As a friend (and being a phirang, his vision was less clouded than our media people who devoted 5 pages on two consecutive days to 26/11) pointed out, this whole 26/11 (another ridiculous and forced link with 9/11) is being used exactly as 9/11 had been in the USA: to whip up non-existent patriotic fervour and justify the printing of police adverts that ask the citizens to report any "suspicious" person. And at the same time the Indian government, police and army are hunting out the "terrorists" in chhatisgarh, manipur, lalgarh, kashmir.
I know this might and probably will be interpreted as a refusal to mourn for the dead, on my part. But what has mourning the dead got to do with the Indian national flag may i know? Does the flag fly half mast for those killed in the 1984 pogrom against the Sikhs? For those raped, murdered and burnt alive in 2002? For those (the official figure is: 14 and that's the biggest joke) killed in Nandigram? For the unknown and unknowable numbers of young men and women who were imprisoned, tortured and killed during emergency? For Asiya and Neelofar who were raped and murdered by the security forces in Shopian?
I am very suspicious of nationalism and nationalist sentiments. 'Unity in diversity' seems ironical in face of the tendency of the Indian state to fragment and dissolve: the opening up of the cracks on Salim Sinai's body. And I see nothing but an oppressor's repressive baton in these attempts to forcibly retain sovereign power over a people using extreme kinds of violence. Those who are complicit in this show of patriotism are those who have gained something from the state; that is, those with empowered class, economic, caste and linguistic positions within the structure. I hardly think a landless labourer in Singur will have the luxury to celebrate state holidays on the 15th of August or 26th of January. Therefore, I'd like to argue, articulation of such patriotic displays, on the one hand, becomes articulations of your superior standings in terms of class, religion, caste, etc. On the other hand, it becomes a narrow and parochial alignment with the rightwing ideas of nation and nationality.
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