Bharat Mata ki Jai!! What was the harm had he said this? What was the harm if he did not say this? But Waris Pathan was suspended from the Maharashtra assembly when they all ganged up after being unable to force him to say this. Surprisingly, Waris Pathan did not have any issues in saying Jai Maharashtra or Jai Hind. So, even if he is not a nationalist (as measured by the current political currency), he can't be called an antinational either. Well, he is a true politician!
But let’s not get drawn into the politics of the matter. Having far more important things to do, let us identify a slogan that would be acceptable to all so that we have a uniform measure to assess a person’s nationalism. We will begin with the ones that have been popular till now:
Bharat Mata ki Jai: This has been a universally accepted phrase, till Waris Pathan refused. We have always addressed our nation as “motherland” & Bharat Mata means just that. Maybe, Waris Pathan does not like to equate the nation with mothers. Even Germans do not. Maybe, there are other Indians too who feel the same way, but are less vocal. That mothers are loved while fathers are respected, could be a reason. But a united nation takes everyone along & we may as well drop this one.
Vande Mataram: This was the first litmus test for nationalism issued by BJP. Naturally, parties representing other communities will not accept this. Also, because it originates in a pre-independence day book (Anand Math) that was about a supposedly religious sect, gives it a communal colour for some. And being a Sanskrit phrase, the non-hindi speaking ones may not really like to the same extent.
Hindustan Zindabad: Now, where is this one lost? Not heard it for a long time. Being an Urdu phrase, the hindu right wing elements will associate this with muslims & not support it. And the non-hindu right wing will oppose it for the term “hindu”. Moreover, Hindustan is supposed to be a persianised term for those who lived along the banks of Indus (or Sindhu) river. Now, Indus is no longer in India & Pakistan should be, technically, called Hindustan. Which means, if someone says Hindustan Zindabad, he is actually praising Pakistan. Better terminate this line of thought here, before they come after my blood!!
Jai Hind: Association with Indus river holds true for this one too. But this slogan was given to us by the left leaning (going by the inclination of the party he founded) Subhash Chandra Bose & may not be acceptable to the rightwing or the centrist parties, though they cannot afford to be vocal about it.
Inqalab Zindabad: It has lost its relevance 70 years after we attained independence. Moreover, not to belittle the efforts each person who fought for our independence, we won our freedom through a largely peaceful struggle while this slogan was chanted by the young idealists who had taken up the gun. Of course, this slogan is still used by those in the extreme left of the political spectrum and still dream of a revolution. This is also heard at JNU, and isn’t it a place infested with antinationals?
Now, if the traditional slogans do not work for everyone it is time we looked at a new one.
Jai Bharat is one which immediately comes to mind & even Waris Pathan should not have any issues with this one. After all, I am not a BJP supporter. But Bharat, as a nation, was very different from the one we live in. States south of the Vindhyachal range may not feel the same emotional bond with Bharat. While, those parts of ancient Bharat that are no longer part of India would not be comfortable with this & make it difficult for our PM to drop down for a cup of tea in the neighbourhood. Also, connecting it with the Akhand Bharat doctrine of the RSS, this may not be acceptable to many.
Hail India would have been a safe bet, being an anglicized term for a country shaped by the brits. But this form of salutation has been used in the past by Hitler, and much later by Mogambo. How can we use it & belittle the efforts of Mr. India?
Mera Bharat Mahan is an old slogan that was in vogue in the mid-eighties. That it was pasted on cars & trucks alike is the proof of its wide acceptability & secular credentials. But that would mean crediting Rajiv Gandhi & who would like to do this? Not with someone like Rahul Gandhi being still around!
I think I should give up. This is a difficult task for someone of low intellect like me. We have enough creative brains in this country who can coin far catchier slogans. A lot of awards are also lying unclaimed & we may as well give those to the ones who come up with the best slogans.
Here’s hoping that we come up with a universally acceptable slogan sometime soon, one that will unite us all (like the Ashok Stambha). Or, accept that each one is good enough.