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This Independence Day, let’s differentiate between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’

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India became independent from the clutches of British Raj on August 15, 1947, and on this Wednesday we will celebrate our 72nd Independence Day. But, before even thinking to celebrate, let us first ask these questions – Are we really independent?  Are we living in peace and harmony without being afraid of? Or are we not being judged on patriotism aspect, where ‘Us’ have to prove their identities to ‘Them’?

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Yes, the questions are tough. People are being lynched in this country, women are being raped every six hours and those living in India before independence are being pressurised to prove their identity. There are others who prefer animals as superiors to the human beings – particularly cows and there are those who would shoot intellectuals, given the powers. What shall we call these – Development? Progression? Nationalism? Or Independence?

Probably this is nothing but ‘identity politics’ and the war between ‘Us‘ and ‘Them‘.

Us‘ are those who feel pride in doing things right – who follow laws, who pay taxes, who respect women and who love their motherland. The people who have an attachment to the soil of this country and living here for ages and also people who love peace and prosperity. ‘Us‘ also includes people who chose India over Pakistan and Bangladesh after independence and have served the nation with their sweat and blood.

And then, there are ‘Them‘— the people who doubt others just to reap political benefits and love to disrespect women. They believe in the Divide and Rule policy. Divide people in the name of caste, religion, region, gender, language and appearance. Divide in the name of thoughts and moreover ‘Question Patriotism’ of others.

I really want to understand how a person can prove his or her patriotism to others. Is joining the army and sacrificing lives in the Jammu and Kashmir the only option or is it by joining a religious outfit? Does one need to endorse something unacceptable to one’s conscience just to prove his/her Patriotism to ‘Them‘ who love doing politics on nationalism?

We all need to accept that there is an environment of fear in the nation. Consider these cases – Geeta Chopra case (New Delhi, 1978), Soumya case (Ernakulam, 2011), Anjana Mishra case (Odisha, 1999), Ajmer rape case (1992), Suryaneli rape case (Kerala, 1996), Vachathi case (Dharmpuri,1992), Shakti Mills case (Mumbai, 2013), Nirbhaya case (New Delhi, 2012), Jisha case (Ernakulam, 2016), Kathua rape case (J&K, 2018) or Mandsaur rape case (MP, 2018). What do they prove? It simply says women in India are not safe.

Another example: Cases of lynching – Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, Qasim Qureshi, Alimuddin and Akbar Khan – show the desperate attempts by ‘Them’ trying to prove their baseless point. Also, shielding the accused in these cases by none other than the ‘chosen’ representatives of the country makes me doubtful on whether to become one of ‘Them’.

I am not as learned as those sitting in the parliament debating issues of national importance are but I know to differentiate between the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’. I am not like those blind followers who only see one thing, hear one sound and speak what they are being told to. For me, there is only one religion and that is ‘Constitution of India‘.

One does not need to be a lawyer to understand what Our Constitution says. The first few lines clearly state:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this 26th day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

Coming back to the point, the differentiation between ‘Us‘ and ‘Them‘ is not that tough. All we need is, to ask the right questions for the right answers. This Independence Day, I am not going to ask if you feel free in this country. Not at all. I will ask you just ask you two questions:

Firstly: Why should ‘Us’ be questioned to prove patriotism?

Secondly: Who gave ‘Them‘ the authority to question and judge ‘Us‘ about patriotism?

(Creative Image designed by Sagar Sutaria)

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