A Curious Case of the Country
For a long time, in Manipur and elsewhere we have been on a self-victimising mode. It perfectly suits our servile mentality: New Delhi has done this and New Delhi has done that; New Delhi has not done this and New Delhi has not done that. Everybody knows it but in the last couple of months, we have come across a quake which proves otherwise. The epicentre was the Jawaharlal Nehru University—read about the Kanhaiya arrest, doctored videos, the rise of Hindu fascists and the great Indian circus—and in the aftershock, many people, read mainland Indians, have shown that their height of nationalism is not hurling abuse at Pakistan but rather singing paeans to Mother India that are composed in fascist tunes. Well, in our case, the issue is about anti-national.
Ever since the nation of India was formed after the departure of the British Raj, some alleged anti-nationals in the so-called Northeast India are waging war against the union. That’s the popular perception. However, if we reconsider it, they are not the real anti-nationals. You know who the real anti-nationals are? The Maoist rebels, nope; in fact the real anti-nationals are university teachers, leftists, activists, liberals, critics of the Modi government and their ilk and those particularly belonging to mainland India.
Amongst them, Professor Nivedita Menon who teaches at the JNU is not only an anti-national but a ‘whore’, according to some of the most patriotic Indians, and ‘an ugly creature who is paid by the Indian government and the public against whom she is spreading hatred’. She had apparently endorsed the view that India is an imperialist country and has illegally occupied Manipur and Kashmir and hence anti-national. It is no surprise that she has been made a soul sister to Arundhati Roy.
But no matter what, you will never hear that Professor Angomcha Bimol Akoijam—a Manipuri scholar who teaches at the same university—is an anti-national though he has been so vocal against the AFSPA. This act is the same old military weapon for another set of the patriotic lot: the army and paramilitary forces that need special protection because they are too impotent to carry out their duties after waging war against a race that does not belong to an India of their imagination. Sometimes it is confusing which nation is which and whose nationality is whose.
The bottom line is that there is no special discrimination of the Northeasterners like we believe so. We don’t shout slogans for Free Kashmir but we can question the foundation of the Indian nation-state and we can be anti-state; yet that’s cute of us for the nation-worshippers in the mainland. If this was not the case, just to take an example, an activist like Binalakshmi Nepram would have been unable to count the number of death people and calculate the funds to make projects and presentations out of death people. That means long ago she would have been called names or perhaps thrown out of the country on the ground that she works for death people, who interfered in the Indian national fight for national security.
In a sense, the love is flooding us. In the mainland, we can see that the nationalists love us in the same degree that the anti-nationals do. We are so cute and we cannot help it. We are also so pampered that several youth from the Northeast have enrolled into the Indian army with no sense of the insanity that has engulfed us ever since India started copying its English masters in spreading colonialism from 15 August 1947 onward.
However, for your kind information, from day one India has been anti-national, thanks to its anti-national leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, whose legacies are now inherited by those in the army and paramilitary forces, who not only rape women and kill people at will but who are also waist-deep involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, blatant corruption and all sorts of crime. So now it has become farcical how a group of people sees a nation in general and referring to the soldiers in particular about the sacrifice people are paying in the name of the nation.
We might never say that we are the one who love the country more but never say never. In a place like our hometown, if we go by our attitude, we might start whining that we love the country but we never get the credit. We do have seen some traces recently from some quarters that we sing the national anthem, we hoist the tricolour, we do this and we do that—but still that we are always sidelined. Poor us. It is quite a material for a black comedy work. Meanwhile it is about time to do away with these national craps. Too much of anything is never good.