When you hear on TV that Someone said the above statement, the first thing that comes to your mind these days is, that Someone must be anti-national. That Someone doesn’t deserve to be in India. Ministers who have the important job of running the country are stopping their work to tweet, or grab the nearest TV camera, to say, ‘Someone should be thrown out of the country. Why live in this country if you hate it?’
So what does it mean to say ‘I hate India’?
‘I hate India’ says an activist
An activist who is fighting against construction of dams, after being harassed, arrested, and tormented, says, ‘I hate India, for its apathy towards those who have to leave their homes’. All of a sudden, this sentence doesn’t look anti-national anymore.
‘I hate India’ says a tourist
A Indian tourist who travels the world gets back to India, and looks at the pollution, the dirt, the trash, and the garbage everywhere, and says, ‘I hate India. I think we should start cleaning our cities first’. All of a sudden, this sentence doesn’t look anti-national anymore.
‘I hate India’, says an angry mother
An old Indian mother who lost her husband, says, ‘I hate India. Which makes me stand in line for many months before giving me my pension’. All of a sudden, this sentence doesn’t look anti-national anymore.
‘I love India’, says a terrorist
Before blowing up a big bomb in an Indian city, a terrorist records his voice and puts on internet, ‘I love India. I love it so much that I really want every Indian to feel the pain of love I have for them’. All of a sudden, ‘I love India’ doesn’t sound so endearing anymore.
Spoken words should not be legalized
Words, these are merely words. They can have different interpretations. The one who uses the word ‘hate’ for India is not anti-national, the same way the one who uses ‘love’ for India is not a patriot. Getting riled over what every Indian citizen says on social media is going to be quite exhaustive exercise for Indian Ministers who stop in their tracks each time someone says ‘I hate India’.
The spoken word should have unequivocal freedom, its citizens the inalienable rights. No ifs, No buts. The State cannot dictate what can be spoken in what form, because words have different meanings, and one cannot simply conclude what they could mean.
Laws such as sedition (IPC Sec 124A), which says, that ‘Whoever, by words, attempts to bring into hatred towards the Government in India shall be punished with imprisonment for life’, have no place in modern societies. This was the law that was used by British to jail Indian nationalists. Now, India uses it against its own citizens.
Grow up, India
Especially, Grow up, Indian Ministers. Get on with your work, and please ignore what every young person living in India says on social media. Just because one young angry woman says, ‘I hate India’, it doesn’t make her anti-national, and it doesn’t mean she supports terrorists, or the enemy state, or that she is bent on breaking up India.
And ah, this goes to Cricketers and Actors as well.