these secessionists are terrorists. But are they? These terrorists are people who rightfully possess the right to decide their own fate. India has never been fair to Kashmir. The outcome is the secessionist feelings. Who are we- the non-Kashmiris to decide for them?

*You support the war with Pakistan- What is war? It is a dispute between the political leaders. The repercussions of which are faced by common people. What has war given us? Wounds which take centuries to heal. Saying ‘Pakistan’ is like initiating a rapid-fire of abuses. Indians believe that Pakistan is the bed of terrorism. Pakistan hates India but India is a very peaceful country. Is violence the sole parameter for Peace? India is no less. The fact that we hardly know of any Indian attacks to Pakistan is the part of the untold story. The views that people have about Pakistanis are far more deadly than nuclear weapons. It is our thoughts that lead us to action. In no way can one justify terrorism. But the roots of the terrorism are these thoughts. The views of the few are used by us to generalise the country. Pakistan and India share a cultural affinity. The need of the hour is to respect each other as different countries. No one denies the fact that recent terrorist activity was organised by some Pakistanis. The Pakistan Government should take action. To start with, they should atleast accept this fact. But war is no solution. It is the Pakistani Government who is to be blamed. Not every Pakistani deserves our views. People of evil thinking are present in both countries equally.

*You dismiss certain concepts as ‘western’- To start with, this whole idea of ‘east’ and ‘west’ or orient and oxidant is itself ‘European’ or ‘western’. In India, ‘west’ is usually synonymous with something very world-changing. It is seen as destroying our society, our Indian values. But the fact that we permit these ‘western’ values shows that we are becoming open or rational. Jeans must have been a destroyer of the ‘Indian’ culture in its time. But today, it is a necessity of our Indian wardrobes. Jeans for women is still seen as the destroyer of ‘Indian culture’. But for women, it is a symbol of liberation. Issues of sex, homosexuality and prostitution have come to surface in Indian society. Many dismiss these as ‘western’. This ofcourse shows their ignorance of their own ‘Indian’ culture. But more importantly it highlights their fear of opening up of the society. ‘Western’ concepts are emphasising on personal liberties. This is what is considered as being against the ‘Indian’ culture.

Being Patriotic in India is proving to mean stagnancy in thought. The concept of patriotism is being embedded in the forces of regionalism, communalism and Casteism. We are being blinded by the society. We are able to see the invisible boundaries because we have been made inhuman. Patriotism means love for your country. But in our case, it means hatred for the other countries. This is not patriotism. India makes us proud. We are proud of just one thing and that is our diversity. So we should preserve and not suppress this diversity. India is a democracy. Alternative voices makes up this democracy. India is known for its patriotism. The Freedom struggle is not over. India is of the Indian people and whenever their voice will get suppressed, they will retaliate. Being a true Indian, it is our duty to provide them with the platform because this is the true spirit of patriotism.