India Uncut

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

National, anti-national, blah blah blah

The Times of India reports:
The BJP has accused Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh of surrendering to anti-national forces by declaring that there would be no compulsion on schoolchildren to sing the national song [Vande Mataram].
You'd think it was a bloody farce, but it's national politics. My position on Vande Mataram is this: if someone wants to sing it, they shouldn't be stopped, and if someone doesn't want to sing it, they shouldn't be forced. Neither the Muslim bodies not the Hindu right-wingers should be allowed to coerce anyone either way.

I actually feel silly stating that position, it seems so obvious to me. Don't you feel the same way? And yet, when Arjun Singh, a man whose politics I oppose in other contexts, takes just that position, he is called anti-national. Just what the blah is 'anti-national'? Indeed, just what the blah is 'national'? Just how many years will it take till we start thinking of individuals and their rights, and not about 'society' and 'nation' and all these broad, meaningless categories in whose name we justify the worst assaults on personal freedom?

That's a rhetorical question, and I do not want to know the answer. Enough depression comes.
amit varma, 4:24 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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