[dropcap]I[/dropcap] am a liberal/libertarian and rationalist, which leads me to hold an inclusive, nationalist position on India. Those who want to Balkanize India into fragments need to get their head checked; they are stark, staring mad. There is every rational reason to come to the conclusion that the Indian Union as a sovereign, immutable entity under an inclusive constitution, represented by the esteemed tricolour, is vital to the survival of 1.2 billion people living within its geographic region.
To those elements within the JNU campus — ultra-leftist anarchists and their Jihadist friends who were raising slogans towards the dismembering of the Indian Union — I say, India with all its flaws is the last hope of humanity. And I say this not as a table thumping, ultra-patriotic hyperbole, but as a statement of fact.
Just imagine the chaos that would ensue if the Union falls apart like Syria or Iraq! Imagine Syria for a moment and multiply it one billion fold and that would be the chaos that would result if these people have their dark fantasies of wanting to Balkanize a nation as diverse, as fragile as India and delicately resting upon countless religious, caste, regional, linguistic fault-lines.
India is a miracle country, but it’s still young and fragile and poor and learning to walk, getting on its feet. These people want to turn city against city, village against village, slum against slum, community against community, Hindu against Muslim against Christian, caste against caste…
A broken India would perhaps be the greatest humanitarian crisis ever witnessed in the history of mankind. This is no hyperbole but a rational fact.
So please! Leave this poor, poverty stricken nation trying its best to get on its feet alone. Take your dark, anarchist fantasies elsewhere. Take your blood thirst elsewhere. Leave the 1.2 billion people alone so they have some kind of future where they achieve some kind of quality of life for all its struggling masses.
I have been following the developments at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India for the past few days — protests, counter protests, police action, sloganeering, flag burning, so on and so forth! I am all for universities being centres of free speech and platforms for dangerous ideas. There should be unmitigated and unfettered freedom of expression in a republic, especially and particularly on university campuses. Just a small nagging doubt, though.
What will happen if someone tomorrow, in the midst of this ensuing chaos, draws a few cartoons of Prophet Muhammad? Will the proponents of absolute free speech hold their ground? Will they stand up for students right to free speech to do that too?
If the answer is yes, then my slight cynicism around all this would be misplaced. How’s that for a real litmus test on the limits of free speech?
There is a striking similarity with this and the sequence of events in Tunisia, Syria, Egypt and across the region (some of them had good outcomes, one must admit). It all ended with the dismembering of Syria and Iraq and making almost everyone there refugees and beggars. It might take perhaps a century for the region to come back to something like normal.
The left in India should shed their extremist views as much as the right, else we are doomed. Our friends on the ultra-left talk of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in those terms. Looks to me a well orchestrated campaign towards destabilization. Soon we won’t have a nation to dissent against. Enough is enough! Everyone needs to take a step back.
My primary concern is this and this is a genuine concern. This is how it all started in Syria. We can express our dissent towards government, towards anything. But to suggest dismembering the nation from Kashmir to Kerala? What sense does that make? And does it stop even there? Will it be azadi village by village? Will it be ghetto by ghetto? What kind of a future is that?
Recently Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi was beaten into submission and not a whimper from the liberal elite! It is this sort of double standards that’s giving fodder to the Sangh Parivar. Why there is a double standard when it comes to assaults on the freedom of press by the Sangh Parivar as opposed to those by Muslim organisations like the popular front?