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Rohit Dhankar

First some unidentified people in JNU raised slogans threatening to break India. Some identified students among them chipped in, with less threatening but still bad enough, threats to continue war on India. They, in their revolutionary wisdom, think that rejecting the Indian state and waging war on the nation will ensure justice with Kashmiri people. One wonders what is more important for them: justice or malice towards India.

Then the head of a supposed to be ‘Hindu Rakshak’ organization (Bhagwat) tells the nation that time has come when our students should be taught to chant “Bharat Mata ki jai” rather than issuing threats to break India and/or wage war on it. The supremo of the august body thinks teaching of shouting slogans is a matter of indoctrination which could be done this way or that. His understanding of nation and citizens in it takes him only thus far. He seem to think that it is a matter of ritual rather than concerns and commitment.

This wise advice to the country irks a chief of a religious fiefdom (Owaisi) calling itself a political party; which has its roots in the communal Razakar militia. The chief interprets the self-appointed Hindu-rakshak’s advice as a compulsion and strikes a defiant pose proclaiming that he will not chant “Bharat mata ki jai” even under the threat of cutting his throat. He makes it as if the self-appointed Hindu-Rakshak (Bhagwat) actually issues such a threat. The defiant pose of the fiefdom chief raises a nationwide controversy. And every one either starts criticizing him or defending him; some start threatening him and asking his to go to Pakistan.

Stroking the fire further a lawmaker in a state assembly asks another lawmaker to chant “Bharat Mata ki jai” out of blue; without rhyme and reason. The matter under discussion had nothing to do with Bharat mata, and the point the lawmaker was making was actually a good one: why waste money of statues rather than using it for public good? Not to be outdone the other lawmaker firmly refused to chant Bharat mata slogan. That made all the lawmakers in that assembly forget their solemn oath of protecting the constitution and they all unite to suspend the recalcitrant lawmaker; and simultaneously giving a blow to the constitution. It seems chanting Bharat Mata slogan is the crux of running the nation, while the constitution is only an inconvenience.

Meanwhile the party in power at the center (BJP) loses all sense of its responsibility and passes a resolution in its executive to the effect that criticism of the nation and not chanting “Bharat mata …” will not be tolerated. Well, the constitution allows criticism of the nation and does not demand chanting of any mata’s jai; but who cares about the constitution any more. Nor does it specify what will it do if someone criticizes the nation and does not chat the desired “jai”? This totally illogical and malicious resolution can be defended by no argument. But its minions at the ground level take the hint and start beating those who refuse to chant the desired slogan. Perhaps that was the only purpose of that resolution: to unleash violent mobs on the citizens who do not agree with them and scare them.

How can the most respected religious seminary (Deoband) lose the opportunity to jump in the frey? So it jumps right in with its illogical fatwa. It proclaims that chanting “Bharat mata ki jai” is not acceptable in Islam as a Muslim can worship only the Allal. As we all know Allah is extremely jealous of his unique position and accepts nothing else as worshipable. But the seminary sees no problem shouting “Hinduatan jindabad” and calling India “mathare watan”. They forget that ‘vandana’ may be interpreted as worship but ‘jai’ is not worship at all. It only wishes victory. Terefore, chanting “Bharat Mata ki jai” is not at all worship; it simply means ‘hail Bharat Mata’ or ‘victory to Bharat mata’. Not chanting a slogan and declaring it against Islam is not the same thing. You can refuse to chant it, that is your right. But what it is no act of worship. How different is the idea of ‘mathare-vatan’ than ‘rashtra-mata’? If not much it is a matter of the name only. But who cares about such niceties. You have to offer your own hard illogical stand against the others idiotic and hard illogical stand. As if they are in competition with each other to bag the title of ‘most senseless and illogical pronouncements’.

One wonders, what next? Are all these people (from the sloganeers, to Bhagwat, to Owaisi to Maharasthra MLAs to Deoband, and their supporters) simply confused or interested in spreading malice? Do they actually have any convictions at all, or interested in one up manship only? Where will this cycle of stupidity stop? Who is the target of all this illogical malice? Who but the common Indian citizen?

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