“War is a failure of diplomacy.”
This is a very popular statement in the world but highly ‘unpopular’ among my fellow citizens. Today, there is no breathing space for liberals in the country. The terms ‘intolerance’, ‘anti-national’ and ‘xenophobia’ were ‘unpopular’ prior to the emergence of the present government in 2014.
I do not support or endorse the views of any political party. Therefore, I am unbiased.
Regardless of Gurmehar’s affiliations to a war hero, I believe that the statements made by Gurmehar were her own opinions. However, we the citizens of a democratic nation refused to accept her opinions. Instead, we branded her as an ‘anti-national’ and mocked her.
“Pakistan did not kill my father. War killed him.” – this was all that she said. Cricketers, wrestlers and politicians lost no time in blatantly shaming her. After all, what was wrong in her quote?
The statement “you can be patriotic and not hate Pakistan” is a myth in the Indian context. Many right-wing student groups have political backing. This leaves liberals with no support whatsoever. A lawyer had slapped Kanhaiya Kumar and proudly boasted of this fact. This is what my country has come to. A lawyer doesn’t hold dear that one thing he was taught to uphold – the Constitution.
Still, I don’t understand the reason for the violence perpetrated by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Gurmehar had only said, “I am not afraid of ABVP”. This isn’t even much of an insult, because ABVP functions more like a fascist organisation than a student organisation.
I remember that the ABVP in Bangalore wouldn’t let Amnesty International continue their debate on the legitimacy of India’s claim to Kashmir. They ended up vandalising property and ruining their own peaceful protest by initiating violence.
In a democratic set-up, everybody’s views matters – be it the opinions of students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), or those of students from Delhi University (DU), liberals, and even those of ABVP members. The growing rate of intolerance in my nation terrifies me of the dark future of our democracy. However, students like Gurmehar Kaur show our democracy a ray of light.
I am 100% sure that Capt. Mandeep Singh would have been very proud of his daughter. It is easy to sit back and watch a protest. But it takes lots of guts for someone to lead a protest.
I hear people calling JNU and DU ‘anti-national’ colleges. Regardless of what people call these institutions, I believe that these are the institutions which keep democracy in this country alive. I will be proud to join them someday.