Nationalism, a modern political narration, flourished across the globe in different nature of colour, cuisine, creed, culture, race , religion, region, and language etc. This ‘ism’ mobilised mass to cripple the imperialism on the one side and built a new road to majoritarian polities on the other. The very idea of Indian nationalism evolved as a struggle against British colonial suppression and to obtain freedom thereof. The political mobilisation under Indian national congress, peasants organisations, Radical left movements and trade unions brought people under a single platform, Indian national movement.Inspite of linguistics, class, ideological, religious , philosophical and political differences the cooperation, mutual respect, democratic values and secularism was the essence of Indian nationalism. The entry of Mahatma Ghandi, into the picture of Indian national movement vitalised the aforesaid features of nationalism, especially the cooperation between religious groups and, planted a pluralistic political culture across the nation.

Hindutva and Paradigm shift

The disintegration of USSR, and consequent political propaganda of United States of America, in the international flora, ‘Green Danger’ painted terrorist and trouble maker colour on muslims, and its effects started to reflect in Indian subcontinent also. The anti Muslim tendency orchestrated by the western world applied by the advocates of Hindu rashtra on the wounds of partition caused the emergence of new radical apolitical religious groups, which later fuelled to the demolition of Babari Masjid in 1992. In the meantime the nationalism geared to Hindu Rashtra, especially in Hindi belt. Nevertheless, the secular feature of Indian nationalism continued till 2014. The post 2014, witnessed a paradigm shift in the discourse of Indian nationalism. The exploitation of fourth estate and social media by Hindutva forces tainted the social psyche of Indian people to think of a Hindu Rashtra, which reflected in the political issues from cow vigilantism to CAA – NRC shows where the nationalism stands and its direction to. Even it threw up science and profiled the Muslims as carriers of coronavirus.

Anti Minority nationalism

The journey towards ultra-nationalism culminates in anti-minority politics or ‘politics of othering’. It’s been crystal clear from the past incidents whether it is love jihad or Pulwama terrorist attack or cow vigilantism or National anthem in cinema halls or triple talaq or uniform civil code or Citizenship Amendment Act or spike of positive corona cases in India, that Muslims are being targeted by the Hindutva backed government. Moreover, it’s very interesting to note that the criticisms against the Hindutva led governments are considered as anti-national or from Pak agents. Apart from these, the overwhelming support of people to the propagations of Hindutva is alarming the jeopardised situation of Indian democracy as well as the Indian nationalism. When we analyse the anti-minority issues case by case, the mainstream secular political parties have turned a deaf ear and skipped such issues from their campaigns shows that the Hindutva forces have hijacked the discourse of nationalism, and empowered themselves to redefine the future of India.

The way Forward

The paramount hegemony of Hindutva over the discourse of nationalism and patriotism should be countered urgently on ideological lines.Firstly, the constant effort to legitimise the majoritarian nationalism through the academic discourse have to be defended. Secondly, it’s the responsibility of the mainstream secular parties to address the Hindutva projection. Finally, a collective effort of the intellectuals, working professionals and students of the nation is necessary otherwise, the basic principles of Indian nationalism will be replaced by the majoritarian principles of tyranny and theocracy and, ultimately to undermine the Democratic republic nature of India.

Mohamed Rashid K C is a Law student at Government law college, Ernakulam


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