The Media which played a vital role in the struggle for Independence by sending shivers down the spines of the Britishers through their patriotic songs, poems and articles is now one of the factors in degrading the feeling of nationalism among the masses. The TRP game is eating into the fourth pillar of Democracy.
India has 29 states with different culture and civilizations and one of the most populated countries in the world, coming second after China with a population of 1.3 billion individuals according to the CIA World Factbook. India is a home to multiple languages, customs, religions, cuisines. India is a country with a deep-rooted sense of nationalism in its soil. A country which emerged as a victor after a long and hard struggle for its freedom from the clutches of the Imperial Rule. It was the feeling of ‘Nationalism’ which helped India achieve the herculean task. The ‘feeling of unity’ among its people, the ‘sense of patriotism’ and the belief in ‘One India’. As Mahatma Gandhi has stated, “a national spirit is necessary for national existence.”
Though India has had a history of certain problems within itself, first being that of ‘race’ from the ancient times, then the Rule of British, Partition, Political Issues and now the “Cultural Emergency”. India has fought against many kings and queens in order to protect itself from the outsiders because of a sense of belongingness felt by the rulers towards its “Bharat Mata”. But, now the issue arising is of the fact that its very own nationals are creating a nuisance in the name of being Indians for the country itself. In recent times, we have seen that this feeling of nationalism has suffered greatly and it seems like it is slowly disappearing from the nationals. A country which is famous worldwide for its tolerance for multiple cultural residing in one home.
Since ancient time, we have seen that India has been a home to many different religions and has thus, developed multiple layers of culture. The country which has always propagated the principle of “unity in diversity” is facing an imminent threat to its nationalism. The recent one being of the Karnataka, wherein the political leaders are demanding a separate state flag to be placed next to the National Flag which was thankfully rejected! After all, it does not only deteriorate the value of our tricolor but also of the fact that, fight for Independence was fought against Britisher’s by Indians at large and not as individuals from various states of India. India is one and is supposed to remain the same.
Last year India celebrated its 70th Independence day, whereby, various achievements of the country in the past few decades was showcased during the parade which, like every year took place at Rajpath. Talking about the parade, it not only includes the military forces but, also each and every State portrays themselves through an art promoting itself, its cultures, dance forms, etc. Though the culture does remain the same but, still the State’s are supposed to portray themselves each and every year because, it is no less than an achievement, in fact, the biggest achievement that though this huge population does not speak the same language, does not hold the same clothing, neither the cuisine nor the features, but, still every person tags themselves as an “INDIAN”.
Before we delve into the threat India’s Nationalism is facing. Let us first understand what we mean by the term ‘Nationalism’. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, Nationalism is a feeling of loyalty and devotion to one’s nation; especially, a sense of national consciousness. When we talk about “nationalism” we are not referring to the fanaticism which exists within the Indian Politics and which has attempted to change the meaning of the term “nationalism”. Rather, we are talking about the positive aspects of nationalism that is the national consciousness among the citizens of the country and not the feeling of national superiority.
Recently, there have been a lot of anti-national movements with an aim to bring down a political party, but what I do not get is that as to how a person can go to such an extent for a rivalry of power. Furthermore, in the name of culture, India has witnessed riots in the previous year and the current as well. By not mentioning the name, just one view that the same people who believe an individual to be a god, how can burn people alive at the same time? The reason being the other person’s having their own opinion. Is having an opinion of your own a crime? In India, a Facebook post leads to severe consequences like ending up in a jail. Not only limiting there but, also their relatives might face trespass on their property.
Not forgetting, that agitation happening whereby the people for whom it is being fought do not even need it. Isn’t it funny that if the people themselves do not need it then why are they doing it? The reason for it is that they are not the ones who are doing it but, other people by using their name are trying to create disturbances. While they are fighting for education quota system, by not getting the same, they are raping women openly. Is this the situation for which India fought for so long?
Let’s revisit the provision of Article 48 of the Indian Constitution, it reads as:
“Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry: The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other mulch and draught cattle”
The original intent behind the inclusion of this provision was to promote stabilization and enhancement of economy but in the recent time, this provision has been misinterpreted and has served as a tool in the hands of exploitative politicians who use it to serve their religious agendas. This provision does not endorse’s or promotes lynching in any manner. However, the current usage shows that people have used this to justify their evil deeds.
India, a country where each religion is respected is now forcing others to follow a particular religion or else to realise that they are not in majority. We are at a stage where to gain a majority of the population, the poor are being exploited by giving them a certain amount if they agree to change their religion. And yes, individuals are agreeing to do the same.
Who is to be trusted? The media??
The one who does not care about providing the true information but, may twist the same in each and every possible manner to gain TRPs. It is not that each area is corrupted, but, all of them are being misused to the maximum extent.
One of the first major case that was brought to light by the media was of the brutal murder of Mohammad Akhlaq, a 54-year-old man who was accused of eating beef and was then beaten to death by an angry mob. This is an instance of how the so-called “cow protectors” or the “gaorakshak” have taken things to an extreme and taken the law into their own hands. Lynching is being used as organized hate campaigns and these type of incidents play a major blow to the Gandhian concept of nationalism whereby, he promoted “Ahimsa” and taught people to promote non-violence and harmony, between people of all faiths. Mahatma Gandhi said that “Non-violent nationalism is a necessary condition of corporate or civilized life.” The killing of an innocent individual for one’s perceived acceptable behaviour or even if it is done to prevent the slaughter of innocent animals just shows hypocrisy and the dark side of society. A society which to prevent killing resorts to killing.
The case of Akhlaq did not just bring to light the cruel act of lynching but also served as a reminder of the influence of media on the nation. Free Press has been embodied in the Indian Constitution under the purview of Article 19 which talks about “Freedom of Speech”. The main purpose of media was to bring to light those which is being ignored by the politicians. It was to bring the facts to light and to bring awareness among the ignorant masses about the current situations of the country but with the advent of time, we have seen that the same media has become a political tool in the hands of the powerful individuals, who can control and shape the nature of the truth. The Press which played a vital role in the struggle for Independence Movement by sending a shiver down the spines of the Britishers through their patriotic songs, poems and articles is now one of the factors in degrading the feeling of nationalism among the masses.
Landmark Judgment of Supreme Court
Perhaps, it was to overcome these disparities and to once again instill the feeling of patriotism that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in a landmark judgment has ordered that the National Anthem should be played in cinemas across the country before any movie screening. However, this decision of the Supreme Court has been criticized by some for forcing the citizens to honor their nations. It has been advocated by some that the ‘National Anthem’ is nothing but a symbol and thus need not be protected.
“National Anthem” is a symbol of the Nation, a symbol of pluralism, a symbol of India’s belief for ‘Unity in Diversity’ which lies at the core of cultural heritage and this judgment just goes on to remind us that it has not left its relevance even in today’s society. The intent behind this decision of the court was not forced nationalism rather it was to remind people of the feeling of national consciousness.
As children, studying in school, we were in the habit of reciting the national anthem in the morning assembly. This ritual which was followed by many schools was not to force nationalism on children’s but to implant them with a feeling of respect towards their country. Similarly, the decision of the court is not forcing the individuals into doing anything against their will but serving as a reminder of their love towards the nation. It is a small step but a necessary step nonetheless.
India is in the hands of each and every individual, whatever happens to it in future is not to be blamed upon any other person but, to look for them in the mirror.
“Our Flag Does Not Fly Because The Wind Moves
It, It Flies With The Last Breath
Of Each Soldier Who Died Protecting It.”
– INDIAN ARMY
By – DIVYA KUMRA, NISHTHA SHARMA
[Delhi Metropolitan Education]
 Kenoyer, Jonathan Mark; Heuston, Kimberley (May 2005). The Ancient South Asian World. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517422-4. OCLC 56413341.
 Constitution of India, 1950
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