New Delhi: “On one side is Indian nationalism which is reflected in the Constitution. On the other is a nationalism that is based on values of old religious scriptures and by-birth untouchability. There is a huge difference between the two. And this difference has been clearly exposed in the last two years,” said author Ram Puniyani while speaking at the launch event for his book Indian Nationalism Vs Hindu Nationalism here on Saturday.
The book was launched at the fortnightly event Guftgu in the presence of veteran journalists Om Thanvi (former editor of Hindi daily Jansatta), Dr Zafarul Islam Khan (Editor, The Milli Gazette fortnightly), Prof. Shail Mayaram and Dr. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, former Member of Planning Commission of India.
In his long speech, as also in his book, Puniyani, former faculty at IIT-Mumbai, talked about the history of Hindu Nationalism and Indian Nationalism from the British Raj era.
Attacking on votaries of Hindu nationalism, he said: “Some changes came along freedom of the country like equality to Dalits and women and common people. They (votaries of Hindu nationalism) are against such values. And therefore they sometimes try to change the Constitution and sometimes glorify things from old scriptures.”
Indian nation came into existence under the leadership of Gandhi during the freedom movement. It is not due to divine values but people’s fight against the British raj and their urge for equality and justice, he said.
He stressed that Constitutional values should be re-established in the society.
“The question is about Indian identity and dominance of religious identity. There is only one answer to today’s politics: the values born from the freedom movement of the country should be re-established in the society. The values given in the Indian constitution should be basis of our life.”
He called for promotion of Indian nationalism.
“Today we are living in a very difficult time when the concept of Indian nationalism is under attack and nationalism on the basis of religion is being promoted. There is a need for values of Indian nationalism, values of humanity and values of human rights to be brought back into the society in order to pave way for development,” said Puniyani.
On the occasion, the organizers – Jamia Collective and Pharos Media & Publishing (which has published the book) – also organized a panel discussion on the title of the book. Om Thanvi and Prof. Shail Mayaram took part in the discussion.