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Counter Hard

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How quickly the lessons of India’s past have been forgotten! The sense of civilisational nationhood that was awakened following centuries of subjugation to invaders is being questioned today by the very people that have benefited from freedom and democracy! The improvement in the quality of life is being taken for granted out of ignorance of what has brought it about. It is not the poor who still have to struggle to make a living that are questioning the Indian identity, but the privileged and the powerful, who have enjoyed power and status over generations.

It is true that this cultivation of regional identity for personal gain has manifested itself from time to time since Independence. From the extreme violence of the Khalistan supporters to the ‘insurgencies’ in the North-East that prevented generations from receiving the benefits of nationhood, the people have been repeatedly betrayed by the selfish and shortsighted manipulators. It would seem as though the general acknowledgement of diversity prevented realisation of the essential unity.

Lessons have also not been learned from the experience of those who broke away – Pakistan sought a separate identity and has been in continuous collapse for want of the unifying civilisational feature – religion did not serve that purpose. Bangladesh came into being and, now, Baloch and Pathan insurgencies are continuing to rage. Sum total – the common people are suffering. The Tamils of Sri Lanka paid a heavy price in the effort to divide a small island on the basis of religion and ethnicity.

It is an irony that the person who is leading the so- called Bharat Jodo Yatra has been among those who deny India’s national identity. Leaders of Tamil Nadu’s ruling party are in the news these days for blatantly betraying the constitutional oath they have taken to uphold the nation’s unity and territorial integrity. In West Bengal, there is growing evidence of how the state’s power has been surrendered to contractors given the task of ensuring votes during election time, at any cost.

Despite all this, India is much more a stable democracy than many parts of the world where nations are in existential meltdown, facing perpetual war and civilisational collapse. Even the major democracies are facing serious ideological divides. It is important, therefore, for India to adopt a completely uncompromising approach towards anti-national nonsense, even if it comes from those embedded in the political mainstream. It must be ensured by the voters, with all the toughness required, that anybody who enters politics must have a basic respect for India’s civilisation and its fundamental belief system.