This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Azra Qaisar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

What Happened At IIT Delhi Hints At An Emerging Trend Of ‘Patriotic Jingoism’

More from Azra Qaisar

By Azra Qaisar:

The season of college fests has begun. And this year, a patriotic fervour seems to have gripped the season. Strangely, IIT Kanpur invited Major General GD Bakshi and Markandey Katju to speak at their annual cultural fest. While ‘casual sexism’ has always been a part of the fest culture across universities, patriotism bordering on jingoism is the new trend this year.

IIT Delhi saw something similar happening in this regard on October 22. The ProNite at IIT Delhi Rendezvous’ 16 featured the popular Indian music band – Euphoria. The concert began with the video of a new song by the band – ‘Halla Bol’, which talks about azadi (freedom). The term azadi has become a much used term after the February 9 row in JNU this year. While the song itself appears to be a commentary on various issues that are affecting the country currently, interestingly student politics also seems to be represented as one of them.

Euphoria is a band that has been creating music for more than 20 years, and it was no surprise that a huge number of people gathered for their performance at the Open Air Theatre at IIT Delhi. The performance began with Palash Sen, the lead singer of the band asking the crowd to chant “Bharat mata ki jai.” Speaking from the perspective of someone who has attended one of Euphoria’s shows before, this seemed different and perhaps uncalled for in a college fest. What followed next was a declaration that this concert was being dedicated to the Indian army “standing at the borders.” The screen flashed images of the Indian flag. He ended his introduction by derogatory hand gestures towards Pakistan, and the crowd cheered.


Many would say that there is no problem in any of the aforementioned activities. These are perhaps perfectly normal activities that any patriot would carry out, but here’s the problem. Why has this not happened before and why is it happening now? The socio-political conditions in the country have laid the groundwork for such statements. Patriotism is no longer mere love for the nation – it is being conflated with jingoism. Euphoria made this statement knowing well that this was a crowd comprising of young people. The statement was not needed at the beginning of a music concert. It was not necessary because the situation did not demand it. It was also not needed because as much as it is important to love one’s nation, it is also important to not express that love to make a point.

These statements come at a time when relations between India and Pakistan are already tense. The entertainment industry is running into many troubles because of employing Pakistani artists. If examined in the context of this situation, Euphoria’s statements could then translate into a political stand – that a pertinent musical group stands with the army, is not friendly towards Pakistan while many others in the industry feel differently.

It is also important to understand this within the context of the past one and a half years, when campuses across India have been in the news for taking political stands – be it JNU, HCU, or FTII – however, they have received their share of criticism for doing so. Universities live under a facade of being apolitical, and the proponents of this facade discourage political activities among students. However, statements made by Palash Sen in his performance were also political and made on a college campus but are deemed perfectly acceptable.

In my opinion, it is a disturbing trend and it remains to be seen if this patriotic jingoism continues to be a recurring theme in the upcoming college festivals in the country.


Social Image Source: Hindustan Times/ Getty Images
Featured image provided by author.
You must be to comment.
  1. Sudhanshu

    I don’t agree at all with you. Unfortunately, you don’t know the difference between patriotism and jingoism. We don’t think India is the best, but we hate Pakistan because it is a threat to India’s integrity. You don’t know what our soldiers are doing for you at the border…You don’t wanna know, you hate that topic cause you are not patriotic. Anyone who loves his country (and hence, is patriotic) will always hate the threats to his country. You can’t understand that. You will always remain doubtful and hate it and perceive it as jingoism. Sad.

  2. Himanshu Kumar

    Chanting Bharat Mata ki Jai at a college fest in a song dedicated to the Indian Army is taken to be jingoism. Seriously? You are feeling so bad when a derogatory hand gesture was made towards Pakistan. What for? Though I agree that if you love your country there is no need to show that. But what’s the issue if someone showed it? What’s the issue if someone expressed one’s love for country? I don’t want to say anything here because if I will try to prove my point, you may start howling that India is getting “intolerant”. You just try to access what message are you trying to deliver when you say such petty things as jingoism. Write good articles, brother. May god bless you!

  3. Deepak Kumar Thakur

    I really don’t understand what was wrong with chanting Bharat Matha Ki Jai at the beginning of the concert ,I also believe that it was no wrong to perform with the flags on the screen or army as a theme .I going by your statement would condemn the derogatory gesture made for pakistan.
    I would like you to understand that it is always a right time to cheer for your army ,While you were righting this a soldier somewhere along the line of control would have been in an encounter with either the terrorist or the Pakistani Ranger .
    You also must understand that the soldier who is standing tall and strong along the border doesnt need you to appreciate their effort ,They gonna serve the nation or may even die fighting so that you sitting somewhere in a Air-conditioned office may write this.
    I believe that everyone should be liberal but u should be able to distinguish the thin line between being liberal or anti national.

  4. Anurag

    I strongly diagree with you madam. The kind of language you pseudo intellectuals(sorry for that word) use while talking about such things strucks my nerve. You sound to me like a person from a first world country,people who donot have enough issues to talk about, so they nitpick issues like jingoism.
    Ma’am i agree, right now the country is riding high on deshbhakti bandwagon but there nothing to worry abt it. Country like ours where civilians tend to put their immediate family first and just go with corruption and other things need the kind of patriotism you are talking about to catch upto the world in next decade or so. We have been scoring points by talking abt gandhi, now we need netaji SC bose to hold our hand. Strengthing current regional dynamics with our neighbors will go a long way and making our citizens little more passionate abt India’s interest will work in our favour.

    Secondly, since you mentioned sexism, i want to draw an analogy parrallel to sexism.
    In present time, feminism, awareness for women rights is at all time high, but you must have heard few people complain abt feminism being unjust and sometime being unfair to men. This is what i say them, patrichary has been around for long time and it will not be easy to get rid of but if in doing so,feminist ideals go too far and sometimes cross a line then its fair, becoz patriarchy did it too. That is how there will be a balance. People relish balance only when they witness both extreme.
    Same goes for jingoism

More from Azra Qaisar

Similar Posts

By Kritika Nautiyal

By Kunal Gupta

By Mohit Nimal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below