This refers to the report “Kashmiri students will be back after they are cleared of charges: V-C” (March 11). In our locality, members of the Muslim community often support Pakistan especially during India-Pakistan matches. Before readers come to the wrong conclusion, let me say that it is more exciting to watch a match in such an environment where some are in favour of the neighbouring country and the rest are rooting for India. It has never led to anarchy or ever inculcated anti-national feelings in our souls. After all, these are just feelings that are expressed over a game of cricket.
Akbar Ali Shaikh,
Bishnupur, West Bengal
Everyone knows that though Kashmir is geographically a part of India, the fact is that most of the people there are not fully integrated with the Indian Union due to various reasons. It is but natural that they support a team which they believe to be closer to their hearts. I would also think there would be appreciation for a better performance by the opposition. “Support” is not the right word.
The citizens of India have a right to criticise the government and its policies and the right to debate issues of national importance. But adoring a failed and arch-rival nation on trivial issues is somewhat offensive. The people of northeast India are said to be alienated from the mainstream, but has anyone ever heard them chant pro-Chinese slogans? In fact, much of their demonstrations and protests single out the Indian state. What if the Meerut incident had taken the form of communal violence? The approach of the Meerut Police in such issues can be debated, but inaction cannot be justified.
The debate over patriotism has once again crept into our drawing rooms. It is strange that it gets to be invoked only during a cricket match against Pakistan but not in other situations that invoke strong feeling for a nation’s well-being. Mark Twain once remarked that a “patriot is the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.” The need of the hour is that the idea of patriotism has to be invoked in other areas, even in small things such as civic issues. It is only then that the task of nation-building can proceed in its truest sense.
Students often get carried away and do things in the heat of the moment. They haven’t committed a serious crime. Sedition laws are relics of the colonial era and have no constitutional values. Hence, they should be repealed by the government.