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Why is there is a blurring of space between activism and separatism?

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Bharat ki barbadi tak
Jung rahegi,jung rahegi!
Kashmir ki aazadi tak
Jung rahegi, jung rahegi!”

Typing these words took a pounding on my heart. I cannot imagine of the throats that had the gall to yell them.

Now sample this by a Sameirang Laikhuram:

Calling RSS anti-national is as much nonsensical as calling this student from JNU anti-national. Which and what nation are we talking about here?”

And by the grace of Antarctica, Sameirang is not alone. A laundry-list of the intellectual elite backs him with all four limbs, and on occasion with a fifth. This fifth limb is what we are dealing with here – the limb of separatism. This one is unique; unique because the predominantly left-liberals employ it when the other four – dissent, ideology, activism and godlessness appear low-yield.

What happened in JNU should not have happened in the first place. But now that it has, it was really pleasant to see the Home Ministry swing into action, despite the apprehension of all the predictable ideological opposition that would be led by the media, and of course followed by people who construct instant tweets on innocence, guilt and cowardice.

Honestly, I do not have a problem with separatists. That is, so long as they do not tightly wrap the agenda under the veil of social, cultural or linguistic-equality activism. But when they do, they do so with an attitude of betrayal. They betray and contaminate the very cause that steers them into activism.

I will not stretch much on the JNU debacle and the section of the media that has turned equally anti-national. But let’s take a broader perspective here: why do so many activists tend to be separatists?

Ever heard of Arundhati Roy, the activist-writer? Yes, great sarees, prim hair and a balanced diet: regular slices of intellectualism, marinated in 30ml of Marx, stirred fired in Guevara oil and garnished with a fresh dash of Kashmiri leaves. But the real harvest comes from a consistent dose of separo tonic taken every morning before breakfast. That is the thing which makes her say super things in favor of terrorists and anti-India Pakistanis.

Now when I first heard words flow out of the mouth of Roy, I was like: “Boom, she knows immense things.” And that is the same feeling you have when you hear from most activists turned separatists. They know too many things. In fact, they know so much about so many realms that they almost feel they know everything that there is to know. And purportedly, one of these things is “India is not a nation.”

Activism vs Separatism

Look at Arvind; the man started out as an activist and has just voiced support for “innocent” students that raised Anti-India slogans. And Arvind is popular. There are many others that aren’t popular and do not run for Delhi elections. But they are no different. They start with activism and end up questioning the status of India as a nation. And they do so for India exclusively. No other nation, primarily because these lunatics consider ‘racial’ origin and ancestry a precondition for national identities. Of course, they cry racism every time there is a misdiagnosis between dengue and malaria. Spot the irony there?

Or is it the other way round? Maybe these folks are not activists in the first place and only take up certain causes to mask their otherwise blatant separatist agenda. While you cannot really tell if that is the case, keep an eye on how these people follow-up on issues they raise. Often, the backing up seems too weak to bring justice to the cause.

Then, look for similar lines/catchphrases/slogans in every speech they make and every post they write. Odds are these lie at the core of their ideologies and they coat it with a contextual cause, a ramble on why it is connected with the catchphrase and of course, why the idea of India as a nation is not relevant. And that catchphrase persists.

Mother tongue lovers

The case for those who love their mother tongues is genuinely sensitive and for the most part, right. If there is a demand for equal status for all languages, I do not see anything flawed there. I for one do not agree to the proposition that there is a national language of India. Much like philosophies, India abounds in languages. These are all regional languages. Some are spoken in smaller regions than others. Some are a little wider in reach. But democracy should not care about such categorical numbers. And that is enough to grant equal status to all languages. If this constitutes language activism, count me in.

But the color is a little different on some glasses. These are language activists that seek a different kind of status for their regions and homelands. This craving for a special status outside of the Indian Union is what drives me nuts. There is a delicate balance between superior federalism and separatism. And these so-called activists are champions of confusing the two.

West Bengal could be a unique case study. The cause of language equality is not as vehemently structured as it is in Kerala or Tamil Nadu. But the state shares its borders with Bangladesh and there are people who believe and dream of a United Bangladesh. Of course, most of them are as passionate about the cause as those who pursue an Akhand Bharat ideology and I really do not see any difference between the two sets of activists. But however utopian the idea may sound, these separatists masked as activists are willing to go the distance with their propaganda and PR machinery.

It is not as if the Bangladeshi economy beats the Indian economy hands down. The language unites, agreed. But let us not forget what happened to South Asian countries and states where the Muslim population attained majority.

How can we stop them? The question should have been “how should we tackle them?” But I am a tad ‘intolerant’ about a debate with separatists. They need to be nipped in the bud.

You cannot stop them unless you spot them. Once done, beat them at their own game: intellectualism. I have seen many such separatist ideological fundamentalists cry foul when you serve them a little helping from their own bottle of medicine. I will confess I have enjoyed that each time.

Race horses

That is what I call those who believe a common race is necessary for people to be part of a nation. So true! That makes the job a hell lot easier. China is such a vast and populous country – one race and for the most part, one language. It is a different story why China lost most of its languages and it is the same different story that explains why India is still the abode of so many languages. But hush, that explanation is so pro-national! Who talks about it? Phew!

Asian nations like China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam have their job cut out as far as the races go. So there are lesser calls for separatism. But how about Indonesia? What went wrong there? And is India’s diversity not the thing we had been bragging about since our Standard V history books?

It is amazing how there can be so different interpretations from the same set of facts!

Are you a separatist?

A quick test will do it. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘India’?

  1. A mere collection of states, or roughly this:
  2. There is the Arabian Sea on the west, the Bay of Bengal on the East, the Himalayas in the North and the Indian Ocean in the south. Everything enclosed within is pure bliss. And that is my India.

Separatists often find it hard to reach to the masses. Activism is the cherished wild card. And we cannot counter them unless we identify this trend.

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