I am hoping to protest at whichever venue of the International Film Festival of Kerala that I can manage to go to, wearing a printed badge saying ‘DEAR SUPREME COURT, NO LOVE CAN BE FORCED’. Yesterday, six people who did not stand up when the national anthem was played were arrested. Sanghi elements and overenthusiatic people who have picked up Modi’s style of projecting instant nationalism on the debris of Indian democracy have been heckling people who refused to comply with the SC’s order and filing complaints. Indeed, they took photos of people who didn’t stand up during the anthem. How come they have not insulted the national anthem according to their own standards since they too were expected to stand in attention?
Now, I love that poem that became the Indian national anthem and the way it has been set to music- it celebrates Indian democracy and not bharatam, that imagined brahminical paradise which the RSS-BJP have been forcing upon us. The biggest divide in India is about which of these you are loyal to – and it is tragic that many young educated and employed young women, whose rights to employment and education are solely because of Indian democracy, chose to celebrate the utterly misogynist and casteist bharatam!
I am not saying that Indian democracy that emerges from our Constitution has been real. No, the painful reality is that it is not, and that is the only reason the RSS has been able to peddle bharatam – to serve the interests of crony capitalists and predatory NRIs. But even if it were realised, love for it cannot be forced. NO, NO LOVE CAN BE FORCED. LOVE CAN ELICIT LOVE RECIPROCALLY BUT OBEDIENCE DOES NOT MEAN LOVE.
The Supreme Court should stop behaving like an abused housewife. I am saying this because I know what it is to be an abused housewife. I remember the times when I was demeaned and insulted on a daily basis, and I often took it out on my children. The Modi government has been behaving like an abusive husband towards the Supreme Court. And the SC is taking it out on citizens. This should stop.
I am protesting not because I hate the nation or the national anthem: on the contrary, I love it,and when I remember that it is an ode to Indian democracy, it brings tears to my eyes. But I sincerely believe that no love can be forced. The SC’s order assumes that it can be – let them produce at least one instance in human history when the application of force produced love! No, they will fail that test. To me, this has implications as a mother, as a lover, as a friend, and not just as a citizen.
Please come to IFFK with badges that say LOVE CANNOT BE FORCED. Easy to make – write it with a bright marker on a piece of paper and pin it on your collar or sleeve.