The existence of a nation is characterized by its ability to govern itself, taking along all the various racial, linguistic and religious factions, thus molding them into a unified peoples. It is in this above said unified approach that the nation realizes itself. Only in the existence of the nation does the term 'nationalism' assume substance.
Admitting the rise of the idea of 'Religious Nationalism' in India post the Uttar Pradesh elections would be a grave error, for discrimination on religious lines goes against the very character of a nation and therefore nationalism. Thus it would not be prudent to intertwine nationalism with religion. The recently concluded Uttar Pradesh elections resulted in a national party forming the government in the state with a monumental three-fourth majority. In a state of mammoth proportions like Uttar Pradesh- which equals the country of Brazil in population- it is impossible to win such distinct and overwhelming majority by rolling out a propaganda on religious lines. This is justified by the fact that the religious composition of Uttar Pradesh is in a manner where it is impossible for any certain religious group to hold sway over the socio-cultural and political functioning of the state.
The present Uttar Pradesh government sits in the assembly commanding a staggering 324 seats of the total assembly strength of 403. The situation obviously points to a popular wave of tsunamic proportions- transcending all religious differences- in favour of the afore-said party. The election results signal that the people voted for what they believed was prudent after a careful study of the winning party's poll promises and election manifesto. It must be emphasized that this mandate signals the strength of democracy, which has been asserted time and again through the many successful elections held in India. More than a month has traversed since the Uttar Pradesh elections and it can be safely said the situation in the country is peaceful and no power capable of disrupting the religious balance of India has shown its face.
Rise of religious supremacy is impossible in a strongly democratic country like India, where the people would rather toil hard for the nation's progress than engage in useless violence. Accusations and barbs proclaiming the rise of religious fanatics capable of usurping power and bringing in dictatorial politics have been hurled from the shadows. Such veiled attacks, which are the life bread of every opposition since the advent of politics, have however, no effect on the modern day Indian. His tryst with time has opened his eyes to the ground realities and his imminent problems to an extent that today, he rejects and abhors false and tiring rhetoric.The peace-loving people of the country, thus, live a life with perfect harmony among religions.
It is true that India has seen confrontations among its diverse population with regard to differences in ideologies, religion, language, race and so on. But such instances have always been isolated and the democratic system of the country had succeeded in containing these, thus preventing an escalation to a pan-India level. Therein lies the success and strength of the Indian democracy.
It is with shame that we acknowledge the presence of certain groups and people, who carrying their Indian passports raise a storm in a tea cup, creating false propagandas that Indian democracy has been usurped by certain religious forces. It is a crime to thus undermine our democratic system, which has been founded by the toils of the millions who fought and died for our nation's rise. People who propagate such malicious ideas are a part of certain anti-social and anti-national forces, who in turn are the real threat to the country's democratic establishment. Trying to catch the eye of the world community, they run down the country's reputation among her international peers, thus trying to destabilize India culturally, economically and politically. Such fringe elements are the true curse to the nation's progress. The valiant and prudent Indian citizen has however learned to keep at arm's length, these malicious spectres, whose voice had haunted and held sway over their thoughts in the past.
India's nationalism draws its roots from the fundamental principles of democracy and has no place for religious appeasement and fanaticism. Statements hinting the rise of religious nationalism are thus unwarranted and our fast progressing country doesn't have time to ill spend on it. Through our strong democratic principles we are on a path of development to found a new India- one that our youth have always dreamt of.
- A. Rama Sankar