Last year after stopping short of declaring that Kashmir was no longer part of India–”autonomy,” “self-determination” and all the other good things–our Prime Minister curiously stopped pursuing the line. And now Lal Chowk has happened. Expectedly, Our Leader in the Blue Turban has mouthed the usual platitudes: “hoisting the Indian flag in Lal Chowk will arouse divisive tendencies,” “people should not get worked up,” “this is a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the Opposition,” etc. In effect, peace at any cost. After all, it was his party that the Apostle of Peace and Non-Violence belonged to. Chauri Chaura, Khilafat Movement, Jinnah, the Partition, and Peace. Let’s not blame poor Manmohan Singh.
But let’s look at what a national flag is. A piece of cloth, paper, and canvas upon which is painted some nice colors, which makes it look attractive. And so it should make perfect sense to agree with the Congress party worthies that the truckload of BJP supporters and other nationalist-minded people are creating a fuss over nothing, really.
But the law of the land provides for a Flag Code of India that lays down elaborate guidelines on how, where, when, and who should hoist the Indian national flag. It also stipulates severe punishment for violating the code. What is interesting is that the National Flag is governed by the provisions of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 (No.12 of 1950) and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. The last one is worth repeating: Prevention of Insults to National Honour. The full text of the Code can be downloaded here. But we digress.
Let’s let the Code itself define what the Indian flag is.
The Indian National Flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of India. It is the symbol of our national pride. Over the last five decades, several people including members of armed forces have ungrudgingly laid down their lives to keep the tricolour flying in its full glory.
In other words, the Indian Flag is synonymous with India. It isn’t for superstitious reasons that coffins of soldiers killed in combat are draped in the Indian Flag. We live in times where even the most obvious things need to be said and said loudly: a flag is a symbol. Every nation needs its symbols. An extreme case is the USA where although the usage of the national flag goes to ridiculous extremes–bikinis and suchlike–the patriotic undertone is unmistakable.
But it takes perhaps only India, despite having such an elaborate Flag Code, to make a vulgar mockery of it. Actually correct that. It takes only an India under the dispensation that we currently have that flouts every norm of decency, kills national pride bit by bit, debauches democratic institutions, and thinks nothing of bartering the Indian national interest for the sake of remaining in power indefinitely. In the Kashmir affair de disgrace, the UPA headed by the Congress party has demonstrated yet again that it is willing to trade Indian territory if it means even appeasing separatists, an epithet for Pakistan-backed terrorists.
Let’s rewind a little and look at this photograph (courtesy the excellent blog of Vinod Sharma).
That’s the Pakistan flag at Lal Chowk, Srinagar hoisted last year when a few innocent, misguided youth harmlessly pelted a few pebbles at our policemen and military personnel. Boys will be boys.
What did the government do? Nothing. Well actually it did quite a bit but we’ll get to that in just a while. And now in the same Lal Chowk, Indians want to hoist the Indian Flag on Indian soil. What does the Indian
Puppet Prime Minister do? He says:
…the Republic Day was a solemn occasion that joins all Indians in a shared celebration of nationhood. This was not the time to “score political points, embarrass state and local administrations…or to promote divisive agendas.”
A shared celebration of nationhood is meaningless if you block trains stealthily, divert people, and generally use state force against people who want to celebrate the very nationhood you’re talking about–Republic Day flag hoisting is a celebration of nationhood, isn’t it, Mr. Prime Minister? The nation would love to hear you explain how India-flag hoisting on Indian soil on a solemn occasion constitutes scoring political points, embarrassment and divisive agendas. The nation is waiting with bated breath for your 2011 Republic Day speech. Oh wait, but we know where he gets his instructions from. Never mind the speech.
So let’s return to last year when the Pakistan flag was hoisted at Lal Chowk. One arm of the government promptly deployed forces to quell the poor pebble-pelters, the real victims. The other arms quietly activated the Secular Galaxy to do the rest. The media was at the forefront. First, it claimed that “harmless” stone pelting was happening. Then it claimed that nobody was hurt in the stone pelting. Then it claimed that a “few people” were hurt. Then it claimed that the stone pelters were the victims of state high-handedness. Further it blacked out news of Pakistan-flag-unfurling at Lal Chowk. Still further, it invited an Islamic lunatic who threatened a Kashmiri Pandit representative, live on Screw-the-People type shows. The print media added more fuel by writing reams of op-eds on the same sickening “victim” theme in the same sickening vein. Court Hagiographers became overnight defendants of what were subsequently called rageboys on Twitter. And so we had a situation where the government sent the army to rein in rebellion–for what? Logically, for protecting its sovereignty? Ensuring peace on its dominion? On the other hand, we had a situation where the same government pinched its media (since known as #mediamafia, #chormedia #dalalmedia) handmaidens to heap abuse on the selfsame army.
Cut to the present.
Simply put, we as a nation have been reduced to a pathetic state where we need to take out yatras to demand “permission” to hoist our own flag on our own soil–I know I’ve said this a few times already but it bears infinite repitition. Worse, the government is hell-bent on suppressing this “demand.” As they say, it happens only in India. In other words, the state will not think twice before using physical force if somebody wants to express his/her patriotism. Of course, it has its miserable set of justifications none of which stand the scrutiny of reason, decency, morality and the rest. The media as always has already taken the cue. It now says the Indian Tricolour should be in our hearts and “not for show” that the worst kind of politics is that of nationalism, that patriotism isn’t about a political yatra, etc etc. One wonders what kept them busy when Pakistan expressed its “nationalism” in the same Lal Chowk last year. Or when Arundhati Roy continues to openly advocate sedition.
But we’re well-versed with their brand of preachy self-righteousness, the I-have-all-the-answers approach. Like bridled horses, their vision is firmly set in the singular direction of 10 Janpath. The Congress declares it’s willing to grant autonomy to Kashmir? Rageboys become victims, the army becomes evil. The BJP declares that it’ll take out a march to hoist the Indian Flag at Lal Chowk? Nationalism, patriotism are dirty politics and flag hoisting is a matter of personal choice, a lofty feeling that should be carried within our hearts and not expressed in public. You do you’re dead, you don’t you’re really dead.
Here’s the thing: the evil geniuses in the Congress have realized that Kashmir is probably a lost case, hence the “autonomy offer.” But it doesn’t really matter to them if Kashmir goes; there’s still plenty of India left to cut up. Assam is boiling, its demographics rapidly altering. Several border districts of West Bengal are Muslim-majority where atrocities against Hindus are on the rise. Kerala has become the Jihad factory of the South. Swami Lakshmananda is brutally butchered by the Conversion Mafia and the state apparatus–including Her Highness–doesn’t shed a tear. Large parts of Orissa suffer the same fate. Maoists backed by the Missionary Mafia and all kinds of separatists run riot over large swathes of Indian territory, and our Lion of a Home Minister pays lip service. And so on until a day might arrive when nationalists will need to take out a yatra to hoist the Tricolour on the Red Fort. The Secular Brigade will, as is its wont, play the same tune. If you think this is an incredible future scenario, think about how we got to the present in the first place.
And herein lies the deception and the hypocrisy. The liberal-jholawala-bleeding-heart brigade that lectures about personal choice, freedom to not stand up when the national anthem is played, freedom to not respect the National Flag, think nothing about heaping scorn on a system that provides them the freedom to say these things. I’m reminded of this legendary dialogue from A Few Good Men:
We use words like honor, code, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ‘em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it.
Members of this self-righteous bleeding-heart brigade when not busy bellowing against national flag-hoisting, is busy wearing their surnames as a national treasure. The reason is obvious: a surname is not merely a name, it is a symbol of glorious ancestry, wealth, accomplishment, learning, lineage or whatever. Try belittling one of these surnames? Party-brawls ensue outright. But the national flag is…oh well, who cares as long as it doesn’t affect me personally.
Flag hoisting in India has deeper connotations. It was one of the more common and popular forms of protest against the British. In 1922, M K Gandhi was imprisoned by the British on charges of sedition (incitement to rebellion). The Congress (yes) party asked Sardar Patel to lead the 1923 Nagpur Satyagraha against a law banning the raising of the Indian flag. His commanding presence and personal example had thousands of volunteers rallying behind him in no time. In the end, he got the British government to release hundreds of prisoners and allow the hosting of the Indian flag in public.
Today, the same Congress party is doing the same thing to us that the British did back then.
Tags: BJP, BJP Ekta Yatra, Congress, Freedom, India, Indian History, Indian Media, Indian National Congress, Indian Politics, Indian Secularism, Kashmir, Lal Chowk, Liberals, Media Watch, National Emblems, National Flag, National Pride, National Symbols, Nationalism, Patriotism, Politics, Pseudosecularism, Pseudosecularism Hall of Shame, Republic Day, Secularism