Friday, March 14, 2008

LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 29 February 2008 issue EDITORIAL

One may claim India to be one nation or view it as one country of many nationalities and/or sub-nationalities. Interpretations are variegated, even conflicting. Despite all this, there is also a longstanding emphasis on the ‘unity in diversity’ that exists, and that ought to exist, in this land of many communities, languages, religions and cultural entities. As long as outside invasions and foreign rulers were there, some common causes and basic bonds between the divergent communities existed. Even Indian nationalism originated in such confluence of necessities coupled with the ‘divine dispensation’ of the British imperialist rule. Our protracted struggle for independence had fostered the ideal and spirit of a casteless, classless, secular, socialist, or at least social welfarist, democratic society enveloping all the different nationalities and communities in a fraternal embrace. But now that the British are ‘out’, it seems the divisions and conflicts are rushing ‘in’ and, instead of unity and fraternity, wild passions of jingoism, parochialism, communalism and bigotry are gaining upper hand. Optimists may see in these developments mere though inevitable side-effects of the long-suppressed ethnic, linguistic, regional, religious, etc. identities bursting out in a freer climate after the ouster of the alien rulers; and pessimists may rue them as an indication of the eventual ‘balkanization’ of the country with few benefits if any for ‘we the people’ at large. But the point is that intolerance and hatred buttressed by mobocracy are becoming the order of the day as exemplified in the recent Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sainik attacks on the ‘outsiders’ in Maharashtra, the Taslima-hunt by communal bigots and a sulky state with the acquiescence of even some so-called leftists, tirades against films like Jodhaa Akbar, flare-ups on criticism of the ‘founding fathers’, etc. etc. Beware, all this would only give rise to the glee of diehard reactionaries and to the subversion of whatever sublime that lies in our constitution and polity §§§

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