In the context of expressing love for one’s motherland, one is prompted to cite an ancient verse dating back to the times of Thretayuga during which the episodes featured in the epic Ramayana, attributed to Sage Valmiki, are narrated. The verse, part of which reads Janani Janmabhumischa Swargadapi Gariyasi (mother and motherland are greater than heaven), uttered by Lord Srirama while addressing his brother Lakshmana after Vibheeshana, brother of the slain demon King of Lanka, Ravana, after the victory invited Lord Rama, Lakshmana and the army of monkeys to enter Lanka and be his guests for some time. In total contrast of sorts, we are presently witnessing exodus of people of the land heading to distant shores for various well-marked compulsions and mainly in search of greener pastures. The ideal of patriotism, a stronger sentiment than love for one’s country, doesn’t appear to appeal to this growing stock of Indians, particularly youth armed with degrees from institution of higher education. However, their case of walking out of their motherland is perfectly legal unlike the case of the ideologues who are facing the charge of sedition.
Pages of the land’s history tell us of loyalists owing allegiance to their monarch keeping a close vigil on people marked with conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of the State or monarch. Sedition is unquestionably an overt conduct and justifiably attracts action to put it down, particularly when it is violative of the land’s Constitution.
Democracy, in its classical sense, not only provides for dissent by criticising the government of the day for its policies and actions as integral ingredients of good governance. Dissenting in foul tone as well as using harsh expressions is bound to earn reaction from the powers that be resulting in outrage, further vitiating the atmosphere to no end. That is exactly what the nation witnessed in the mid-70s about which even public memory has not faded. There are portents of the sequential events of that time repeating in our times, given the countrywide scenario of unrest, even as the government is focused on moving towards stronger economy, setting the goal of GDP to touch double digit growth.
In the meantime, five activists charged with delivering anti-State inflammatory speeches, bordering on sedition last week, have made news of law-keeping machinery arresting them. While the intellects are sure to get rankled, enemies of the State need to be reined in. Dealing with them with kid gloves will only push the nation into a destabilised state.