When the nation wants exclusive love

“Pakistan isn’t hell”, she said,
At which the lawyer turned red,
“A case I will file,
Our country’s defiled,
She’s a traitor, now off with her head.”

For those unaware, a bizarre event happened recently in India. A sedition case was filed against Indian actor-politician Divya Spandana for her comments praising the hospitality of neighbouring Pakistan.

Of course, this might not surprise those in the know. As chestbeating nationalism becomes more and more common, one who does not kowtow to this jingoism is often considered a threat by aggressive nationalists. Social media is an ideal platform for such hyperpatriots to vent their abuse. The state’s archaic laws, in this case, only encourage such intolerant behaviour.

Okay, so I love my country. Should that stop me from being appreciative of another nation? Is nation love some kind of an exclusive relationship, a monogamous marriage?  Or maybe I don’t love my country, depending on how I feel disadvantaged and oppressed by my countrymen or the state. Do I have a right to voice my opinion or not? And irrespective of my love for the nation, why should my opinion – as long as my words do not incite hate or violence – be strangled?

Should we devolve to a nation of 1.25 billion people all nodding our heads to a populist sentiment or a government’s fascist diktat?

Kudos to Divya for standing her ground and refusing to apologize for her comments.

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