Who is an Indian and who is an anti-national are questions that have been glaringly obvious in contemporary political debates. Multiple factions claim to know and practice this Indianness. For some, Indianness is being uncritically proud of their history and culture, for some it is chanting slogans and wearing the national or saffron flag and for some, it is critiquing power structures in the hope for a better future. However, one of the most (in)famous methods of showing Indianness has been exhibition of an anti Pakistan identity.
Anti Pakistan sentiments are blatantly celebrated in the name of cross border tension and at times, wrapped in the cover of sports and cultural superiority. In this country, sympathising with people from Pakistan, particularly Muslims, easily amount to sedition and blasphemy. Obviously, our notions of global solidarity and Indian hospitality goes for a toss, when a person takes birth on that side of the border. In this backdrop, our reaction, if a woman tries to break these boundaries of entrenched hatred is predictable. Unfortunately, this is what happened when Amulya Leona, a student of liberal arts shouted “Pakistan Zindabad (live forever)” in an anti-CAA rally in Karnataka.
Amulya was called by the organisers as a speaker and promised some stage time. She came on the stage and started sloganeering. “Pakistan Zindabad(x3), Hindustan Zindabad(x3).” Her words were enough to summon physical restrain from all the men on the stage. A police man appeared within seconds and dragged her out, despite her putting up a brave restrain. No one opposed the harassing treatment and her cries were drowned in blaring slogans.
She can be seen in the video, asking for more time and space to clear her stance. A space that she was promised. Not only was she dragged away, the police filed a case of sedition over her, took her into 14 days of custody and her father disavowed her blatantly, “Let her rot in jail. I don’t mind if police break her bones, I don’t support what she said and I will not approach lawyers for her bail…What she did was wrong. She was joined by some Muslims and wasn’t listening to me.” This one incident reveals our insecure nationalism, unconcealed Islamophobia and apprehension of female voice!
Anti-Pakistan sentiments are blatantly celebrated in the name of cross border tension and at times, wrapped in the cover of sports and cultural superiority. In this country, sympathising with people from Pakistan, particularly Muslims, easily amount to sedition and blasphemy.
Words left unspoken
Amulya’s Facebook post, which the news channels are deliberately ignoring complete her unheard speech,
Sri Lanka Zindabad.
Whichever country it may be — zindabad (live forever) to all countries.
Her speech was an attack on the linear, fragile concept of nationalism that has pervaded majoritarian debates: a nationalism that is based on demonising an unacceptable ‘other.’ This ‘other’ is a Pakistani as well as a Muslim. Unsurprisingly, they are often seen as one, as evident in the slurs thrown on Indian Muslims: people who chose India and are forced to prove that choice, time and time again. By extension, if we look at Pakistan as a land of people, families, friendship, culture and emotions, its difference from India would be blurred. What will our politician polarise us on?
Amulya braved such entrenched regressive values and went on to break them. She was joining the people of the two countries as people of the globe, with equal rights and duties. She attempted to look at the ‘dangerous other’ as humans, thereby cracking the patronising and territorial notions of nation-state.
Identity Of Words
Recently, Yogi Adityanath, a Brahmin, upper class politician who took UP’s CM seat declared that Hindus and Muslims have different cultures. These cultures are irreconcilable and India cannot hold the two together. Oblivious of India’s struggle for unity, he regularly proposes a saffronised Hindu-stan. Amulya braved such entrenched regressive values and went on to break them. She was joining the people of the two countries as people of the globe, with equal rights and duties. She attempted to look at the ‘dangerous other’ as humans, thereby cracking the patronising and territorial notions of nation-state.
Here, we also see the differing treatment that was meted out to the upper class, upper-caste Brahmin male, who violated fundamental principles of India, and conveniently got away with it. On the other hand, Amulya found no sympathisers, not in her father, not in the liberal-lefts. Nation states, are after-all demarcated by mere political boundaries, which have been created by man. Our own boundaries were created by Sir Cyril Radcliff, a lawyer who was sent to Indian only on 8 July 1947. The boundaries, which breed of such hatred were created by a man with no previous knowledge of India. It is this absurdity, that the woman in question attempted to point out for:
In seven weeks it was done, the
A continent for better or worse, divided.
Featured Image Source: New Indian Express