Professor Jyotirmaya Sharma of the University of Hyderabad in Mail Today:
“The label of India being the largest democracy is not enough. It is not sufficient for us to go through the motions of conducting elections; sending representatives to Parliament and legislatures is not enough. Along with democracy, we need to build liberal institutions in the country.
“A narrow, official conception of nationalism often comes in the way of suppressing dissent, ignoring minority views, and demanding compliance in the name of an abstract idea of the nation. In turn, these illiberal trends fuel the demand for unity, which often is authoritarian tendencies masquerading in the name of keeping the country united and strong.”
Illustration: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today
Also read: ARUNDHATI ROY: India is not a democracy
An excellent illustration!!!!
Very abstract. I could not figure out if the author is against the idea of forcing people to be compliant on the basis any abstract notion or if he was only against the abstract notion called as nationalism. After all, liberalism is an abstract notion too. One whose ideals are arbitrarily defined and a significant population forced to comply to these definitions, ideals and notions.
As far as views go, nationalism is a minority view too and a dissenting voice at that, for the intelligencia and the state are firmly in the liberal camp.
So the call for liberalism and the label of being liberalist is not enough, unless you are going to give space to nationalist dissent.
For ordinary people, both nationalism and liberalism are abstract and dont fully understand either of them. what is slightly more understood is the notion of democracy in which there is space for many notions including the above mentioned two.
Speaking of a “narrow idea of India,” here is today’s report form the Rajya Sabha:
“As Home Minister P. Chidambaram rose to lay a copy of the Lieberhan Commission report during zero hour, BJP members began to chant “Jai Sriram.”
“This infuriated Samajawadi Party member Amar Singh, who led party colleagues to senior BJP member S. S. Ahluwalia seated in the front row and caught Mr. Ahluwalia’s collar. The unruly scene upset deputy chairman K. Rahman Khan so much that he left the upper house without announcing an adjournment of proceedings.
“Upon returning to their seats, Mr. Amar Singh and the other SP members began to shout a counter slogan, “Ya Ali. Ya Ali.”
Our elected officials and their scintillating debates!
Wonder why we tend to get into needless taunting and sloganeering when we know it is the biggest waste of time?
Cant these buggers control themselves?
Except high decibel entertainment , the Liberhan report serves no purpose.
The report indicts everyboy in BJP but stops short of recommending criminal case.
which means everysingle person who was responsible for the Babri structure to be demolished goes scot free.
And this, conclusion after 17 long years.
So, what is the fuss about?
No BJP leader will have any case against him. Why is BJP making a 5000 decibel ruckus over what is essential a whimper of a report, which does not require even five minutes of national prime time coverage?
Simple: Absolutely right. Liberhan commssion might as well say 25% Indians were guilty of the crime. It was a futile exercise lasting 17 years. Wonder what is the purpose of these commissions except for keeping some retired judges employed.
A liberal institution can only come about from a liberal people (however you define liberal in either context).
Indians have the institutions they want.
Some Indians don’t like the institutions they see. Of course they would want those institutions they like, and impose them on the rest of us in the name of “liberalism”.
E.g. Above article.
>>>It was a futile exercise lasting 17 years. Wonder what is the purpose of these commissions except for keeping some retired judges employed.
It wont be as futile as all of you think. It is for the record, how a few bigots went on to damage the very fabric of India that we know as. If nothing it will become historic evidance of what failed the concept of India.
As I said in another post, Concept of India did not fail because of an foolish destuction of a mosque. And consider this – I don’t think it is rational for Justice Liberhan to have brought in Vajpayee in to this. His link to Ayodhya Movement is Tenous at best, and certainly not to the destruction of Ayodhya temple. So, this document itself is tainted, and won’t even serve as an accurate historical record of what happened. I feel this report will be challenged and portions, if not the entire report will be expunged, for there is a huge lapse in inditing a former prime minister, without even hearing his representation.
Breaking of temples, mosques and churches is part of our history. In other countries this is selective – Pak breaks only temples, Europe only mosques etc., but we are secular about it.
So no big deal in terms of our history. BJP needs to give an apology at the least. Then we can move on. Otherwise the BJP will be made to pay for it in the future elections – who wants a party whose only claim to fame to breaking something up? Better to make blundering efforts to solve real issues like population, food, health, education and prosperity than waste time on these unnecessary issues.