Nationalism versus Azadi – MUMBAI – The Hindu

Susan Abraham in The Hindu:

“Exactly a year ago, on March 13, the Delhi High Court gave a landmark ruling, which questioned the false notions of ‘national interest’ and ‘anti-nationalism’. While quashing a lookout notice issued against Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai by the newly sworn in BJP government, Justice Rajiv Shakdher held “among the varied freedoms conferred on an individual (i.e. the citizen), is the right of free speech and expression, which necessarily includes the right to criticise and dissent. Criticism, by an individual, may not be palatable; even so, it cannot be muzzled. Many civil right activists believe that they have the right, as citizens, to bring to the notice of the State the incongruity in the developmental policies of the State. The State may not accept the views of the civil right activists, but that by itself, cannot be a good enough reason to do away with dissent.”

Rather than relying on Justice Shakdher’s erudite precedent, and that of several others of the Supreme Court on sedition, the March 2 ruling of the Delhi HC chose a deviant route based on nationalism without even defining the term. Kanhaiya Kumar’s electrifying speech on his release on March 3 to hundreds of JNU students was an open and welcome call for azadi (freedom) from those who wish to imprison the nation itself in their narrow template on nationalism.

Nationalism versus Azadi – MUMBAI – The Hindu

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