Really Mr Jaitley, so you’ve won the first round of the nationalism debate?

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday said the BJP has won the “first round of the nationalism debate” in the country as, according to him, “people who raised anti-India slogans till now have been forced to say Jai Hind, if not Bharat Mata ki Jai” – See full report in the Indian Express here.

Nationalism in Action, image courtesy Rahman Abbas
Nationalism in Action, image courtesy Rahman Abbas

So, Mr Jaitley,what exactly have you won or lost? Let’s take count.

(a) First, there has been no ‘debate”, for a debate is conducted in a free environment, not with threats of sedition charges, arrests, killings and lynch mobs on the rampage. So, here is an open challenge for round  two: Join any of us in an open debate – without any of your repressive props. Field literally anyone, the best you can produce on your side, including your party president who thinks the medieval Ahomiya king, Sukapha defeated the Mughals “satrah satrah baar” when Sukapha died in 1268 and Mughal rule was established only in 1526.  Watch Amit Shah in action here:

(b) Certainly you won the contest in lying, deception and manipulation of media channels – that one was in fact a walkover for you, because we ‘anti-nationals’ weren’t competing. Here you first ‘showed’ that ‘anti-India’ slogans were raised by those very people, who you now claim have been forced to say Jai Hind at least. (Earlier, you claimed a similar victory when JNU was “forced” to show the national flag on Kanhaiya’s return to campus. Of course, JNU has been flying the national flag for fifteen years as it turned out, unlike the Most Nationalist  Organization, RSS, which never has.)

What is now clear is that those slogans were not raised by the JNU students but by people brought from outside, most probably by your own people. Undeterred by the truth of the doctored  videos now being out, you continue in true Goebbelsian style to continue repeating the same  lies over and over again. More recently, ABVP activists were caught shouting similar slogans in Fergusson College in Pune. Watch this if you haven’t:

(c) But you have most certainly lost the battle for India’s soul. You have rapidly shown yourselves to be anti Dalit,  anti Bahujan, and against any respect for the diversity that constitutes India. Your own Hindutva project lies in a shambles  because you cannot even deal with the diversity within Hinduism. You said that

“Modiji once called for a Congress-free India. The Congress has already gone out of Arunachal Pradesh. It can lose its government in Uttarakhand any day. In the Kerala and Assam elections, there are clear signals that it will wind up. Indian voters will convert Modiji’s slogan for a ‘Congress-free’ India into reality.”

But really, every day that your dear leader’s government is in power, it makes the people nostalgic for UPA rule. A recent India Today poll  showed that when asked if they wanted a BJP government with Narendra Modi as PM, only 21 percent of the respondents said yes, and  an overwhelming 79 percent said no!  What is important is that in your madness to brand everyone who disagrees with you as antinationalist,  you have eliminated the middle ground. If this survey is anything to go by, you have converted the middle ground into your opponents.

3 thoughts on “Really Mr Jaitley, so you’ve won the first round of the nationalism debate?”

  1. Just an aside to what has been raging for weeks now, i think one of the potent antidote to these lies, ranging from being subtle to fantastic, would be replace the ‘nation’ in ‘nationalism(-ist)’ with ‘desh’, ‘mulk’, ‘muluk’ and other such cognates. The HIndu’s weekend suplement today has a beautifully probing remark from a Santhali. It struck me the ways in which all grandmothers across the hinterland- based considering what i have witnessed and much to the liking of those who look at old women and the stories they tell to be embodying history shrouded in those anecdotes-would refer to their place of birth in these terms. It is with words like watan and again similar cognates that leads us to this monochromatic term ‘nationalism’.
    thank you. was a fleeting thought.


  2. He has ‘won’ the first round in the bullring by stage-managing with the support of a partisan empire. He thinks that the ‘play’ is over and done with. But the debate has just started — was this a match at all ??!!


  3. Doesn’t someone vet these speeches before they allow the cow-belt crowd to wax eloquent about Assam’s history? In 1671, the Ahoms defeated the Mughal army at Xoraighat. The Mughal army was led by Raja Man Singh (a Rajput). The Ahom army was led by Atan Buragohain, Lachit Borphukan and Ismail “Bagh” Siddique Hazarika (all Assamese, by the way). But it was fun watching Amit Shah say things he barely understood. He must have collared a hapless sidekick: “Abey yeh Sukapha kaun hain?” :-)


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