The parallels between Modi’s “Make in India” and Trump’s “Making America Great” again are drawn in the context of their meeting held yesterday. These aphorisms almost sound the same and are tinged with nationalistic flavors. As Aristotle taught in the “Rhetoric”, patriotism invokes emotions among the people. In the name of the country (patriotism), the gullible masses can be made to kill other human beings who do not belong to their “land”.
To me, patriotism is a primal animalistic quality, just like the dogs fight over their territories with the other dogs. In the case of dogs, their territories are marked with scents. In the case of human beings, their territories are marked with written documents and mutual negotiations, and if they fail to negotiate the territorial boundaries, they resort to violence and war. But the human beings do not just fight for their lands, they also fight for their tribes, and for their “people”, and for their “views”, and for their “religions”.
It is the larger part of human consciousness is struck in the animal consciousness that only operates on the basis of instincts of fear, sex, and food. The dignity of the human beings is not measured by the character they posses, but by the power and the wealth.
When Modi and Trump met, it was meeting of the two nationalists to further their jingoistic and nationalistic interests.
Trump was delighted that Modi bought weapons from the USA, which Trump claimed to be the best weapons!! It is almost ironic that two heads of the states talk gleefully about weapons. It is ironic that two democracies, the oldest and the largest, will try to forge arms deals. Trump and Modi also vowed to destroy “radical Islamic terror” together. They should have vowed to destroy terror in any form and not qualified terror with “radical Islamic”.
The terror exists in all forms and practiced by people from all religious denominations. It is the terror that must be destroyed, not just “Radical Islamic” terror! There is a scope to associate on very many levels but look at the delegation of Modi who was flanked by India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Dhoval, underlining that the only issue that is to address is “security”. The external threats to India’s nation states do exist, but there is also politics and trade to mitigate the threats. When will we start using this option of politics and trade to counter threats?
We will have to demonstrate to the world that there are other possibilities to counter terror. India will soon be the largest concentration of the Muslims in the world. Muslims constitute 14 percent of India’s population and they are not “radicalized”. The Muslims in India have contributed to India’s culture as much as other religious groups did. It is not fair to talk in terms of Muslims in India as Muslims, but they primarily Indian citizens and have equal rights at par with any Indian.
Though they have been affected by the Hindu nationalists (terror) wave, they have not yet taken a divisive stand, because the majority of them belong to India. This is where they were born and accepted Islam as a part of the escape from the caste system. Over 80 percent of the Muslims in India register themselves as the backward classes. India can demonstrate to the world, including the Muslim world, that how democracy can include all and make everyone leave at peace with each other.
If reports are to be believed and what Putin told Modi in their recent meeting, India might see a wave of terror from radical Islam, and if in that process, 14 percent of Indians participate, it will be doom for our country. We must keep narrow political interest aside for the survival of the country.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist