Guest Post by KARTIK MAINI
Later this month, we are told, Textile Minister Smriti Irani will be celebrating the festival of Raksha Bandhan with soldiers in India’s highest, perhaps most brutal battleground: Siachen. As the armed forces begin to occupy a central motif in public discourse on patriotism and national honour; and dissent against the BJP gets overwhelmingly portrayed as national betrayal, honouring the supremely courageous men who protect their brothers and sisters on the nation-state’s fault lines is far from problematic. Indeed, in so far as the nation is performed through patriarchal violence, it is.
Employing the signifier of Raksha Bandhan as a promise of the nation’s cherished men to protect their sisters is not nearly as trivial as many consider – it captures the lived experience of nationalism, as also the phallocentric economy invariably implicit in the idea of nation.