Brand Nationalism

On paper, India is the biggest secular and democracy in the world. On paper, India is united despite their huge diversity. On paper, India is not a poor country(snapchat CEO should know). On paper, Indians are proud of all the facts mentioned above. But is on what on paper the whole story? 

In world politics, there is a large middle-class who are centrists. Conservatives represent the nationalist sentiment of the country whereas the leftists represent the critics of the government. The centrists represent free thinking. These are all the sections of a democratic society. These are really the sections of any democratic society – India or USA or UK.

These sections tend to balance out each other. It’s the swing sections that are key to the rise of one single section at a given time. Undecided voters. These people swing towards one ideology as long as they find it valid or serving their purpose. As soon as the ideology departs from their interests, they change their loyalty.

Adding to this, there is the anti-incumbency factor. People tend to look for a change. I guess my point is that the rise of nationalism is just a trend. 

 

But I would have been happy to just stop there and wait for India to ride the sentiment out as long as it lasts. But in recent history criticism has become a crime, nationalist sentiments are being spoon fed. Supreme Court making mandates to brew patriotism and oppression of anything opposing the mass hysteria the country is just the new normal. 

 

The sad thing is not only the politicians but the corporations have also realized that. By now all the businesses have tried to capitalize on that sentiment and understood currently the Nationalist tag is what appeals to mainstream and sells. 

 

From Newschannels openly calling out opposing views in live debate to get higher TRP, to filmmakers trying to sell movies loaded with nationalist sentiments, to Patanjali wiping the floor with established brands with its Swadeshi image to recently when Kajaria Tiles took it to another level with Akshay Kumar who probably bleeds tricolor right now, sold Tiles with an ad of soldiers, Nationalism in this country is no longer a card played by politicians as a get out of jail free card or to justify their actions or policy it had turned into a weapon, a tool to manipulate masses. 

 

Patriotism is a concept which in my opinion is a flawed a concept since its inception. But albeit a necessary one. Because humans are communal creatures. 

 

Patriotism builds camaraderie. Love of country is a belief in something larger than oneself. A common cause unique to each nation. This is not to be confused with nationalism and a military industrial complex. Its being proud of your history and culture.

If group mentality trumps ideology it becomes a cult.

 

A good friend is not just a cheerleader and a good citizen does not always agree. Patriotism taken to the extreme is poisonous, it ruins that which it tries to preserve. If you become an addict, do you want your family to agree? There’s a big difference between love and blind support.

 

A free person SHOULD not be forced to do anything in the name of a democratic country. And I can point out countless new tweaks coming out every month in India that Indians should or should not do to prevent himself from at minimum getting called anti nationalists to at maximum getting vandalized or jailed. 

Currently, the troll nationalist generation has found out a simpler solution. They think they are the best if not, then at least better than Pakistan. But why should all our patriotism go wastage on being better than 3 or 4 countries? The first step of fixing a problem is realizing there is one. And the nationalists have found out the second part is finding out where else this exists and pointing out the problem is not a unique on instead of trying to rectify that problem. 

May be the Government has no motive of pulling the strings from behind, may be there are no inherent issues with being nationalists but History has repeatedly shown us when the people of the country stop questioning the government and puts it on a pedestal, arrogantly claiming to be the best, it never yielded anything good. 

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