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Jhanda or danda? When `desh bhakts’ clash with `desh drohis’ then Mogambo khush hua

Sagarika Ghose,
The psychedelic Mogambo, the villainous general with the snappy toothed smile and the military uniform, striding about in demented euphoria on his fortified island, dreaming of conquering India, was the most colourful “anti-national“ of them all. He was up against “Mr India“, the hero intent on saving all Indians, even though he was sometimes invisible. These days with so many being declared “anti-nationals“, with desh-bhakts vs desh-drohis, is our country really jis desh mein Ganga behti hai?
When so many are being accused of being “anti-national“ it’s a scenario in which the nasty general might well say: Mogambo khush hua. It’s becoming difficult to tell the difference between the national jhanda and the nationalist danda, but our spirits need not flag.That’s because the tiranga will now be flying in universities to help us identify pat-riots. Forget sedition, we now feel sad-ition when we look at the Sensex these days but voicing too many opinions brings us up against the anti-social media. Only a twit would tweet given the number of bird brains around.Possibly eating beef ? “Anti-national!“ Raising slogans? “Anti-national!“ Writing novels? “Anti-national!“ Between anti-uncles and pro-vakeels, journalists have been hit particularly hard. After all they have to press on regardless, even though their tormentors refuse to be goon with the wind. If those who say they love their country behave in such a juvenile fashion the only division of the army they will be able to join is the infantry.

The question arises: should a right-wing government not deal sternly with riot-wing activities? Soon the slogan Death For Treason might become Death Of Reason, because rationality and good sense may become like electricity and 3G ­ half of India just doesn’t get it.

Lawless lawyers who beat up Kanhaiya are courting trouble but they seem to have taken their own fight for justice literally . No wonder JNU students gathered so many thousands of protesters that they stole a march on them. Students in jail doesn’t gel with democracy because studious youth sometimes need their own azaadi. After all, students are entitled to not want to sing All Izz Well.

Manoj Kumar portrayed 1950s patriotism when he belted out “Mere desh ki dharti“. But to be true desh premis surely we need to stop making this about Indian vs Indian. Else, we may be seen as Sorry Jahan Se Achha by the rest of the world. Oops, now is that “anti-national“?

Sagarika Ghose,

Journalist, author, blogger named Bloody Mary. Author `The Gin Drinkers’ & `Blind Faith’. Consulting Editor, Times Of India. My blog: