Strange Nationalism of India: No Interest in the Fellow Citizen

India ranks 100th in hunger, below North Korea, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. The GDP of India on per capita basis (2016: US$1,709) is lower than that of Africa. At least 50% of Indians do not have access to toilets. Officially 35% cannot read or write—the reality of literacy and employability is much worse. 240 million Indians have no electricity connection; the rest get unreliable supply. The situation with water is much worse. 48% of children under the age of five are stunted, a percentage greater than in any other major country in the world.

Seventy million Indian women are missing, a result of lack of care for the female child and because of female foeticide—one must sit back and mull over this figure, which is similar to the total deaths that occurred in the World War II.

India is among the most backward, malnourished, wretched, and poor places in the world.

When I mention the above, most Indians—particularly the so-called educated—refuse to accept the data. Don’t they see what is nakedly in front of their eyes? They challenge me with India’s successes in rocket science, Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission), and India’s information technology industry. They never forget to mention that the CEO of Google is an Indian. Being tail-end events, to a rational mind, none of these say much, if anything, about India in general. North Korea, with a population less than that of Calcutta, likely has a more advanced rocket science programme. And, the Indian IT industry employs a minuscule population of Indians. Also, an Indian being the CEO of Google is actually a slap on India. The question is why Indians have to leave India. Why is there absolutely no Indian brand of international stature?

I would not be surprised to know that the real intent behind developing the space technology and fancy projects with unknown goals like Mangalyaan was never science or technology. These were very likely developed for the sole and only purpose of catering to the increasing nationalism of Indians.

Nationalism is a funny concept in India. It is a new religion, dogma of India, with no moral underpinnings. While people of different regions, languages and religions hate each other, in the abstract they are proud of being Indian. Nationalism has made them blind to the sufferings of at least a billion or more Indians. While they claim to be proud of being Indians, they don’t even see the existence of slums, extremely poor people, disease, and massive sufferings of their fellow citizens.

Indian nationalism is inherently contradictory. It is all about feeling good and vicariously living through the achievements of a minority of Indians. Nationalism has spread like wildfire in India. As it stands, it is all about the Mangalyaan, the cricket team, and the CEO of Google.

Real nationalism would have been about empathy for the massive sufferings of a vast proportion of Indians, and revulsion against the tyranny that is slowly and surely encapsulating India. Nationalism in its rather simplified, crude form is ossifying the Indian mind. It is destroying freedom of speech, the only good that India had over most of the neighbouring countries.

Our denial of facts, arrogance and fake-nationalism does not change the reality. Indians must wake up and accept the deep, wide, and entrenched problems of India if they want to have any hope for the future.

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