Friday, 13 May 2016 12:18

Bharat Mata ki jai is short-cut patriotism

Bharat Mata ki jai is short-cut patriotism


By: anonymous


"Bharat Mata ki Jai" is the latest weapon in the hands of the right wing forces in the country, a weapon with which they want to turn the tide against their adversaries, brand them as anti-national, and assert their own authority and power in a totalitarian regime they want to build. While there is no doubt that supreme dedication to one's motherland is desirable, there have been objections from some sections of the society to chanting the "Bharat Mata ki Jai" slogan. 


For some Christians and Muslims, chanting such a slogan would mean some form of nature worship or polytheism, which is prohibited in their religion. This is not a new issue. In fact, at the time of independence, there was an attempt to make Vande ma Taram (meaning worship of the motherland) as our national anthem. Some Christians, Sikhs and Muslims had raised their religious reservations even then, and the matter was sensibly handled by our first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and other prime figures in the Constituent Assembly who found merit in the objections, and proclaimed Jana Gana Mana as the national anthem instead.


Sixty-nine years down the line, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and its ideological motivator, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha, are opening this Pandora's box again for electoral gain, ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The BJP and the RSS know that the reservations of some people are valid on religious grounds, but they are adding fuel to this conspiracy in order to create suspicion in one section of the people on the other section's patriotism. this will enable them to mobilise people on communal lines and script victory in polls. 


For the BJP, this is a tested tactic. Two and a had decades ago, they had opened another Pandora's box, the Ram temple issue, and the outcome was for everyone to see. While the country was pushed to the margins with Bombay blasts and Bombay riots, which were the result of inflamed communal passion stemming from the Rath yatra, the BJP rose from a measly two seats tally in the 1984 Lok Sabha to becoming the single largest party with over 150 seats in 1996.


Bharat Mata is not a deity and does not find mention in even the sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas or Puranas. She is merely the manifestation of one's devotion to one's motherland. Liberals have been questioning that if a citizen wants to express or manifest his love and dedication to the country in some other form, such as social welfare work, through philanthropy, through art and culture, through songs and dance, through literature, but not necessarily by way of chanting Bharat Mata ki jai, what is the harm in that?


The most important thing is that one should have love for the country, and that love is instinctive. It cannot be imposed. Many Muslims have come out saying, they can die for the country saying Bharat Zindabad or Jai Hind, but not Bharat Mata ki jai which would mean polytheism, something forbidden by their faith. But the RSS and the BJP and their like-minded army of people are not ready to buy the argument.


While Baba Ramdev shocked the nation saying the heads of such people should be chopped off who do not recite Bharat Mata ki jai, BJP's ally in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, said that the citizenship of the 'defaulters' should be revoked. What is worrying particularly, is the Congress's refusal to confront the BJP on the issue. The Congress had played the soft-Hindutva card even in the days leading to the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, fearing any opposition of the BJP's Hindutva politics might prove it costly in elections. 


Driven by the same fear, it is keeping mum on the issue. In fact, when Maharashtra legislators decided to expel Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA for refusing to chant the slogan, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party MLAs supported the move. This was ridiculous as our constitution does not make it mandatory to chant Bharat Mata ki jai.


Experts point out that the atheists will, in the first place, not see the country as any God or Goddess, and they will, hence, refuse to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai. But does that mean they are anti-nationals? Of-course, not. The real test for one's dedication to the country is how much he can contribute to its socio-economic success story in individual capacity. Bharat Mata ki Jai is a short cut patriotism that can enable any God-damn work shirker to become a patriot by mechanical chanting of the four words. And that would be a dangerous irony. 


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