Questioning Is Not Seditious, Chauvinism Is: A Young Indian’s Perspective

Vanshika Arora

I may disagree with what you say,
But I will defend to death your right to say it.
-Voltaire

Nationalism as mainly perceived is a feeling of pride and affection for one’s own country, it is serving for your nation, acting in favor of it and oppressing the one who raises voices against the systems of the country. It has always been in the nature of politicians to climb up the hearts of public by ambitions, or perhaps “emotional ambitions”, and when under authoritarian power, their ambitions change into greed and subsequently, exploitation of people, their beliefs and their expectations. Every political candidate builds a ladder of a better nation to come under power, but then when in power, their promises result in extreme nationalism, or chauvinism.

Why is it done by every candidate of election, encompassing audience, promising them and ending up with nothing. People start campaigning, marching and much more to raise their voices, but many fear out from doing so as it is mostly dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong, because you can be arrested on the charge of sedition, which per se is a colonial era law, which was used to clamp down people and because we are no more a colony, this law should exist at no charge and there should be a right to people for questioning authority and asking for amendments in the working methods. Or on the other hand you can be beaten up by lawyers for being “anti national”, police even after being around won’t control the nationalistic hysteria of the offenders, but to the contrary atrociously convince them to carry it out because they themselves are in “vardi” (uniform).

Speaking against the humanitarian problems of the country, or questioning the authority, is not being anti national, and oppressing the one who questions, just shows the chauvinism of the opponent. And chauvinism and nationalism are terms poles apart. A country where the youth, which is the future of the country ( as said by every political leader), should have the right to question, to ask, to enquire and then not end up with any kind of atrocity remains demanded and expected. Speaking against the vehement happenings of the country, or expressing ones opinion is not being an anti national, but is a step forward towards nationalism, a feeling for care and an expectation of change. A person’s care and nationalist feeling towards his country is the reason he starts thinking, and endeavors the best he can. And when his vote does not come up to his expectations, he starts raising his voice. And then if he is tagged as an anti national, then I guess the expectation of change can only be seen drowning. And if the expectation drowns, change will also be seen drowning.

We call our nation “Mother India”, a nation which is motherly to us, we worship her, we ask her for affection, we thrive on her yet when we want some permutations in her, just for the sake of her betterment, it is taken as blasphemy against “Mother India” and her disrespect. Why is it not taken as a disrespect when several rapes happen each day in the country. And as a result there is no law against it in our constitution. Why is it not taken as disrespect when people under authority call marital rape a “personal matter”? Why is it not taken as disrespect when the soldiers who die on border come home in coffins in the name of nationalism, come on the road and please aloud for “one rank one pension”? Why is it not taken as a disrespect when the farmers, the suppliers of the country, suicide, pleading for alterations in the land bill?

Questioning for the sake of humanity, for the sake of betterment of one’s own country with the expectation of change, cannot be targeted as anti national. Asking for dissent and a liberal democracy is not anti-national or sententious. Highlighting the problems of a country is not anti-national but a step towards nationalism. As neither truth nor voice can ever be deceived.

Vanshika is a 8th grade student in Cambridge International school, Amritsar.

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