What bigger a tragedy than this. Imagine citizens working at crossroads, against the interests of their own country. In the name of patriotism when politicians cultivate hatred, fragment the nation into crafty groups to achieve their short sighted goals, the nation is destined to slide down the path of its progress and prosperity. It is easy to nourish malice in the hearts of people by fuming passions. It is easy to nurture spite against each other on the basis of religion, race, sect, caste, regional differences and segments created purportedly by politicians. But it is difficult to dose off the flames that burn down the peaceful social fabric, crucial for any nation to progress. It is difficult to heal wounds inflicted upon each other by the communities that are the tools and cogs in the larger machine on which the nation runs. It is difficult to fill up cracks in the walls of a bigger family in which people with different ideologies live.
Clubbing certain religious or racial ideology with Patriotism has all along the history of nations been the reason of their downfall. Patriotism is love of the country in which a person lives and this patriotism cannot be the reflection of certain group, religion or race. 'Constructive Patriotism' cements the bricks and stones of different sizes and shapes to build the nation. And when patriotism becomes analogous with a certain religion or a race, a caste or a region, it rips apart basic fabric of the canvas woven to hold mixed cultures, societies, civilizations, traditions, heritages and diversities together. This is what could be put as 'Destructive Patriotism". The festering inconsistencies upon which this `Destructive Patriotism' breeds is the result of grave disillusioned opinions created in the minds of the people, over a period of time, by the ideologies shaped and molded by the politicians to achieve their ends. These dim-witted politicians serve the short focused purposes of their parties and corrode the bigger structure of the nation at the cost they could never be able to repay the nation with.
The political landscape in India and influence it casts over the people is hypothetically charged and galvanized purposefully to split the voters into groups that could be easily controlled and manipulated. The engine of hatred is run by injecting fuel in the shape of issues like Babri Masjid, Rath yatra, cow vigilante, conversion, love jihad, Hindu Rashtra, Patel Agitation, Kapu agitation, Jat agitation, Gujjar agitation, Padmavati row and many other inconsequential issues that spill venom only across the country for generations to suffer for. These issues are incrementally rekindled by killings and vandalism in the name of honor, threat to religion, ancestral prestige, historical pride, golden past, caste politics, reservations, respect for national anthem and flag, threat to security etc. If this engine stops for want of fuel, the political polarization would stop and if voters do not remain polarized, the politicians with criminal backgrounds and felonious mindsets would not be able to place their foot on the stage of power. The election and selection of leaders would be based on their background, their performance, their integrity, their track record, their contribution and their competence.
The constructive energies, when utilized in wrong endeavors block all the channels of progress and propagate negativity in the minds of masses, only to turn into inhibitors of growth. The efforts put to pursue missions contrary to secularism, equality, respect for others, independence of thought and expression might seem constructive for laying foundations of a particular religion or a group or a sect or a region but the efforts put in this direction are actually the 'efforts lost' in the construction of the nation. The energies wasted in disturbing peace and tranquility is actually the loss of energies needed for development. The invading enemies could do less harm to the nation than the harm inflicted by its own negative energies. There are many examples, some even in the immediate neighborhood. The infighting and bickering within the house is more dangerous and damaging than the mischief carried out by an outsider.
India is treading on a very sensitive path where the level of tolerance is thinning, whipping communal passions in one form or the other has become a favorite sport. The doctrine of racial superiority of Nazi's is reincarnated in India in the shape of a 'HIndutva' monster, which has potential to do with the country what outside forces could not do. The country that flourished after independence on the idea of 'Unity in Diversity' is being led by divisive forces with an agenda of 'divide and rule'; unaware of the disservice they are doing to the concept of 'India'.
(S.S Qadri is a post graduate in Management Studies from the University of Kashmir)