Photo by Shreshth Gupta on Unsplash

Nationalism on the very grass root level essentially means the advocacy of political independence of a particular nation or a group of people. Concerning the Indian subcontinent, the rise of the Indian Nationalism propaganda occurred during the British rule when independence for Indians was heavily campaigned for, it also advocates for territorial nationalism which is inclusive of all people that identify as Indians, what is astounding to know is the fact that this still influences the politics that happens in this country. Speaking of politics in this nation, most of it is based on religious politics which blatantly betrays the majoritaranian nationalism that we have witnessed for so long. It has been noticed that since 1990, India has seen a steep surge in the usage of religious content while rallying for elections or delivering speeches for the same. This creates a huge rift in the secularity that our constitution promises and we see the original concept of nationalism branching out into two aspects- Hindu nationalism and Muslim nationalism, the former type of nationalism being the current government's utmost priority.

There are several aspects related to the dynamics of nationalism and how political parties use and manipulate the entirety of its concept for their benefit, this is where the role of the performative entity comes in. The state and its politicians many times use performative entities to appeal to their voters and try to establish relatability amongst them so that the voter's scout towards their political ideologies and vote for them. The most common example of a performative entity used in the current scenario is cows. It is no flabbergasting fact that cows are considered to be sacred in the Hindu religion and are more often than not worshipped for the same reasons as well. Amongst this brewing storm of Hindu nationalism, it is important to understand why cows are considered to be so divine for the Hindu masses. In the Vedas, the cow is associated with “Aditi”, the mother of gods, they consider the cow to be a symbol of sanctity and life that should be protected at all costs. Seeing the paramount importance of this animal, the politics done in the name of the holy cow is wicked and violent. Some people including the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh are so brainwashed regarding it that they led people to believe that “gaumutra”, the urine of cow can cure coronavirus itself! In these times of religious chauvinism, despite having the freedom of speech, if anything even remotely contradicting is conveyed to the public, politicians are quick to term them as anti-nationals, as they do to those who consume the meat of the cow- beef. Indian politicians have a long history of generalizing people as anti-nationalists whenever they see a slight contradiction between their stark beliefs, and people who eat beef come number one on this list. Talking about nationalism, the article “state and the selfie” aptly covers up the true face of this new pro-Hindu age that we are witnessing, and more importantly it also deals with faux governance and actual governing which is quite alarming too. It deals with how the government sidelines actual concerns while putting up a heroic and poignant act on social media. Like the rape case that was mentioned in the article, and how the government did not take action against it, but in its place, it commenced the hashtag trend on Twitter, which was brutally insensitive as the women had to make peace with their abusers and rapists this way, which was not fair to them at all.

In this complicated labyrinth of political tools and their manipulation, linguistic nationalism also takes a vital role. It essentially means a dominant culture's use of language to exercise its dominance over the others. The way the Germans imposed their language on the people of Alsace and Lorraine, or how Urdu was imposed in Pakistan. For nationalism to rise, having a common language is a must, because when people speak the same language it indicates that there is no difference between the people and that their unity is intact. This also propagates the idea of how a “foreigner” can not be trusted simply because he or she does not speak the same language.

It is very essential in these times especially for the masses to be fully informed about current affairs and know their histories correctly as well, because we live in times where even the simplest of information can be manipulated for the gain of people’s interest, and it is very important to not get brainwashed by the same people.  

.    .    .