Sunday, January 24, 2021
Home Opinions India’s protest culture: Rooted in Dharma

India’s protest culture: Rooted in Dharma

African Americans and native Indian tribes have been fighting a long battle against systemic injustices meted out to them in America. Affirmative action by itself has neither assuaged these wounds nor set right the injustices that they have faced.

The protests in America after the death of George Floyd have turned violent with the destruction of property and large scale rioting. Protest groups have taken down statues of colonial and racist figures such as Christopher Columbus, Confederate General Robert E Lee and slave trader Edward Colston. The protests have also spread to Europe where protestors have sought the removal of imperialist and racist icons that have adorned public spaces such as Robert Clive, Baden-Powell and Winston Churchill. Unfortunately, even Mahatma Gandhi’s statue was not spared for the views he held during his formative years in South Africa. 

Rights-based protests Vs cultural re-awakening

African Americans and native Indian tribes have been fighting a long battle against systemic injustices meted out to them in America. Affirmative action by itself has neither assuaged these wounds nor set right the injustices that they have faced. The protests after the death of George Floyd turned violent with many protestors seeking immediate recourse. Protests in western democracies are rooted in a “rights-based” culture where the emphasis on being denied a fundamental right (in this case a right to life) trumps the duty one has towards the state. It’s rare for American leaders to emphasize one’s own duties towards the state – President Kennedy was one such leader who did so in his inaugural address. 

In contrast, India’s fight against colonial imperialism can be traced to cultural re-awakening, increased awareness of one’s heritage, and a greater assertion of one’s identity. As a result, it has been rooted in dharma and hence the awareness of one’s duty and responsibilities in its interaction with the state. This is one reason for most issue-based protests in India being peaceful. The freedom movement against British colonialism was won through non-violent movements led by the Mahatma. However, of late, we have departed from this dharma based framework towards a more “rights-based” framework. The need for immediate results coupled with low state capacities has led to violence slowly seeping into India’s protest culture. 

Ghosts of colonialism

India reclaiming its past from colonial imperialism doesn’t stop with us exorcising the ghosts of British colonialism. The New York Times, in a 2011 article titled “Population Control, Marauder Style”, carried a graphic depicting the loss of lives caused by wars, the savagery of despots and institutionalized oppression. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s 4.6 million murders was ranked at 23. Indians do not need such names to adorn public spaces and to have the road renamed after former President APJ Abdul Kalam was a befitting tribute to one of post-independence India’s great minds. 

Figure 1: Snippet from New York Times graphic on Aurangzeb’s purge  

Neither does India need to recognize tyrants who killed their own populations just because they “fought the British”. The atrocities of Tipu Sultan are well documented and the Karnataka government’s decision to not celebrate Tipu Jayanti is a welcome decision. The irony is not lost on us when one needs to change at Bakhtiyarpur Junction to reach Nalanda in Bihar. Bakhtiyarpur is named after Bakhtiyar Khilji who was responsible for the destruction of Nalanda – one of the oldest universities in the world and a seat of high learning. 

Figure 2: Bakhtiyarpur Junction showing change to Nalanda. (Image Courtesy: Organiser)

Colonial mindsets and practices are so deeply entrenched that reversals are always a long drawn out exercise. So far, the Narendra Modi government’s rootedness in dharma has led to an institutional approach in reclaiming our heritage from colonial imperialism. This approach is a befitting tribute to our ancestors who adhered to dharma when the odds were stacked against them. Violent protests and toppling of racist statues may seem like a short-cut but eventually, end up as a zero-sum game that India cannot afford. 

(Y. Satya Kumar is the National Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party and served as the Officer on Special Duty to Vice President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu. He tweets at @satyakumar_y)

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

 

Related Articles

Trending now

Haryana Police confirms that the ‘masked man’ was forced by farmer union leaders to make false allegations against police

While the masked man had said he was tasked by inspector Pradeep to kill farmer leaders, there is no inspector by that name

‘Kisan parade’ in Delhi on Republic Day given green light, claim protesters, Police deny receiving any written submission regarding route: Details

Farmer leaders have claimed that they have received approval to conduct a tractor parade in Delhi on the occasion of Republic Day.

Watch: Taking offence at Jai Shree Ram slogans, Mamata Banerjee walks off stage even as PM Modi and Bengal Governor look on

Mamata Banerjee who was sharing the stage with PM Modi, lamented "being disrespected" because she heard Jai Shree Ram slogans

Noida, Ghaziabad, Prayagraj, Kanpur: Hoax bomb threats ahead of Republic Day keep Uttar Pradesh police on tenterhooks

Fear and panic has the state of Uttar Pradesh in its grips after at least six hoax bomb threats were reported from Noida, Ghaziabad, Allahabad and Kanpur

How Congress spread lies about a woman being beaten up by goons in ‘lawless UP’ while the police did nothing: Read what really happened

Recently, a video of a pleading lady requesting UP Police officers to save her from two assailants was doing the rounds on the internet.

Stripped, hung upside down, one other beaten with pipe and still in their custody: 5 big revelations by ‘Masked Man’ Yogesh about farmer leaders

On Saturday, however, masked man Yogesh has made revelations that would give everyone cause for immense concern.

Recently Popular

#BanSportsTak: Netizens angry after India Today owned sports channel claims Virat Kohli suffers from ‘disorder’

"It is a disorder for a captain to (be as aggressive as Virat Kohli). It might be acceptable for a player to have this aggression (but nor for a captain)," the journalist claimed.

‘I allow you housewives to have extra-marital affair with man of your choice’: Video of Mamata Banerjee’s ‘progressive’ speech goes viral

Mamata Banerjee says she is so "flexible" that she has given permission to housewives to have extra-marital affairs

How Brazil thanked India for sending Coronavirus vaccine doses: Pawan Putra Hanuman

President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has expressed his gratitude towards India and Prime Minister Modi for vaccine exports from our country.

Gujarat Forest Dept to take legal action against Christian Evangelist Paul Dhinakaran over unauthorised use of the department’s logo

Website of Paul Dhinakaran claims of collaborating with the Gujarat Forest Department, a claim junked by the latter

Watch: Taking offence at Jai Shree Ram slogans, Mamata Banerjee walks off stage even as PM Modi and Bengal Governor look on

Mamata Banerjee who was sharing the stage with PM Modi, lamented "being disrespected" because she heard Jai Shree Ram slogans

Farmers threatened to kill if Yogesh didn’t lie and implicate Haryana police, said have already killed others: Watch exclusive confession of ‘masked man’

A person identified as Yogesh, who was detained by the Haryana police on Friday said the farmers at Singhu border threatened to kill him
- Advertisement -

 

Haryana Police confirms that the ‘masked man’ was forced by farmer union leaders to make false allegations against police

While the masked man had said he was tasked by inspector Pradeep to kill farmer leaders, there is no inspector by that name

‘Kisan parade’ in Delhi on Republic Day given green light, claim protesters, Police deny receiving any written submission regarding route: Details

Farmer leaders have claimed that they have received approval to conduct a tractor parade in Delhi on the occasion of Republic Day.

Netizens call out the hypocrisy of Star Wars on ‘bullying’ and ‘racism’ after it comes out in support of liberal actress but ignores bullying...

Despite the vitriolic and racist comments of Krystina Arielle, Star Wars somehow decided to cut her some slack.

The life and times of Vibhor Anand: A clown, fraud or simply deranged? The story of his descent into wild conspiracy theories

Vibhor Anand has spread bizarre conspiracy theories about the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and was arrested for it.

Legendary talk show host Larry King dies in Los Angeles weeks after being hospitalised for Covid-19

Larry King passed away on Saturday at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, announced his company Ora Media

Watch: Taking offence at Jai Shree Ram slogans, Mamata Banerjee walks off stage even as PM Modi and Bengal Governor look on

Mamata Banerjee who was sharing the stage with PM Modi, lamented "being disrespected" because she heard Jai Shree Ram slogans

Noida, Ghaziabad, Prayagraj, Kanpur: Hoax bomb threats ahead of Republic Day keep Uttar Pradesh police on tenterhooks

Fear and panic has the state of Uttar Pradesh in its grips after at least six hoax bomb threats were reported from Noida, Ghaziabad, Allahabad and Kanpur

‘Journalist’ Uday Rana uses filthy language sitting next to a woman, then ‘complains’ about the woman not talking to him

'Journalist' Uday Rana whines that a lady on the fight with him did not acknowledge his "colourful" conversations

Even as ‘masked man’ Yogesh says he was tortured by farmers to lie about murder plot, Rakesh Tikait blames central govt

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait also alleged that a conspiracy has been hatched to kill four of them and create disturbances during their tractor rally.

AAP MLA Somnath Bharti sentenced to 2 years in jail for assaulting AIIMS staff, soon gets bail from High Court

A Delhi Court had found AAP MLA Somnath Bharti guilty of manhandling security personnel at the AIIMS and sentenced him thereof

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
496,912FollowersFollow
22,900SubscribersSubscribe