On March 3, the RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat had said the new generation needs to be taught to chant slogans hailing mother India. His comments were made against the backdrop of the row over alleged anti-India sloganeering on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus.
“Now the time has come when we have to tell the new generation to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ (hail mother India). It should be real, spontaneous and part of all-round development of the youth,” the RSS chief had said. The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi challenged it in the most candid language, “I don’t chant that slogan. What are you going to do, Bhagwat sahib? I won’t utter that (slogan) even if you put a knife to my throat. Nowhere in the Constitution it says that one should say: Bharat Mata ki Jai.”
First, let me express my opinion about this argument and counter-argument. It is simply a verbal gymnastic from either side – an absolutely useless exercise. Chanting some lyrics or slogans doesn’t make one national or anti-national. What surprised me was that the advice to chant is coming from the head of an out-fit that did not consider it fit to hoist the TRICOLOR on top of its headquarters for decades. It is a party that was banned for its involvement in ghastly murder of Father of the Nation by no other than Sardar Patel – the Iron Man of India.
Just to go in backdrop, the ‘RSS’ founder Shri Savarkar has submitted the following appeal to British Masters during his incarceration:
Petition from V D Savarkar (Convict No. 32778) to the Home Member of the Government of India, dated the 14th November, 1913.
“I beg to submit the following points for your kind consideration:
………….May I remind your honour to be so good as to go through the petition for clemency, that I had sent in 1911, and to sanction it for being forwarded to the Indian Government? The latest development of the Indian politics and the conciliating policy of the government have thrown open the constitutional line once more. Now no man having the good of India and Humanity at heart will blindly step on the thorny paths which in the excited and hopeless situation of India in 1906-1907 beguiled us from the path of peace and progress. Therefore if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress.
As long as we are in jails there cannot be real happiness and joy in hundreds and thousands of homes of His Majesty’s loyal subjects in India, for blood is thicker than water; but if we be released the people will instinctively raise a shout of joy and gratitude to the government, who knows how to forgive and correct, more than how to chastise and avenge. Moreover my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the Government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise. The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and therefore where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the Government?
Hoping your Honour will kindly take into notion these points.” ….The End
I can add plethora of other points to corroborate my point of view that those who live in glass-houses should not throw stones at other’s habitat. RSS chief has no right to demand others what they failed to do, prove and follow in past. Dear Physician, heal thyself!
Asked by reporters to comment on the condemnation of his statement, Owaisi said he stood by it. “Whom is he (Bhagwat) trying to frighten? He can’t force his ideology on others.”
I always love and I’ve loved my motherland. These sentiments run in my blood. However, a question that was nagging always somewhere in the layers of thoughts – Why do we always refer India as ‘Bharat Mata?’ especially when one equates it in physical terms similar to the other deities religion- specific.
There has always been a theological dialogue even in Hindu religion about SAKAR and NIRAKAR Bhagwan – a God-with-a-form or God-without-form, the unseen. Then we have the arguments about Sagun Biraham and Nirgun Biraham. Not going deeper into those religious studies about multiple disciplines and their methodologies including anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy and history of religion, I would love to know why we do not usually call India as our ‘Father Land??’ It reminds me of another interesting lyric, the Welsh Nation Anthem ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ means “Old Land of My Fathers” in Welsh. A simple English Version of anthem goes as follows:
“The land of my fathers is dear to me,
Old land where the minstrels are honoured and free;
Its warring defenders so gallant and brave,
For freedom their life’s blood they gave.
Wales, Wales, true am I to Wales,
While seas secure the land so pure,
O may the old language endure.
Old land of the mountains, the Eden of bards,
Each gorge and each valley a loveliness guards;
Through love of my country, charmed voices will be
Its streams, and its rivers, to me.
Though foemen have trampled my land ‘neath their feet,
The language of Cambria still knows no retreat;
The muse is not vanquished by traitor’s fell hand,
Nor silenced the harp of my land.
The simple solution to my query was suggested by a female friend – “In peasant countries, people who live off a hopefully fertile earth will see their land as a nurturing mother; in militaristic ones they’ll see it as a male war leader. Wales is a land of ‘fathers’, but only because of the anthem, but Anglesey is called the mother of Wales (Mon Mam Cymru) because of its fertile soil.”
It stands to reason as Bharat is a Krishi Pradan country. According to experts – Indian agriculture began by 9000 BP as a result of early cultivation of plants, and domestication of crops and animals. Settled life soon followed with implements and techniques being developed for agriculture. Plants and animals that were essential to survival came to be worshiped and venerated. And so we revere Bharat Mata.
However, the famous historian Romila Thapar’s view could be added to link with the subject of this article. She calls the prevailing ideas as “Communal Interpretation” of Indian history, in which events in the last thousand years are interpreted solely in terms of a notional continual conflict between monolithic Hindu and Muslim communities. Thapar says this communal history is “extremely selective” in choosing facts, “deliberately partisan” in interpretation and does not follow current methods of analysis using multiple, prioritised causes.
The RSS dictates about ‘Cultural Nationalism’ or ‘National vs Anti-National’ lurks in the shadows of sadistic desire to dominate the other sects and cultures that are different from the Aryan Hindu Culture. The dogged insistence of the Saffron Outfit had turned the serious issues of ‘Nationalism and anti-Nationalism’ into a cheap talk, a joke that is lampooned by the ordinary citizens. The definition of RSS ‘Patriotism’ is not acceptable across the board. All Indians are equal and RSS can’t have its way without changing the Indian Constitution.
Let me remind Mohan Bhagwat what Moulana Altaf Hussain ‘Hali’ the great Urdu scholar had once said:
“Ey watan, ey merey bahisht-e-bareen,
Kiya huey who terey aasman o zameen,
Teri ek musht-e-khak ke badley,
Loon na hargiz agar bahist miley.”
“Oh my country, oh my paradise, what happened to your earth and sky? I shall never exchange heaven for a handful of your dust.”
So, the gist of story is – We all are as nationalist as you are Mr. Bhagwat. Please do not lecture us about Nationalism!
To conclude, Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi should not have reacted the way he had. We don’t have to answer every howler of frustrated fanatics!
By Naim Naqvi
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