The politicians and some of their followers have used this term so extensively to label few of the dissents and opponents that the usage of the term has become a laughing stock. As I understand, anti-national is anyone who goes against the interests of the nation. Now the question emerges what is the interest of the nation? Who defines it? My understanding was that it was decided by the constitution. As constitution itself could be modified, it needn’t be a static word, but could have dynamic connotations.
Today, some ideologues and leaders define what is the national interest and doesn’t acknowledge the constitutional spirit. The preamble of the Indian constitution promises equality, liberty, fraternity and justice for all; but the modern anti-nationals doesn’t have said much against these constitutional values, but against some new definitions of nationalism, which is created out of vested interests.
Muslims, JNU students, some activists, people who are involved(supposedly involved)in cow trade, people who criticize javans of our country (they are to be appreciated and respected for all their sacrifice, but critiqued for any human rights violations if done), those who don’t stand up for national anthem and many others are labelled as anti-nationals. I don’t see any other reason of these labeling other than political benefits. And we need to reclaim the more dynamic definitions of national (or nationalist).
Who could be true nationals of our country?
- Soldiers who are ready to sacrifice their life for the country.
- Farmers (Kisan is Jawan in plain clothes) — they help us to fulfill the basic human need despite all adversities.
- Sewage workers (all cleanliness workers)- many lose their life, they work in extremely bad conditions to keep our country clean. I don’t include anybody who takes a broom to sweep already swept roads as nationalists. (For details follow this link)
- People who fight for the rights of others, for the protection of environment, who help in educating the young, who help to reduce the hunger — all these are also part of that group.
- Parents and elders who give the values of fraternity and love to the young, all those involved in the development of the country by honest means, all those involved in charity and welfare activities are nationalists.
- People like Harsh Mander (Karwan-e-Mohabbat), Medha Patkar (Sardar Sarovar dam), Ram Puniyani (activism), Anand patwardhan (media)and innumerable organizations show another model of being patriots.
I didn’t mean any hierarchical order when I used numbers. Many ordinary people I forgot to mention also fits in those categories.
Often those who are (and should be) excluded from this group like the corrupt, the fundamentalists, crony capitalists who loot the country are described as eminent nationalists.
We all have the ability to label. Let us use them wisely to disturb the comforted (especially heartless) and to comfort the disturbed (the majority).