“Unity among the different races and the different religions of India is indispensable to the birth of national life.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
I was watching this viral video of some personnel of Indian Army being ‘harassed’ by Kashmiri youths. The youths were shouting and asking the personnel to say “Go Back India” repeatedly. It was not definitely a pleasant sight and I am strongly against such acts. Then, I watched another video where a Kashmiri youth was being tied in front of an army vehicle apparently to dissuade the ‘stone pelting’ youths from throwing stones against the army convoys. I really do not think this was a right action on the part of the army personnel despite the fact that stone pelting by youths in Kashmir remains a big problem faced by army personnel in the state.
I will not go into giving a judgement on the “Kashmir issue”. My purpose here is entirely different. What interests me here is how a society which seems to be greatly divided on religious lines (among others) is also asserting the pride of belonging to one country, i.e. India.
While I was watching the above two videos in YouTube, I scrolled down and read the comments. There, Hindus were writing strongly against Muslims (not particularly Kashmiri Muslims), and Muslims against Hindus. The words used were extreme and the sense of hatred against each other were clearly obvious in these comments. In most of the comments, Muslims denounced* India and Hindus accused Muslims of not being ‘enough’ Indians (whatever that may mean).
Then, I came across an interesting news of the CEO of Snapchat, Evan Thomas Spiegel’s “poor India” comment. I came to know that the rating of Snapchat iOS app has gone down to one star. Curious, I checked the android app of Snapchat (personally I don’t use it). There, I saw the reviews of the Snapchat app by “Indians” almost all of whom criticised the CEO of Snapchat, giving one star rating of the app. The reviews are from all Indians- Muslims and Hindus all included. I saw many Khans, Alis, Vermas, Patels, Agarwals, Pancholis, Sharmas, Nairs- all types of Indians belonging to all communities and religions writing in defence of India. All of them condemned the alleged comment made by Mr. Spiegel on India. All of them pointed out India’s rich culture and heritage, its ‘big heart’, and what “we Indians” have contributed to the world in various fields. The names of Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai are quoted by almost everyone as examples of how much India has talents. None of them hesitate to call themselves Indians. In fact, they are proud to be Indians. Wow!
What is interesting is that all of the events are happening at more or less the same time: the Kashmiri youths ‘harassing’ army personnel, a Kashmiri youth being tied in front of an army vehicle, and Mr. Spiegel’s “poor India” comment. Indians are writing comments/reviews on these issues which are happening at more or less the same time. The irony however is the simultaneous coexistence of so much division and full of unity.
What is so deeply dividing Indians who are ready to defend India when it is slightly hurt?
I should say that we Indians are essentially frailty. Our home is broken. We do not know how to repair it. Yet, we are fighting others when anything is said against us. This, I agree, is not wrong. However, while it is good to be united to defend our country, we should not remain divided within. The division and discrimination among us must end. Shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jai without never trying to understand Bharat Mata is really dangerous to the unity and integrity of India. India is a diverse country. If I am asked who is hurting the nation, its unity or simply who is anti-national, it is those who do not respect this diversity and whose actions are harming the harmonious coexistence of diverse communities in the country. We should not realise the importance of our unity only when we are hurt by anyone or anything from outside. That’s a pity.
Mr. Spiegel’s alleged “poor India” comment is a blessing in disguise. Well, I can afford an android phone only, so please check the Snapchat android app reviews. There you will find the unity of Indians.