Jingoism vs Patriotism

The Fall and Fall of India

It has been more than a year since the BJP’s ascension to power in India, aided by the corrupt Congress regime that had brought global disrepute to the country by completely messing up the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The Congress guys who got to keep the loot did not attract any meaningful action against them even after Mr Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. That is evidence dealing with corruption is least of his and his party’s priorities.

Swami Vivekananda: What I find alarming is the rise of jingoism in India. One of my Facebook posts on the obsession of the new leadership with Hindi attracted some comments, one of which included a purported Swami Vivekananda quote.

“If India is dead today, the rest of the world will have died much earlier,” a friend quoted the Hindu saint as having said more than a century ago.

I replied saying I doubted the veracity of that attribution. I believe it is perhaps a misreading or misinterpretation of one of his quotes.

Frog in the Well: I don’t think Swami Vivekananda could have made such a narrow and negative statement as he was not “a frog in the well”, an analogy he famously narrated once.

If he did make the comment, I can only describe it as his moment of lapse. That said, the India of his time and the India of today are diametrically opposite.

What is always being overlooked is that a jingoist is never a patriot. In fact, he (or she) is the real antinational living in the past, taking pride in the faults and foibles of a country.

He blindly refuses to see merit in criticism, rakes up history at the drop of a hat, stands in the way of transformation and hardly makes a positive contribution for its development.

This is the leadership breed India is saddled with now. Describing them as self-seeking is not an exaggeration. It applies to both ruling and opposition elements.

Accepting and resisting any downside while fighting for positive change, in contrast, cannot be dismissed as activities inimical to the interests of a country. They may not be always right but divergent views can lead to an objective analysis and measured decisions.

Illiteracy and Poverty: Keeping the vast majority of Indians illiterate and poverty-ridden serves the parties well politically, be it the BJP or the Congress.

But what makes India different is that even the educated, including those living in the West, have become religious fanatics and jingoists.

It can be difficult to live in any place where jingoism reigns! I am so glad I have long ceased to be an Indian.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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