[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Freedom and Welfare or Bharat Maata?



---------------------------------------------------------------------
[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
___Help make this manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!___
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Ritu,

While I do think national pride is a good thing -- after all, our
national culture HAS shaped us in some way or the other -- I find your
justification for a blind allegiance to the mystical "Bharat Maata" a
little inconsistent.

Please be a little easy on me if I am factually wrong. I admit to having
a surface knowledge of the Kashmir situation. And please remember that,
as an individual, I have no influence over any government policy.
Perhaps the more knowledgeable of the people out there would show my
conjectures to be false and advance my knowledge.

1. I think if we have to fight Pakistan over Kashmir, we have to fight
only for the security, freedom and welfare of the people of Kashmir. We
should not impose our love for Bharat Maata on the freedom and welfare
of the people of Kashmir.

You say:

If we lose the control of the sector, whose freedoms
>would
>be lost? The people of J&K anyway do not enjoy much freedom [it is hard

>to
>that with constant shelling, bombing and other such activities]; the
>rest of
>the Indians would be as free if the army holds ground on a more
>convenient
>terrain. So, even if we loose portions of J&K, we would still be free.

Two aspects:

a) Freedom:
You say the people of Kashmir have lost their freedom because of the
bombing and the shelling. Couldn't we then be fighting to free them...
and not for the sake of patriotism? Isn't it their freedom at stake?

But you rule that out without a reason.

Let me offer what I admit is merely a humble conjecture. Please don't
get emotive about this, but tell me if I am wrong.

Perhaps somewhere down the road, we began to think (realise?) that a lot
of the Kashmiris wanted freedom not only from the shelling, but also
from us. And invented the mystique of an integrated Bharat Maata to
justify our actions. [I think a recent newspaper report claimed that
most males (some families were split in their support) in Srinagar
supported Pakistan in the recent Indo-Pak cricket match for the World
Cup.]

b) Welfare:
Another reason why we could be fighting Pakistan is that it has hindered
India's potential to have a positive influence on the economy and social
life of Kashmir. By defeating Pakistan's tactics for ever, we could hope
to gain the confidence of the people of Kashmir through uninterrupted
positive activity. The "end", then, would be their welfare. Not Bharat
Maata.
-------------------------------------------------------

2. But you say:

No,
>the reason has more to do with what you call blind patriotism and
>national
>pride. I say this with a certain degree of authority because I know the

>people posted on the Kargil front. They are close friends, they are
>brothers
>of close friends. They are as individualistic as any of us in this
>forum,
>but [luckily for us] they believe in blind patriotism too.

Yes, blind patriotism may have its place in a military environment where
those who have chosen to serve the army are not expected to question the
decisions of the high authorties. But we here have the ability to,
collectively, decide whether a particular military offensive is
desirable or not and can and should question the authorities. (I am not
questioning the present offensives at all.)

-------------------------------------------------------

3.  You also say:

>        It is true that a nation is made of the individuals living in
>that nation.
>It is also true that in most circumstances, if you take care of the
>individual freedoms it serves the interests of the country. But there
>have
>always been circumstances and situations when to serve the interests of

>the
>country, individual freedoms have been curtailed and rightfully so.

But you have to remember, that when you surrender to "national interest"
blindly, you are surrendering your freedom to the ability and
willingness of politicians and the bureaucrats to guage national
interest and devise and implement an appropriate policy. I would
advocate extreme caution.
-------------------------------------------------------
4. You give an example:

To
>take
>the example of the country you so much admire, this is precisely what
>FDR
>did in the 1930s to steer US out of economic depression.

I will only say that economists are still debating if it was FDR who did
really "steer" the US out of the
depression.
-------------------------------------------------------
5. You end:

You see, there
>are
>times when the nation as a whole is facing danger and that is the time
>when
>the patriotism of each individual is tested. You are expected to think
>of
>more than your personal interests and freedoms [if the soldiers on the
>front
>choose this moment to protect their interests by striking for better
>pay, it
>would not be a pretty picture].

Assuming no conscription, the soldiers would have been made aware of
those conditions (no striking for pay, etc. ) before volunteering for
the army. If they go back on the conditions, action would be taken
against them like that against any employee who reneges on a contract.

It is because they accept these conditions for the people's security
before volunteering that we should admire the brave soldiers.

Again, I think your point only shows that blind patriotism only implies
an unquestioning attitude towards the authorities who decide what is in
the interests of Bharat Maata and what isn't. While that might be
acceptable in the army, I don't see why that is the attitude we have to
take.
-------------------------------------------------------

I, for one, consider this aspect of
>patriotism neither blind nor coercive. I find it a flip side of the
coin
>of
>citizenship. India may not be even close to perfect, but it is my
>country.

So would you despise those who migrate for personal interest? Loving
your country is very different from worshipping it and being uncritical
of what is being done in its name.

>There is lot that I have received from this country, I would be ashamed

>if I
>cannot find enough patriotism in me to willingly give up some of my
>rights
>if that is the need of the hour. For what are my rights if not my
>possessions, what use are possessions if they cannot be used towards
the
>end
>I desire?
>        We have been saying 'Bhaarat Maata ki jai' for hundreds of
years
>[not just
>50 yrs]. Hopefully this will be said for hundreds of years more.

I regret having to say this, but I see more emotion and less coherence
in this passage. What special interest does Bharat Maata have other than
the freedom and welfare of "her" people?

I think your "patriotism" needs to be qualified. Does it mean a concern
for the freedom and welfare of the people or something else altogether?
What are these ends that you desire?

---
With warm regards,

Chirag Kasbekar
St. Xavier's College,
Mumbai (Bombay), India.
photismo@my-deja.com
chirag_k@hotmail.com


On Thu, 10 Jun 1999 17:48:44   Ritu Ko wrote:
>
>You have mentioned 2 things in your letter. The first can only be
termed
>as
>a comment on a personality. I have been asked to [and have agreed to]
>refrain from making such comments. So, that leaves me with just one
>topic to
>respond to.
>        Now on to Kargil. There Indians are standing up for the sake of

>the safety
>and security of other Indians, and for the sake of the territorial
>integrity
>of Bhaarat Maata. Not for the sake of freedoms of other Indians - think

>on
>it for a moment. If we lose the control of the sector, whose freedoms
>would
>be lost? The people of J&K anyway do not enjoy much freedom [it is hard

>to
>that with constant shelling, bombing and other such activities]; the
>rest of
>the Indians would be as free if the army holds ground on a more
>convenient
>terrain. So, even if we loose portions of J&K, we would still be free.
>No,
>the reason has more to do with what you call blind patriotism and
>national
>pride. I say this with a certain degree of authority because I know the

>people posted on the Kargil front. They are close friends, they are
>brothers
>of close friends. They are as individualistic as any of us in this
>forum,
>but [luckily for us] they believe in blind patriotism too.
>        It is true that a nation is made of the individuals living in
>that nation.
>It is also true that in most circumstances, if you take care of the
>individual freedoms it serves the interests of the country. But there
>have
>always been circumstances and situations when to serve the interests of

>the
>country, individual freedoms have been curtailed and rightfully so. To
>take
>the example of the country you so much admire, this is precisely what
>FDR
>did in the 1930s to steer US out of economic depression. You see, there

>are
>times when the nation as a whole is facing danger and that is the time
>when
>the patriotism of each individual is tested. You are expected to think
>of
>more than your personal interests and freedoms [if the soldiers on the
>front
>choose this moment to protect their interests by striking for better
>pay, it
>would not be a pretty picture]. I, for one, consider this aspect of
>patriotism neither blind nor coercive. I find it a flip side of the
coin
>of
>citizenship. India may not be even close to perfect, but it is my
>country.
>There is lot that I have received from this country, I would be ashamed

>if I
>cannot find enough patriotism in me to willingly give up some of my
>rights
>if that is the need of the hour. For what are my rights if not my
>possessions, what use are possessions if they cannot be used towards
the
>end
>I desire?
>        We have been saying 'Bhaarat Maata ki jai' for hundreds of
years
>[not just
>50 yrs]. Hopefully this will be said for hundreds of years more.
>                        Regards et al,
>                            Ritu
>





--------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/
-------------------------------------------------------------------------