This businessman, Ramdev, couldn’t help bringing out the toxicity within. Says people would be beheaded for their refusal to chant the slogan, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. The ‘Langot’-protected, noodle-selling Baba Ramdev is the kind of public figure that we should begin to distance ourselves from, especially because yoga, which powered him into fame, is no longer his concern. This seamless and shameless transition from being a yoga teacher to becoming a hate-monger is disturbing millions of rational Indians.
The ‘Modi-pleasing’ commercialised baba is taking the wrong route to manifest his loyalty to the Indian leader. He misunderstands the Prime Minister’s ideology. Narendra Modi has never endorsed the idea of nationalist sloganeering; it is the attention-seeking ‘chamchas’ who are derailing the PM’s idea of a rational, coherent India.
But then, the former yoga teacher was never known for his good judgment. He is brain dead for me when introducing the language of violence and coercion into public speech. Political aspirations have often resulted in insanity, and baba is a classic example…
But forget him. He is inconsequential.
The larger point is this: I don’t need to wear patriotism on my sleeve. Gestures of patriotism in a country as wide and large as India will be varied. If I pay my taxes, don’t harm fellow Indians, maintain cleanliness and don’t cheat, I am more patriotic than someone who chants ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ while harbouring ill will for others.
Ruthless crackdowns in the name of nationalism on universities like the Hyderabad University and JNU, and more recently in NIT in Srinagar, snowballed into major confrontations.
At a time when we should be working towards integrating J&K with the rest of India by providing quality education and jobs for the hundreds of thousands of helpless youths, the non-local students are asking for shifting NIT from the State. Now, isn’t that what the separatists want? Aren’t we feeding their plot?
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is another motor mouth. He said those who don’t say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ should leave the country. It’s the kind of mindset that leaves one speechless. What does one say to such a regressive person? Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu distanced NDA from what both Ramdev and Fadnavis said, but nothing is being done to put a leash on these extremists.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was quite thoughtful when he said one need not chant slogans to prove he is truly Indian. Mother India herself wouldn’t want the chanting of her glorification as proof of belonging. There are better ways.