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India as an idea : If we are not careful, it might not last the winter

I am a stickler for words. I adore words. I worship words. I have an almost insane belief that most problems we face in human life arise due to lack of words and they can be resolved if we can discover appropriate words. We discover our identity in words, and we lose them in words. Nations are built and broken with words. Things obtain their meaning through words and lose their meaning in words.

I remember, a brilliantly made movie. There is a dialogue in the movie which has stayed with me ever since I heard it for the first time in 2000. The dying Emperor of Rome, meets his battle-weary, victorious Army General, General Maximus and they talk. The emperor explains his interpretation of Rome. He says – “There was once a dream that was Rome, you could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish. It was so fragile and I fear that it will not survive the winter.”

The Emperor here is talking about Rome. But there is a pronounced certitude and noticeable universality in the statement. It can be equally applied to any nation, at any point in time. The nation, any nation is not defined by its roads, fields, boundaries. It is not even defined by its people. A nation is defined by the prime idea which represents the basic character of a nation. A nation is as strong and as weak as that central theme, that central idea remains. It is not about armies and arsenals.

In the context of India, we know what that Idea was. It was an idea of Hindutva or Hinduism which breaths into the varied hearts of the people of this nation, irrespective of their faith. Supreme Court had defined it as the way, we, the people of India have lived over last thousands of years.

The Five-Judge bench of the Supreme Court of India in 1966 ruled that “Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet, it does not worship any one god, it does not subscribe to any one dogma, it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances, in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion or creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more.” Hinduism or Hindutva is the way people of India, that is Bharat lived.

Since this idea of a uniform and universal idea of living common among all Indians, contradicted with initially the Western expectation and later the leftist hope of eventual Balkanisation of India on the lines of language, religion and castes; there have been attempts to negate it.

The leftists loved to levitate over the mass belief which defined India. Their minds are trained on foreign beliefs, their actions dictated by alien and imported dogmas. They do not like a central idea which defines this great nation. They don’t Hinduism because it is a religion which their ideology is inconsistent with. They hate it because it represents an idea of India which unifies its people. Since they can not take on so many, openly, they create imaginary concepts of Hindutva being different from Hinduism and claim to hate one and not the other.

They understand that this is not a battle of guns. This is a battle of ideas. We are at war. There is an idea which refuses to accept one governing indigenous idea or a central theme of India as a nation. It is a fight for gaining mind space. The land is immaterial. It is the minds that they seek to win. When they erased the entire history of our nation and shouted from the top of their hoarse voices that our history did not begin with Rigvedic settlements, they wanted us to disown our history from which the idea of our nation, India, Bharat emanates, derives its historicity, its differentiation, its identity. They who wore the badges of being anti-nationals, who called Hinduism or Hindutva a regressive identity politics, never hesitated to promote identity politics which ran contrary to the idea of India- based on caste, religion and region.

They were succeeding for quite some time post-independence. They gave us, the people at large, three options for the origin for our nation to choose from – the establishment of Delhi Sultanate, the Advent of British Raj or the Partition of India. If you went beyond that, you were fanatic and a bigot. If you spoke about the tumultuous history of India under the tyranny of Islamic or British rule, again you were fanatic or a bigot.

Opening up the wounds of the past does not help anyone. Just as opening up the history of the so-called Brahminical injustice of faraway centuries to create a social imbalance in the present makes no sense. But they, the left-liberals, are fine with one but opposed to the other. A regional, casteist and communal identity furthered their agenda, a National identity was at cross-purpose with their objective. The government, the ecosystem under earlier government, was working for them, as under the socialist- communist ecosystem of Congress, they controlled all the thought-centres. It was a wonderful situation. They carried zero responsibility and enjoyed huge power. They controlled the narrative, they defined the idea which is India, as per their liking. They were happily preparing India for breaking up, while controlling the minds, much like 1984 of George Orwell. They had no need to directly become a part of the government when they could run it by proxy. Then the government changed.

The happily conceived plan of running the nation without accountability received the jolt. NAC and such extra-constitutional power structures came crumbling down. Ministers who would direct the law and order agencies to create narratives and kill narratives violence were suddenly busy covering the trails of their own corruption.

Now, what seems to be happening is that being smoked out after 2014, snakes are coming out of their holes. Once out of their dark holes, they find the snake-charmers out waiting for them, with cash and committee both on offer, in return for creating a havoc in the nation, getting them back to power.

From opposing the democratic politics for long, now they are getting into the thick of it. Candidates are being propped with Naxal and Jihadi link. Electoral alliances are being struck with organizations under investigation for terror links. If we are not careful, law and order conniving with criminals will be a thing of past; criminals will be a part of it, they will run it. Congress is desperate and does not mind stepping over the corpses to reach the throne again.

Today we have Home Minister reporting to the nation about how we are winning the war over the Naxals, if things continue unchecked, in the Congress scheme of things, we might have a Naxal as a Home Minister as a part of the poll alliance. We are already witnessing Congress forming governments which officially and shamelessly claims not to be accountable to the people.

It is not the time to tolerate the politics of platitude. It is not a time to encourage rhetoric. It is not a time for witty wickedness. It is a time to speak and to be counted, stand to be noticed. It is the nation which is at stake. Our identity of India, that is Bharat, is at stake. The ocean is churning and in the end, we will have a gulf cutting across the muddy waters. Once this storm settles down, we will find where we are left standing.

This battle will be fought in the minds of its people. We need to learn our history and reclaim our past, our true identity, which transcends the divisive agenda. Go back and know ourselves. Is that not the first step before we step into a battle, any battle? This war will be fought internally as well as externally. It is a war on our national conscience. Did Dr Ambedkar not warn us about this in his speech, The Grammar of Anarchy, exactly what the leftists and the so-called Ambedkarites are trying to perpetrate on our nation when he said- “Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost forever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood.”

We are on the cusp of change. If we are not careful, even history will not remember us. The minds which were earlier content playing through their foot soldiers in the dense forests of Chattisgarh and deep valleys of Kashmir are out in open. Haven’t we seen professors and journalists debating and sometimes commenting – We must stop Modi, we have to fight against him?

They are brilliant minds, who ruled over us without being in power. They are out of their caves, down from their ivory towers and they are angry about it. They are making alliances, creating a narrative. They stepped in and took over an innocent and frustrating war of the people against corruption. Now the veils are down, daggers are out in the open. We see fake narratives being built, imaginary fault-lines being created and then, dug further deep.

The Social media presence now spills on to real life. You take most civilized offence on their most offensive word, and you will be pounced upon as fascist. You make the most factual and innocent remark which goes against their agenda, they will come together like a pack of wolves to hunt you down. What they are not able to do in India, they do elsewhere.

We are busy winning our silly skirmishes on social media, as they hound the innocents. Each vote we cast, each election we partake in, each debate we participate in, defines the world we leave behind, decides what lives our kids we will offer to our kids. Will they be a green, happy leaf on the Banyan tree of world’s oldest civilization or will they be a rootless, dead, dry leaf, left to float unconnected with the world around them, helpless in a hostile wind? Every word, every soul counts. A nation, well, a nation is just an Idea. A very fragile one. If we are not careful, it might not last the winter.

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Saket Suryesh
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Saket writes in Hindi and English. He writes on socio-political matters and routinely writes Hindi satire in print as well in leading newspaper like Jagaran. His Hindi Satire "Ganjhon Ki Goshthi" is on Amazon best-sellers. He has just finished translating the Autobiography of Legendary revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil in English, to be soon released as "The Revolitionary".

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