ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Reckless Hindutvavadi 'Patriots'

Following Uri, what emboldened the Hindutvavadi "patriots" to stridently gun for military action?

We do not know the context in which Samuel Johnson made his oft-quoted pronouncement that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Certainly, he was not indicting patriotism in general, but false patriotism and the false patriot. But why rake up what that celebrated person of letters said way back in 1775? Well, the Hindutvavadi nationalists in power at the centre and in a number of states are behaving just like the kind of patriots Johnson probably had in mind. In India today, self-designated desh bhakts are a dime a dozenin the corridors of power; in the corporate media, especially among the talking heads and anchors on satellite television, as also among the op-ed and editorial writers in the print media; in the parties in power as well as those in the opposition; and among serving and retired senior officers of the military. There are so many of them that it is hard to keep count.

And, of course, in India and in Pakistan, both of whom claim sovereignty over the whole of Kashmir even as they trample over the rights of the Kashmiri people, such patriots are baying for each others blood. This in the wake of the 18 September attack by four terrorists on an Indian military base in Uri (not far from the de facto border of Indian-administered Kashmir with its Pakistan-administered counterpart), that killed 18 Indian soldiers, and in which the four attackers also perished. In what is by now standard official practice, almost akin to Pavlovian conditioning, New Delhi immediately claimed that the four terrorists were from Jaish-e-Mohammed (New Delhi has been demanding a United Nations ban on this outfit) and that Islamabad had a hand in the operation.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.