January 24, 2011

The Big Flag Hoisting Controversy

Guess what, this Republic day may be remembered not for what happens on it but what happens after it :)
The so called 'EKTA YATRA' started by BJP has left the whole nation debating over it. BJP started the yatra all the way from West Bengal and claims that by unfurling our tricolour at Srinagar's Lal Chowk they want to challenge the separatists and make it clear to everyone that J&K is an integral part of India.

Opinions seem to be highly divided on this issue. Most of the Columnists seems to opine against it. J&K CM, Congress and even some strong allies of BJP are openly opposing it. The opinion of Aam Janta is most intriguing. Most seem to support it citing various reasons. There are various arguments supporting it. Some of them are-
What can be more shameful and worrying for us, if we fear repulsions and unrest just because we are hoisting our tricolour in our own Country!!! Every Indian is having a right to unfurl flag in any part of the country, why should anybody object to it!!! If they can hoist Pakistani flags at Lal Chowk and burn our tricolour, then why shouldn't we unfurl our tricolour with a fully hyped yatra!!! Till what time will we keep fearing those minority separatists' threats, its high time that we go there and put a challenge in their face!!!

But here is my personal opinion over this issue- 
Well, first see how this is being made out to be- If I don't support BJP's flag hoisting plan then I am a traitor!!!! So now everyone has to fulfill the criteria specified by BJP, to be said a patriot..... This in my view, is totally rubbish. This also implies that thousands of students who deliberately skip flag hoisting ceremony, but later go on to join prestigious organizations like ISRO, DRDO or even ARMED FORCES, are not patriotic citizens. Howsoever big service they provide to the nation, if they don't participate in flag hoisting ceremony, then they are unpatriotic!!!!
Bottomline- My hoisting or not hoisting of flag (or support of this BJP's hoisting plan), CAN'T decide whether I am patriotic or not, but my intentions, my services to the nation and my feelings for my nation DO decide. Hoisting of flag is symbolic gesture. It can't be said to be a criteria of patriotism.

Its quite clear that BJP is politicizing the issue. They are making it a patriotic issue and are trying to gain political mileage out of it. There is not an iota of doubt about it. Even our PM issued a statement , urging them not to play politics over tricolor. They are deliberately trying to make it an emotive issue.Well, now they are saying that they want to challenge separatists, where were they for the past 19 yrs. During their rulings, Mr. Vajpayee had been quite willing to have cordial talks with separatists. I think even Advani was in support of talks with separatist until quite recently. But now suddenly BJP feels that they should challenge separatists by doing this flag Yatra!!!! I am quite sure, had they been in centre right now, they wouldn't have decided to go for it. They have got hold of an emotive issue and are trying to get political mileage out of it. Playing politics in issue involving tricolor is utterly shameful. Had they been such a big patriots themselves, they would have stood for National integrity and wouldn't have tried religion based divisive politics leading to Ayodhya and Godhra massacre. And now, they will decide whether we are patriots or traitors!!!! They are digging their own graves. They had got a very good corruption issue to corner Congress but they are now again being foolish.
Bottomline- Trying to score brownie points by raking up this emotive issue of patriotism and involving our tricolor in this whole issue is utterly SHAMEFUL of BJP.

Next is the point that, is such a hyped and publicized Flag Yatra all the way from WB-J&K, necessary to challenge the separatists and show the world (and the separatists) that J&K is an integral part of India?? 

Many say that yes it is, bcoz since they burnt our tricolour and hoisted Pakistani flag at that place, so we need to go in big numbers with all the pomp and show, and show those separatists that see, if u could hoist Pakistani flag here at our land, then we too did come here without any fear and hoisted our flag with full publicity.
But I beg to differ. It's not necessary. J&K is an integral part of INDIA and we don't need to prove it to anybody. Now,as far as giving a sharp reply to separatists is concerned,this whole hyped yatra thing , though definitely a challenge in face for them shouldn't be carried out. Next, you will say, all INDIANS should go there and fight those stone-pelters with stones(as they are attacking our security forces), OR sm1 may even say that let's go attack all those separatists there.

Now, why fear those separatists. Why bow down to them. Well, it's not bowing down to their pressure. It's about taking decisions which maintains peace and harmony in the state. There is no doubt that Govt.- both central and state, have failed badly in putting in proper governance there. Look at past 3-4 years, how much misgovernance took place there. State Govt. failed to rein in the protests and bloodbath and Central Govt. kept sleeping for months. Whether it be AFSPA, too much of restrictions, excessive presence of forces, alleged rapes and encounters by security personnel, unemployment or something else; one thing is sure, that a significant section of people there are unsatisfied and infuriated with the Governance system there. In such situation, every single threat by separatists become headache for Govt. bcoz they can easily misled people to lead mass protests which could turn violent.
Now it's up to us. Whether or not we still want to go with all the hyped flag Yatra to challenge those separatists and hence risk another tense situation there. BJP claims they are expecting 50k people there. Separatists too have called for a counter Yatra there. In such a situation, a fatal clash between the two parties is imminent. State Govt. will of course never allow this, they can't handle unemployment, stone-pelters, separatists and terrorists, how can they handle this another trouble.
Bottomline- Any kind of provocative acts which may lead to escalation in tension, shouldn't be done. Hoisting flag there is not provocative. But leading people from all across the INDIA, in such a hyped way is definitely provocative for those separatists. We should not do anything that puts J&K people in trouble. They are our brothers and we should be more concerned about their lives than putting challenges to separatists. It would be better if we show brotherhood and concern for Kashmiri people and leave the issue of how to deal with separatists with our elected Govt.

I will end up my post by putting up a fine excerpt from a wonderful article in THE HINDU by Mr.SIDDHARTH VARADARAJAN (Source- http://bit.ly/hCI9Be )-

"If a sense of national belonging can be instilled and solidified by the mere hoisting of a flag, 60 years of official ceremonies in Srinagar ought to have ended the sense of alienation that is writ large over the valley. Even if the BJP goes ahead with their mindless yatra, it will not alter the realities on the ground one bit and would actually make the situation worse. Whatever we may say or do or wish, surely Kashmir will be an integral part of India in a meaningful sense only when the residents of Srinagar themselves throng to Lal Chowk and hoist the tri-colour themselves. The challenge for the Indian polity is to create the conditions for that to happen one day, however difficult that may seem today. But the BJP's proposed flaghoisting is not just an exercise in naivette or cynicism. It is the product of a mindset that considers Kashmir to be terra nullius, an empty landscape to be coveted and possessed rather than a land with a people and soul who acceded to India in 1947 on the basis of a covenant which must be respected in full measure and who have as much right to a life with dignity as those elsewhere in the country do."