• A Nation Filled with Anti-Nationals!

    K. P. Sasi

    November 13, 2016

    Untitled, (c) Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, 1993

    I thought the Muslims were the only anti-nationals in this country. But I was mistaken. Earlier, thousands of people including even women and children who were questioning the Koodankulam nuclear plant were declared as anti-nationals. They are not the only ones outside the community of Muslims, though. Over 11,000 NGOs in India are restricted from the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), while the Prime Minister himself has been flying around all the time for foreign funds. The technical and bureaucratic reasons given by the government may not appear to be convincing enough to anybody who studies the subject. The majority of the NGOs who are targeted belong to Christian groups. But there is no word of resistance from the Christian leaders. They are still trying to solve problems through the back door, without realising that the issue is political, and an open attack on the minorities. Apart from the Christian NGOs, there are also NGOs which are involved in human rights and environmental issues. Some of them have decided to fight against this illegal discrimination. These include organisations like Greenpeace, INSAF, People’s Watch and many others. There are also court orders favouring them. But the Government has decided to crush all dissent. They are also bracketed as anti-nationals.

    On the surface, activists are of the opinion that the decision of the government to target Greenpeace was due to their critical views on nuclear energy and mining. But the government had to bow down to international pressure and renew the FCRA for Greenpeace (INSAF, People’s Watch and others are still struggling). As per the words of Henri of People’s Watch, the government’s order is absolutely illegal. When the government violates the law, it is the responsibility of NGOs and civil society organisations to question it collectively. Unfortunately, those who resist are also not managing to generate enough support from other NGOs. The term ‘nationalism’ is often used to target NGOs belonging to the minorities and those who are involved with environmental and human rights issues. Perhaps, Hegel’s words may be a useful reminder in this condition: ‘A fighting slave is not a slave.’ The moment a slave decides to fight, he or she is liberated from slavery in his or her consciousness.

    How is it that dissenting views on environment, development and human rights are ‘anti-national’ today? How is it that the freedom of association as per the Indian Constitution is becoming ‘anti-national’ today? To understand this problem, it may be better for us to understand the mind-set of the government and the Sangh Parivar on nationalism – since the problem is not just with the NGOs and the right to freedom of association. In a nutshell, the official views of the government and the unofficial views of the Sangh Parivar on nationalism go like this:

    All academic campuses are filling up with anti-nationals these days. Jawaharlal Nehru University is definitely anti-national. And why are you so bothered about a missing Najeeb when there is ABVP in JNU to protect our nationalism?

    Hyderabad Central University is filled with Dalit anti-nationals. If an anti-national student has committed suicide there, it must be because of his guilt of being an anti-national. Can’t you see how many anti-national Dalit students are committing suicide in many of our so-called prestigious universities and educational institutions? Still, the government is not putting all these struggling anti-national students behind bars under the UAPA. We are giving them enough time to realise their guilt like Rohith Vemula did.

    So, to protect our nationalism, the government has decided to cut funds for every anti-national university and educational institution. The government cannot afford to spend money to teach the anti-national students – they must pay for their own education. Even after spending the major share of the budget on war and war-related areas and even after employing most of our scientists in research on war and war-related issues, we do not have enough money to protect our nation. So, let all anti-national students pay for their own education.

    These youngsters are also getting inspired by many dreaded anti-nationals like Medha Patkar, Teesta Setalvad, Arundhati Roy, Abhay Sahoo, SP Uday Kumar and many others. They do not want development in this country.

    And adivasis were anti-nationals right from Birsa Munda’s time onwards. Look at the way they are opposing the entry of all major corporate projects in their areas. These adivasis can’t even understand that they are ‘vanavasis’. To make them realise this we are removing them from the forests. But there is a stumbling block here: they are trying to get protection and cover under the Forest Rights Act. We need a little more time to declare all such acts as anti-national.

    And as millions of anti-national children of adivasis continue to die of malnutrition in Maharashtra, we have found a way to deal with this problem. We put up hoardings saying – ‘I am a nationalist, I am a patriot and I am a born Hindu.’ Even then they do not understand.

    The crippled ex-serviceman who came in a wheelchair to watch a film in a theatre did not even get up when the national anthem was played. Even the disabled are becoming anti-nationals these days.

    Even writers, filmmakers, poets and cultural personalities today do not have any respect for their country. They are returning their national awards.

    But our intelligence departments are doing good work to identify the anti-nationals. The anti-national youths are wearing T-shirts with pictures of Bob Marley in south India. We have done everything to scare them. Why can’t they wear T-shirts with the image of Veer Savarkar?

    On top of it, they are even kissing in public as a part of their protest strategies. These anti-nationals do not have any morals. Do we object to even rapes if they are hidden? Did we object to even rape of the minorities in public in Gujarat, Muzaffarnagar or Kandhamal? If they want to do such things, they should do it in a truly nationalistic and patriotic manner and not according to the Indian Constitution. We are aware that the architect of Indian Constitution, Ambedkar had denounced Hinduism and burnt the Manusmriti. Please give us some more time to change his version of the Indian Constitution. In fact, the Manusmriti lay down all the necessary laws for the Indian citizens. You can find even our respected Brahmin judges quoting the Manusmriti instead of the Indian Constitution in hundreds of judgements, all the while establishing justice. But our anti-nationals do not even listen to such supreme words of wisdom.

    We are spending enough money to fill our country twith nationalists. But these people do not listen. They are all becoming anti-nationals in large numbers.

    Why did Indira Gandhi declare Emergency? She was wrong. She should have done it without declaring it. Our government and unofficial social organisations which take the law into their own hands have a democratic way of declaring Emergency. Your do not have to declare Emergency.

    The above description so far seems to be the attitude of the central government, the states controlled by the BJP, and the Sangh Parivar. But recently, they seem to have overstepped a little their promotion of such nationalism.

    Recently, the government included even a prominent news channel in their list of anti-nationals. The list of anti-nationals today include even the mainstream media. Even NDTV is being targeted today. Personally speaking, I think it is a good move. The mainstream journalists who are so used to publishing only official versions of news as their daily diet, will be forced to rethink from now onwards. And if they do not rethink, sooner or later many other channels and newspapers will also be targeted as anti-nationals in the days to come. And if that happens, it would be nice fun. A nation filled with anti-nationals! Just think of it. Enjoy the fun!


    K. P. Sasi is a filmmaker and an activist. He can be contact at kpsasi36[at]gmail[dot]com.

    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.