Why ‘Sickulars’, Feminists And Other Progressives Must Unite Against ‘Cultural Nationalism’

Posted on November 13, 2014 in Politics, Society

By Deep C:

The section 497 of the Indian Penal Code is patronizing towards women, and like the hypothetical theory of love jihad, relegates them to that of passive recipients of male action. Sex being something that is done to them, rather than performed of their volition. For the reader’s benefit, I would like to quote it verbatim-

“497- Adultery: Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse if not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.”

cultural nationalism india

Even though it seems to safeguard women, it actually asserts that women are incapable of sexual choices. In the past week, the Kiss of Love protests took place, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women demanded rights for sex workers (The Hindu, November 10) and Rang Rasiya, stuck in the good offices of our censors for a long time, released. But then a chauvinist VC of a top college supported restriction of women undergraduates to the university library and a Congress MP filed an election nomination with his daughter listed as a liability. Also, a film called In Dino Muzaffarnagar, which according to its makers shows Hindu-Muslim harmony in Muzaffarnagar, was not cleared by the censor board apparently because it showed certain politicians in bad light while day after day they clear films with ‘item songs’ which objectify women’s sexuality.

Now that socialism and secularism have been made to bite the dust, there is no business for the ‘so called progressive liberals’, punned Swapan Dasgupta (a right wing journalist who recently replaced ‘sickular’ Ramachandra Guha in a government committee) in a recent newspaper article. We all know that Labor Laws and the Land Acquisition Act will be diluted. With Giriraj Singh installed in the cabinet, Sanjeev Baliyan already there and Amit Shah helming the BJP, the project to silence ‘sickulars’ and teach a lesson to ‘anti-nationalists’ and ‘naxalites’ too will intensify. They will also look to impose their ideas of morality and culture.

This is where human dignity, freedom of choice, and gender equality come in. As things are, libertarianism and feminism seem to be the only potent weapons against the hypocrisy of ‘Cultural Nationalism’. Cultural Nationalism is a proxy war against the diversity and ingrained pluralism of our country. If public display of affection homogenizes Indian Culture with the Western, the ruling dispensation of the conception of Indian culture prioritizes an essentially North Indian conception, for Hindi is not ‘the Indian language’, neither is Namaste the sole Indian greeting. They are one of many. The idea of India that we need is the one which doesn’t invent a comical commonness, rather celebrates, even though clichéd, our ‘unity in diversity’. So, to oppose these constricted ideas of India, ‘progressives’ of India, we must unite.