I Can’t Be Forced to Be a Nationalist

In one of his interviews, Kiren Rijiju, the junior Home Minister of India, said all ideologies should subjugate themselves to the ideology of Nationalism. And then he made a claim that Naxals and Leftists celebrate when an Indian soldier dies. Well…Naxals might indeed be celebrating because they are into the business of killing people and won’t mind gore of their perceived enemy; however, those who are protest marching in DU today though being Leftists are not Naxals, so I don’t think they celebrate the death of an Indian soldier. 

However, my problem is bigger. Kiren Rijiju by subjugating all other ideologies to the ideology of Nationalism is forcing me to celebrate the death of a Pakistani soldier or a Naxal or even a Kashmiri separatist at the hands of an Indian soldier. And my problem is that I just can’t do that. And why should I do that? Just because I am a citizen of India. Do I have a choice otherwise? Is there any concept of global citizenship, which I can adopt while relinquishing Indian citizenship? Of course, not. So, all those who become ministers and administrators have a responsibility to grant citizenship on fulfilling conditions under law, and no Indian code specifies recognition, acceptance and adherence to nationalism as a supreme ideology as a necessary precondition for grant of citizenship of India. In fact, under International law (Article 15 of UDHR), Indian government is obliged to grant me citizenship. So, stop spreading this nonsense. 

At the same time, I have a serious problem with the projection of Gurmehar Kaur too. Her only claim to fame is her father’s martyrdom, which means she is the most suitable crowd puller for the nationalists. In fact, she is being projected as an alternative face of Nationalism, which is softer and more humanistic, for she hates wars. But, it is still Nationalism. In fact, projection of Gurmehar Kaur is endorsement of Kiren Rijiju’s argument that Nationalism should reign supreme. 

It is pretty clear that this girl has been projected by the AAP. The AAP is a party of serious contradictions. It is as much Right as it is Left, which indeed makes them opportunists though not as bad as some regional parties like NCP, JD(U), BJD, etc. But that’s only because they have very strong independent corporate support, which in many ways makes them even more dangerous. In any case, I think no leader in the AAP can dare claim himself to be an anti-national. In fact, no leader in any political party whatsoever can claim himself to be an anti-national. Nationalism is their bread and butter. They live and die for running the nation. I being an anti-national therefore don’t have any affinity for any political party. Indeed, I despise all terrorist organizations, whether State sponsored terrorists or rebels, but I don’t celebrate their deaths, for I am a humanist. 

In the current paradigm, I am indeed a persona non-grata in India, but since they don’t have a choice they can’t throw me out of this country. If they do, I will approach the courts. I am a lawyer, therefore it is easier for me to make such a choice, but I think unless individuals (esp. artists, entertainers, writers, academicians, activists, journalists, lawyers, judges, doctors, etc) start making such hard choices, the politicians will keep forcing peace loving individuals to terrorism one way or the other: in war time, all individuals become soldiers/terrorists, and war can indeed be a civil war like in Gujarat, Delhi and Bombay during communal riots. I think all individuals have a right not to be nationalist/terrorist, and no nation can demand a terrorist disposition just for granting citizenship. India is no exception: it is just a tragedy of birth. 

Please also read I Am Indeed Anti National.

(Checkout my new book Kerala Hugged)

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Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored six books: "Kerala Hugged"; "Light: Philosophy"; "Flare: Opinions"; "Sparks: Satire and Reviews"; "Writings @ Ankur Mutreja"; and "Nine Poems"; which can be downloaded free from the links on the top menu.

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