Wednesday, February 17, 2016

JNU stir: Why ‘anti-nationalism’ is an empty abuse that has no place in a free society

February 17, 2016 SA Aiyar in Swaminomics  India Economic Times


Some highlights of this article

"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. The current rant against ‘anti-national’ slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) highlights the abundance of scoundrels among Indian politicians and television anchors. The notion that there can be only one concept of what constitutes a nation, and that every other view is anti-national, is intellectually empty at best and authoritarian at worst."
 " In all free societies, students have espoused all sorts of extreme positions, and must be free to do so. That is why they are called free societies."
Their right to dissent was not questioned even by those who condemned their views.
Oxford University is very establishment. But in 1933, the Oxford Union held a famous debate on the motion, ‘This house will in no circumstances fight for its King and country.’ The Union voted for the motion by 275 votes to 153. This ‘Oxford Pledge’ was later adopted by students at the universities of Manchester and Glasgow. This sent shock waves through Britain. The students were denounced as morons, cowards, anti-nationals and communist sympathisers.
But none dreamed of arresting the students for sedition. That puts in perspective the authoritarian interpretation of sedition by the NDA government. Worse is the ranting of media stars who ask in outrage how any student dare call for the break-up of India. They seem singularly ignorant of what a free society means."
"India’s sedition law has been misused grossly for jailing a Tamil folk singer, sundry cartoonists, demonstrators against the Kudankulam power station, and even some people who simply ‘liked’ a Facebook post.
To me, these are all anti-national acts for which those in power should be held accountable. I reject the anti-national definition of the government."

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