I Hate India But Enjoy Its Benefits

Shivaji comments on my post on secularism ….

Well, all of a sudden we have assumed nation is more important than religion. Politically correct statement is I am first an Indian, then a Bengali and then blah blah…Since when did we have a universally accepted prioritization of identities. I see nothing wrong if someone thinks Ummah is more important than country of birth. After all country of birth is accident, while you do have control over the faith you choose or not choose- atleast I have…Religious affiliation and patriotism are both vague concepts (both serving as opium for masses)…I am not champion the muslim cause but just voicing my lack of enthusiasm for defining my life based on such vague and un-thought through abstractions like religion and patriotism

Gati agrees.

While the first reaction was to post my reply withing the thread of comments, on second thoughts I felt that my reply warranted a posting of its own.

Shivaji’s argument is well-articulated. It bases itself on the cynicism many educated people feel towards both religion as well as patriotism. And as he points out being born in a particular country is an accident—–but then so is being born as a member of a faith.

But Shivaji, just like you have the ability to change your religion, so do you have the ability to renounce your country.

But once you do, you have to GO ELSEWHERE.

(Whether someone else will accept you as their “own” is a separate issue).

One of the fundamental axioms of breathing India’s air is to swear allegiance to its flag—–if you utilize the nation’s resources it is not necessary for you to want to give your life for the country(that’s pure jingoistic hokum) but it is contingent upon you *not* to work against its interests and its people.

And Madrasas, the ones that propound the radical brand of Saudi-funded Islamic teachings, instruct you to do precisely the opposite of that——–work against the concept of India.

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 966): (Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, La Risala (Epitre sur les elements du dogme et de la loi de l’Islam selon le rite malikite.) Translated from Arabic by Leon Bercher. 5th ed. Algiers, 1960, p. 165.)

Jihad is a precept of Divine institution… We Malikis [one of four schools of Muslim jurisprudence] maintain it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah, except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them…

Now this is the kind of stuff that is taught in Madrasas. Now these interpretations of Islam were made in the medieval age when the world was a much rougher place, it was either kill or get killed and the concept of a nation-state was even vaguer than it is today. In that historical context, the statement above does not seem quite so outrageous.

However the teachers in the Madrasas have been given an agenda by their Saudi paymasters. Take these edicts out of their historical context and imprint them on the minds of unquestioning impressionable children so that they grow up accepting these anachronisms as reality. Once that happens, their life becomes devoted to “waging war” against the country whose resources they use.

So here’s the deal. If you feel you don’t like India then fine. Just go elsewhere. Go to Pakistan. Go to Saudi Arabia. Now they might not accept you there (Mohajirs are still not integrated with the mainstream in Pakistan) but that’s not India’s problem. Saudi Arabia might not give you a visa———-because to them you are a migrant (they believe in their country even if you don’t believe in yours)….they want you to establish the land of Islam in India …not come to Saudi Arabia and take jobs away from the sons of the soil.

However if you choose to stay in India, because noone else will take you, then you cannot work against the country. You have to swear allegiance to its people. Even the ones that do not follow your religion. It’s that simple.

What I cannot accept are people like Jeelani of the Hurriyat Conference who support terrorists against India, speak against India whenever he gets a forum to and yet send their kids to Indian institutions because the education they get here will be better than what they would get in Pakistan. That’s opportunism plain and simple.

Let me repeat. You are free to be a devout Muslim. You can be a devout Christian. You can even try to convery others by non-violent means. But if your religious aim is to get me to pay Jizya or to make my wife a widow…..then brother we do have a problem.

Educated Muslims, even the most devout, understand exactly what I am saying. They agree. I remember having a conversation with a Muslim friend from Mumbai who said that the concept of supporting Pakistan during an Indo-Pak game is just as repugnant to him, his family and friends as it is to all of us.

Before I get flamed on this, patriotism is not about supporting India in cricket or crying at the end of “Border” but the reason I mention this statement is because ordinary Indians, who are also Muslims, do not ascribe to the “Dar-ul-Harb” concept.

It’s not a surprise when I find “secularists” , most of whom have wet dreams about Marx, support this pan-Islamic concept because communists too do not accept the concept of a country—–many of them supported China when we fought them in the 60s.

Now again you are free to support China when it attacks India—-but then you have to renounce your Indian citizenship and go to China and be Chinese.

But these jholawallahs know that life is better for them if they stay in India and work for China than actually going to China and finding their civil liberties severely curtailed and landing up, jhola and all, in a gulag.

Being born in a country is an accident. Just as being born to a particular set of parents. Yet children are expected to look after their parents (show allegiance to the family) [Now Shivaji can oppose that and call it a “vague concept” because after all a family is just an abstraction of the nation) to which I have nothing to say.]

However you can bely that expectation and “hate” your parents, refuse to look after them, kick them out of the house when they need you………..hell you can even sue them.

But is it right to sue them with their own money? Kick them out of their own house?

If it is not, then why is it okay to be unpatriotic while staying in the very nation you work against?

21 thoughts on “I Hate India But Enjoy Its Benefits

  1. Thanks for responding to my comment…Now those who have read my blog ChutneySpears may think that I am an extreme atheist or liberal…But I do understand that religion has a significant role in creating order at a social level while promising hope at a personal level. Similarly the concept of a nation is necessary for administrative reasons…
    What I was arguing through my comments was that both these feelings has to be given just that much importance. Extreme affiliation to both religion and nation brings in inflexibilities and thereby conflicts…Also theres a difference between feeling stronger about faith than nation and actually causing harm to a nation because of faith..I absolutely don’t endorse the latter…I believe that society should enforce just one rule- never cause physical damage or direct material damage to others..and that’s it…All other decisions belong to individual domain and no one should interfere with that…So society shouldn’t interfere if someone says Allah is more important than India..while society must interfere when someone says kill Indians because of Allah…
    Having said that how many terrorist attacks have we had in a ntion of more than 1 billion…only a handful…so blaming madrasas for all evils is lack of information…the same way we blame ISI for all events including my cough…
    Speaking of supporting Pakistani crricket team, wont our software engineers support India while watching an England-India match at Lords…even though they would have earned majority of their lifetime income there,,,you may argue that they earn in return of a service..thats the same in India…I have got nothing for free..i got educated because I paid fees at school..Theres no benefit that I have got in India which has come for free and I dont expect that in any other place….

  2. Shivaji,

    Not everything can be measured in dollars and cents. Your freedom from being robbed, maimed and killed, your freedom to express yourself, your freedom to get education (even though you pay for it), your freedom to run for office (that you choose not to do so is your choice), ———-are not God-given liberties which every person in the world has—-in many places of the world, people cannot dream of these liberties. In India you can.
    And people died for these liberties…not just died they are still dying. On our borders protecting you. Yes you do owe them something—at least your gratitude.

    And Yes you do take a lot from India. We all do. Saying you do not expect it is bs…..by choosing to stay in India you implictly “expect” it….

    And the only way to “reject” these privileges is to leave the country.

    As to the s/w engineers supporting India against England—these people are not citizens of England. Many of the benefits of British citizenship are not granted to them…they are “aliens” and so I do not see why they should be supporting England.

    However if they are British citizens they should be rooting for Flintoff and not Yuvraj. Just because Yuvraj and he have the same religion should not be the reason for waving the Indian flag.

    In one of my first posts on this blog where I reviewed the movie “Deewar” (the new one) I vented my spleen on the depiction (glorifying) of a “heroic” Pakistani Hindu who helps Indians……in my opinion this “Hindu Pakistani who supports India” is a villain too——he is a traitor. If a Hindu guy stays in Pakistan, I would expect his allegiance to be 100% with Pakistan.

    And madrasas as a root of all evil—never said that. However they do poison minds—not all poisoned minds actually go out with a bomb strapped to their belts…I am sure you know that.

  3. At certain points ,I beg to differ.

    “What I cannot accept are people like Jeelani of the Hurriyat Conference who support terrorists against India……”
    what of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose then?? did he not lead terrorists against the British?? or then you shall call them freedom fighters.I may mention here that those “GREAT” freedom fighters who lived in the British empire also utilised its resources, the most important being their education system. They were not Vedic scholars ignorant of the English language.I do not see anything remotely oppurtunistic in demanding freedom for one’s own people.And as far as educating their children in “indian institutions” goes,Geelani’s rebellion is not against India’s education system,it is a political rebellion.India, for example has followed the education system of its foreign oppressors whom it had so zealously overthrown in 1947.
    Secondly,as far as the quoted passage (Jihad is a precept of Divine…….) goes,it is a text that is breathing intolerance and hatred.Teaching something as worse as this is a crime in any country and to people of any religious belief.Such teachings are not at all acceptable in any modern society and should be condemned in strong words.
    But I think this is not something even Shivaji would support.There is a dividing line here.Teaching religious intolerance in madrasas and fuelling communal tension is acting against the interests of humanity.You dont have to be crudely nationalistic to condemn such acts.But being patriotic again, is to love ones own country, to bear allegiance to the Indian flag, as you would say.But then, to bear allegiance to the Indian flag is also to support India’s inaction in supporting the democratic forces in Nepal or India’s development of nuclear arms in Pokhran.A country is headed by political parties and stands taken by a country are political in origin.I reserve my right to support such causes.If that is acting against the interests of the country,then so be it.

  4. Agree with Sourav….As i wrote in my first comment too much attachement to any belief system whether religion or patriotism causes problems…
    Heres my response to GREATBONG’s comments:
    I dont think I have any more freedom from being robbed, getting education in India than I have in the US..India has a police and an army and I pay tax for it…The US police and US army would also protect me if I were to be living there and Iran attacked…A country for all practical purpose is just an adminitrative unit..that’s it….

    And why should an Indian who becomes a British citizen suddenly support Flintoff? Who has set these rules?

    My point is this: I will love my country if I think I should; no one can tell me to do it cause I havent got anything special for free; and neither do I have a write to tell others to love their country above their parents, religion and everything else…Onle when the other person is causing physical or direct material harm, I have an obligation to interfere…Rest I shouldn’t bother at all whether the flag in his hand is green or tri-color

  5. @Shivaji,

    Your contention that you pay for everything you use smacks of hubris, friend. No matter how much tax you pay, you will never be able to buy a lot of the stuff you take for granted—mainly because they were never on sale in the first place.

    He should support Flintoff because of the oath of citizenship. Or he is expected to….if he does not then he is just an opportunistic person. Now whats the harm in being an opportunist? Mmm nothing really.


    The British came from across continents and imposed their rule on us. Yes they “imposed” their education system on us…beneficial it no doubt was but still it was imposed. Netaji fought against that.

    However there is nothing imposed on the Muslim man in UP…

    Now as for Jeelani…I find it tremendously hypocritical that a man who hates the concept of “Hindustan” and makes no apologies for it (and that includes *all* our systems) would send his son to an Indian school.

    It perhaps is a sign of our times that Netaji and scums like Jeelani are mentioned in the same paragraph.

  6. You just said it: Whats the harm in being opportunistic? Nothing really…

  7. I would like to make three distinct and unrelated points
    * I can leave one religion and follow another and if I wish follow no religion at all.But can I do the same for my nationality ?
    If someone renounces his Indian citizenship he/she will have to take citizenship of another country We can’t chose not to have any citizenship of any country otherwise We can’t travel

    * In India most Muslims are of the hanafi school and children will goto Hanafi madarssas which are not usually supported by saudi money who support Madarssas of their own school.

    *Also someone could argue that God is more important than the state Because for the religious,God is the sustainer not the state
    also for the religious they have to prepare for Life after death when they will be answerable to God for their actions .

    * However people should be honest and pay thier taxes and help their fellow citizens and even thier co religioninsts ,their fellow human beings irrespective of all tribal considerations
    Nationalism is today the dominant acceptable form of tribalism

  8. @history lover,

    1. No you cannot do that for your nationality—country agonistism usually occurs after death.

    2. Never heard of this…so cannot comment. But have gathered from media sources that Saudis put a lot of money into madrasas in India.

    3. I understand what you say and together with your fourth point what you said makes perfect sense. However my point was against people who have a very well defined sense of country—and that country concept is based on religion.

    I would like to say that the State exists while God’s existance is questionable at the best but that would open up a whole different debate.

    And what you said about nationalism and tribalism can also hold true for religion and tribalism too.

  9. Let me elaborate
    In India most muslims are sunnis of hanafi persuasion.Of Hanafi persuasion there are two variants Deobandi or Barelvi
    The Barelvi version is considered more superstitious while Deobandi is more reformist and purist
    Saudis usually prefer to bankroll
    madarssas of their own persuasion (generally )called Wahabi or Salafi or ahl- hadith (which are not hanafi).
    Deobandi ones accept money if it comes with no strings attached to change their syllabus etc..
    But yes wahabbi ones are gaining strength at the expense of traditional Deobandi/Barelvi Hanafi streams.

    For a (indian) muslim I would like to say that using Muhammad ali’s expression :
    I belong to two circles Indian & Islamic which are not concentric but overlapping

    Closer links between Muslims of different countries yes But being a muslim does not mean supporting Pakistan’s or for that matter any other countries’ narrow (self) interest

    Yes but for many people God is as real as anything else.The state is important for your (short) life span while God matters for all of eternity so which one would you give more importance in this case ?
    Yes agnostics or others could consider this deluded but that is as you said an altogether different issue.

  10. Thanks for educating, History_lover….
    And that was what I would support..Media tends to blow out little knowledge..what we too often do to save our ass and put up the pretense of a good job…So while a few madrasas may have got Saudi money, the common perception will be that all have got them…
    And though I am an atheist, I understand that God for many is much more real than nation state…The concept of a nation state is very recent and even more so for India…And many nations are nothing more than abstract lines drawn by colonial powers over th map of the world…Like the idea of a new religion can spread quickly, so did the idea of nation state and it became politically incorrect to say that “I dont have any special feelings for my country”…

    @Greatbong, can you please list things which you have got for free and were not for sale..I have had to buy land, water, power, transport, education, medicine, everything directly or indirectly…and if you are talking of air etc, then i will be leading too abstract a life if I were to thank a country for that

  11. I would like to clarify that some Deobandi ones are receiving money and under thier (saudi) influence changing thier syllabus but many die-hard Deobandi ones refuse to do so.Also saudi money also comes on the personal equation of the Madarssa management with the
    donor(s) ….
    Also why should’nt they seek money and accept donations from wealthy Muslims from aboard ?

  12. @history_lover: Also why should’nt they seek money and accept donations from wealthy Muslims from aboard ?

    Yes absolutely. My problem is that the moment Hindu schools start doing that—solicit donations from abroad….the secularists get ants in their pants and start calling this “funding of terror”. All I am saying is that should not we accord Hindu schools the same rights and privileges as a Madrasa?

    @Shivaji: I can name one—FREEDOM. The privilege that gives you the right to say so many things without someone knocking on your door in the middle of the night and taking you away. And trust me, the value you get from the services you listed is far more than what you put into it.

  13. @Shivaji: I can name one—FREEDOM. The privilege that gives you the right to say so many things without someone knocking on your door in the middle of the night and taking you away. And trust me, the value you get from the services you listed is far more than what you put into it.

    I dont know whether I am that free as you make out to be. When it was discovered that some professor at Pune had assisted a controversial book on Shivaji by a French dude, his face was blackened…The Indian government went after Tehelka chief after his revelations..When it comes to day to day life, I dont know whether an average Chinese is more or less free than an average Indian because with poverty comes the worst lack of freedom..
    And of course, the value of things I buy has to be more than what I pay for it, otherwise I am nuts…its simple economics…
    And I think media talks more of “funding of terror” when it comes to Madrasas rather than for Hindu schools…and your post and comments are probably based on these media reports only… As Mr. Bush has pointed out despite having second largest Muslim population, India has no case of Al-Queda recruitments…
    I am not in favor of preferential treatment of one over the other- reservations in AP, seperate civil laws for instance…But I am also wary of nationalistic jingoism and using that to persecute others..

  14. @greatbong
    Frankly it is hinduvtawadis who have been crying on foreign funding
    for long it is only now that secularists have started focussing on funding of hindu schools …

    On another matter –
    teaching science &maths in Madarssas …..

  15. As an Indian muslim here is my take on this :
    * Haj subsidy
    Haj subsidy had been started off only when travel for Hajj by ship was stopped Travel by ship used to cost less ….
    Remember Coolie ? That is why the main Hajj Bhavan used to be in Mumbai
    Since it has been so relently criticized,I hope the government stops it

    * Frankly I don’t see anything wrong with personal laws for each community with india being such a diverse country I don’t understand this this obession with uniformity …

    * On saraswat vandana ,If India is a secular country it should be enforced by a government dictat .However practising hindus can and should do it…

    * Religion-based reservations
    On this I admit I am confused .Most muslims in India are poor and educationally backward.Plus there is plenty of prejudice particularly in the beaurucracy and police etc…

    .Madarssas are primarily for teaching about religion Frankly the question of State and nation is irrelevant to them .They teach about Islam a global religion so why should it be constrained by narrow nationalism.Of course local indo islamic culture is taught.
    Yes it can be argued they should be taught about their sourrundings which they do …
    Does anyone have any real idea what exactly is the syllabus in well-known Madarssa ?
    Thier aim is to produce people with good knowledge of islam who will bear in mind that life does not consist of earning lots of money or enjoyment but a preparation for the life after death

  16. Uniformity is needed because many religion-based personal laws encode medieval practices—-esp with respect to equal treatment of women.

    Plus I have a fundamental aversion to faith-based laws because laws are logical entities—-not something which is based on something as amorphous as “faith”.

    Which is why government functions should not begin with Saraswati Bandana…..because the government/legal system should be religion-agonstic. Else the possibility for abuse is high.

    Well this pan-Islamism is extremely dangerous (though I presume you dont think so) because it is because of this pan-Islamism, Muslim Britishers (who are so Britishised otherwise that they have an Yorkshire accent) become anti-national and blow up subways.

    If you think nationalism is narrow, dear friend, let me say that religion isnt all that broad also.

  17. Origin of laws is also pretty amorphous and are based on social mores and customs (thats how English law civil law came)…and that why there is often a strong link between religion and civil laws…And if pan-Islamism can lead to terrorist attacks, so has nationalistic feelings led to millions of deaths in countless wars. However we have somhow come to regard it as OK when armies kill each other.

    Both nationalism and religion makes a person susceptible to narrow exclusivist thinkings, because when you have strong common identities based on either of these two feelings, the problem of someone else’s from your community definition becomes your own and you may take revenge on some innocent person from the same community which has offended your community…

    Thats why I am always in favor of each person giving himself much larger importance than his community based on any belief system. Of course there is a need for controlling his extreme actions through humanistic laws based on universally accepted human rights and duties.

  18. well said Shivaji
    If we go by logic why should something which happens in Tripura matter more to me than say in Lhasa ?

    @greatbong jingoism is as dangerous …
    Pan islamism is not dangerous but faulty (or should I say distorted) belief and understanding of religion driven by anger is dangerous .Anger distorts perspective and thus is why controlling anger is always a part of the moral constraints of religion …

  19. Hey all

    Posting on this blog for the first time.

    Enjoyed this discussion thoroughly, and thanks for keeping it civil.

    Have had this discussion with Bengali friends a lot (Kolkata ones, in particular) and the friends I have seem to echo what GreatBong says.

    I just finished reading Tagore’s “Ghare Baire” (in English, of course, shame on me) and the arguments haven’t changed that much. Unfortunately, nationalism and patriotism always make better ear-candy 😦

    Living in the US for a few years, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking on identity, and it’s an ongoing process, like everyone else.

    @Greatbong: Identity, unfortunately, cannot be taught; it has to arise from within. I can feel muslim/hindu/indian/bengali and everything and anything at the same time in different compositions. These are mutable, depending on the person and his/her circumstances. One may grow up in one country and not feel a part of that, or feel part of a country one moves to.

    You may ask: what happens if the other country does not accept you? Well, how can you feel part of a place/group that explicitly rejects you? I may identify with the US one some grounds if and only if I am accepted on those grounds.

    Where does the concept of nationalism fit in? I view nationalism and patriotism primarily as a social duty and responsibility. For a group to survive, its members have to fulfil their duties with a certain amount of loyalty, else it will fall apart. This holds for every group the individual belongs to, and how conflicts are resolved between them usually depends on the individual’s sense of identity.

  20. Humph! pretty strong emotions floating behind these comments…

    I do not even know whether I know enough to comment and if I did..whether it would make any sense.But such things never stopped me..

    A thinking man(not necessarily educated) may love his country and have abundant faith in his religion..But would stop and think and reason whether his actions are justified(no personal interest is justified..however abstract the gain is)

    For eg:If someone attacked my country…I can say I am justified in fighting so as to defend my home.But however much I love my country..I would not support it..if India suddenly decided that she wanted to expand her territories.

    I was born a hindu…but I do not judge(atleast consciously) people based on their religion. Each human being is different.Stupidity is not distributed based on religion.Neither is beauty.Suffering is human.And all humanity is sacred.

    Causing harm to any human/nation/religious sect..just becoz they happen to look at things differently than you do…is fueled by ignorance.If we all could live by this statement made by Voltaire-“”I strongly disagree with what you say, but I’ll die to defend your right to say so”…world would be much nicer place to live in.

    So what we have to fight is not nationalism or communalism..but ignorance.Once ignorance disappears…men will automatically stop doing stupid acts under the guise of good intentions!

  21. Awesome discussion and well defended by GB not to mention a great post to begin with.Shivaji,history_lover and Saurav left the logical lane and went to gang together(words of appreciation,bucking up et al) and pushing their righteousness.I feel such emotions emerging out from people is the result of being disconnected from the ground realities and as already pointed out taking things as granted.I can vouch that none of these wise men have seen people they care for being posted at border or for that matter heard the plight of Indians returning from Gulf or a seemingly vague but valid situation of seeing your hard sown crops turning to naught from drought till the miracle called tubewell is discovered.
    And ultimately I mean i can understand if a foreigner confuses this but confusion between Netaji and the form of fundamentalism prevalent today.I rest my case and hang my head in shame.

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