The recent attacks on Gurmehar Kaur by Internet Trolls firstly, for her criticism of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) violence at Ramjas College and secondly, for her expression of anti war sentiments through the Video made by her last year point to the aggressiveness of forces of hyper nationalism to put down alternative viewpoints. In this hyper nationalism, any dissent expressed against the acts of saffron bodies becomes an anti-national act. So is also the case with expression of a sentiment against war and calling for universal brotherhood. Any critique of hyper nationalism is followed by a series of threats. If the dissent expressed is by a female, the threats are usually that of rape.
In the act of attacking Gurmehar, apart from Internet Trolls and Bhakts, celebrities such as Sehwag and Hooda join. Born to parents, whose father was a participant in Kargil war and had lost life and her early childhood attitudes of hatred against Muslims and Pakistan, it was a transformation which went on to make her Gurmehar Kaur. This was guided by her mother, who was able to convince her that it was not Pakistan but war which killed her father.
The video shared by her is a clear expression of an anti-war sentiment. It attempts to express the following: –
- People on both sides of the border do not want war.
- It is the Indian and Pakistan State which wants to keep the sentiment of war alive. This is through building an attitude of hatred among citizens of one country towards the other.
- The state of constant hatred benefits none. It only strengthens conditions for actual war.
- In the war that emerges, none benefit. Soldiers die and people like her become orphans.
- Why can’t the state of hatred be put to an end to and both the nations come together to address their issues?
- There have been examples from across the globe where Nations who were rivals and had fought with each other have come together.
- Why can’t the Indian and Pakistan state come together and end their differences?
- If war were a solution, the differences could have been addressed earlier.
- War only builds hatred and takes away lives but peace builds bridges and preserves lives.
- Why can’t India and Pakistan opt for the second choice?
The sentiments expressed by Kaur talks of peaceful co-existence and brotherhood among the neighbouring nations. It calls for putting a break to constant state of hatred and pro-war sentiment. In the discourse being built up by internet trolls and saffron forces, a state of constant hatred towards Pakistan and desire for war is what goes on to define nationalism. Violence is an integral and ultimate form of expressing nationalism.
It is true that war is needed. But this war is not with external enemies but war hawks on both sides of the border. It is the ideological war against those who are out to destroy the concepts of Secularism and Universal brotherhood.
T. Navin works with an NGO as a Researcher. He did his M.Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University