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BJP creating false binary of nationalism vs anti-nationalism: Pavan Verma

Pavan-K.-Varma

New Delhi: Amid a raging row over JNU, Rajya Sabha MP Pavan Verma on Friday attacked BJP for “creating” a “false binary” and “unwarranted” argument of “nationalism vs anti-nationalism” for “short-term political benefits”.

“They (BJP leaders) are not going into the subtleties of the meaning of nationalism and are dishing out monolithic argument of nationalism vs anti-nationalism,” Verma said extending his support to the JNU students agitating against alleged branding of the university as “anti-national”.

“Aggression, violence, distortion of logic and the creation of this brittle hysteria every time there is an opinion, voice which is contrary to their notion of what nationalism is, is not acceptable,” he alleged.

Verma, who was addressing the students at the varsity’s administration block, which has been the venue of students’ protest for a month, said that he had faith in the country’s judiciary and its people and that they will ultimately reject such kind of “extreme” nationalism and politics.

Earlier in the day, historian Jairus Banaji addressed the students and said India today lives “in a climate of violence” consciously created by a few organised groups.

“In this country, we are today living in a climate of violence. ‘They’ are the upholders of the law. This climate of violence has emerged in the last so many months and it’s really dangerous for us,” said Banaji.

“It seems to me that explosions of violence (communal riots) that happen from time to time have nothing spontaneous about them. They are the works of organised groups and have very careful and intricate planning. The violence is the product of these organisations wanting to create a climate of violence and fear and triggering,” he added.

Banaji was speaking on ‘Political Culture of Fascism’ as 18th lecture in the series of lectures by JNU Professors and eminent personalities on “nationalism” being held at the administrative block of JNU following the arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and two other Parliament attack convicts in a sedition case over an event against hanging of Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.

He said that the citizens living in a country constitute the nation and the concern for them should always supersede the idea of dehumanised ‘nation’ itself.

He went forward with this idea and suggested that people like Shahid Azmi and Irom Sharmila, who were fighting for the “real concern of real people” were “the real heroes of Indian democracy”.

“They are the real unsung heroes of our democracy. Democracy is the backbone of our “nation” and there are agendas precisely to destroy and uproot that democracy,” he said.

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