Nationalism is taking a severe beating these days at the hands of Hindutva forces. The irony of the situation is that the forces of Hindutva are posing as the sole champions of nationalism while doing their damnedest to undermine it.
It is essentially subservient to humanism in the sense that nationalism must be subordinate to humanism and not the other way …
The will to national unity is not necessarily predicted on any fixed ethnic, cultural or religious pattern of affiliation, but usually, cuts across such patterns and transcends them, nationalism is a phenomenon that cannot be identified with any particular race or culture or religion within the territory occupied by a political community.
By the same token, nationalism cannot be appropriated and monopolised by any one section. It makes no sense to claim that majority is by definition and essence the embodiment of nationalism and hat only a minority group can be anti-national.
A majority can be no less capable of anti-nationalism and that too of a far more dangerous kind, than a minority. On the sheer logic arithmetic, the greater the numbers, the greater the mischief they are capable of.
The champions of Hindutva, therefore, need to realise that they do not understand the A, B, C of nationalism when they equate the latter with the former.
A Pandora box of anti-nationalism will have been opened and the fall-out would be too horrendous to contemplate.
Let the past be referred to only in order that might unlearn its follies and not repeat and compound them to our detriment in our day and age.
The temple controversy brings to the fore the crisis of Indian nationalism in a dramatic fashion. A temple cannot be made the foundation of nationalism or the touchstone of patriotism as claimed by the champions of Hindutva.
It is only a robust secularism and not Hindutva that can be the sheet-anchor national policy.
By – Sameer Dilwar Shaikh, Facebook
Excerpts from ‘Hindutva versus Nationalism’ published in ‘ The Secularist’, Issue no 127, January-February 1991.