The nation state

It’s easy to criticise the idea of the nation state and as a corollary, nationalism (“Why we must love our land and not romanticise the nation state”). Indians and non-Indians have done this many times by now. However, without descending to the idiocy of the Delhi lawyers, we must also ask what would happen if we were to get rid of the nation state.

In his books, Amitav Ghosh has observed that the collapse of the nation state may lead to something even worse. In Dancing in Cambodia and At Large in Burma, Ghosh was talking about his experience in Burma, but we only have to observe the turmoil sweeping many parts of the Middle East (West Asia to us) to see the truth of this assessment.

In the future, perhaps, the world will come up with a structure different from the nation state. But for the moment we are stuck with it, imperfect as it is. So yes, we should hold our nation state to account, criticise it intensively, point out its shortcomings, and try to make it better.

Since I believe that we must be free to criticise our nation state, I certainly do not believe in sedition. But I believe that there is something in our nation state that is worth defending. In that sense, perhaps, I am a nationalist.

I can only congratulate TM Krishna for an excellent article. I don’t often agree with what he writes, but this time I do. M Suresh


This article is full of very sentimental romanticism. The land of the nation is attacked by jihadis today and is protected by the Indian army, which marches in pride on Republic Day.

Coming to the real issues, you want to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan, which let alone dissent, does not even allow Hindus and Christians to exist in the country.

There are many ways of subverting the idea of a nation and this kind of fuzzy land love is just a pretext. Bharat Gupt


Absolutely brilliant and to the point, the article pronounces who and what we are and what we should be as a nation. Anoop


How can you write such an illogical article? You are right about them not demanding the killing of any individual. But they wanted to end Bharat. Even most of army personnel are against the anti-nationals, so will you call of them “casteists and male chauvinists?

And why did all these so-called students at JNU get together? For a “cultural function”? What kind of culture is this – a culture of terrorism? People like you are encouraging and supporting this. Priyanka


So you are saying that the armed forces are on equal footing with others in society who help you sleep happily. How can that be? The feeling of happiness can seep in to you only when you are assured of your safety. Without the feeling of safety, there is no way you can sleep happily and peacefully.

It is the armed forces of our country that are responsible for this. They sacrifice their personal lives, time with their family, and selflessly defend the borders. That’s because they are madly in love with their country. Please do not place them on the same pedestal as others. You just cannot.

During any crisis, it is the armed forces who come to your rescue. Your neighbours won’t risk their lives, even though they might help you sleep happily. And you are saying that you can’t glorify the sanctity of dropping bombs, Why so? They are not targeting innocent people. They are just meant for those ruthless terrorists and are meant to keep you safe.

This is not an ideal world. So please stop undermining the value of our esteemed armed forces. You don’t have the right to do so. They truly and really deserve a special place in society. Shiv Ram


Let us not destroy life by succumbing to the State. Let us destroy the nation by succumbing to students being brainwashed into opponents of State policy regarding Kashmir and treatment of terrorists after due trial. Kadirvelan Suryanarayan

Patriotism paradox

No one in Tamil Nadu has forgotten or forgiven with regard to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination (“Patriotism paradox: Is there a different sense of nationalism south of the Vindhyas?”). It is not necessary that those who voted for these leaders accept their stand in the Rajiv Gandhi matter. The writer has misjudged the patriotism of the Tamil people. Thiruvengadam


Yes, there are pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam political parties in Tamil Nadu, who have a certain amount of support. But no, not all of the support is because of their pro-LTTE stand. Thol. Thirumavalavan’s VCK party is a pro-Dalit party, and the state has over 20% Dalit population, but the party does not get many votes. MDMK and the rest are close to being non-entities and are not taken seriously by the common people of the state.

This is a classic case of false comparisons. Makes me wonder if the author is really from a think tank. Nivas Lakshminarasimhan


Praveen Chakravarty places Tamilian representation of militancy on the heads of two leaders who have been at the bottom of the political spectrum with very little moral or ideological standing. VCK and MDMK are not representative of the Tamil mindset and they are using this long gone secessionist struggle to stay in limelight. They have been relegated long back and the upcoming elections will show where they belong..

Furthermore, Rajiv Gandhi, having an exalted view of himself, was assassinated for poking his nose into someone else’s fight and it is something which his son should learn from. All the politicians who harboured anti-social elements were done to death by the same people. Karthik

Convenient truth

There appears to be a conscious effort on your part to twist anything that is said into hate (“Never mind the Budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed a crucial test”). A case in point is Anjali Mody’s article. For every single accusation, Mody has made assumptions.

“We have to make ourselves powerful, we have to launch a struggle” so that “these killers themselves disappear”.

How can this nation-building quote be misinterpreted? Mody thinks that the alleged murderer is a Muslim and that there is no doubt that Ram Shankar Katheria’s “we” refers to Hindus. Really? If you took religion out of this, then it is clear that this is a call to people to exert even more influence and launch a struggle to identify these killers and put them behind bars. It is aimed at Indians who do not report crimes when they should. Does Anjali Mody want to let the killer roam the streets?

Anjali Mody has translated from Hindi to English. This translation is not exact. Then she goes on to make conclusions from the already distorted English version,

And why does the writer expect Modi to speak on issues happening in states which are ruled by non-BJP parties? Why can’t the chief minister of that state speak? The prime minister must govern at a high level, not micromanage. Expecting a one-man show defeats the whole idea of democracy.

I urge you to educate your reporters to report facts and verify that they are not being the judge. Judging is best left to the courts. Sumeet


You have written an article on the death of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad member and criticise the group itself instead of blaming the people who killed this member. Maybe you think a VHP member deserves to be killed. Dharamvir

Struggles within

What do you mean by saying that we need to understand the Kashmiris and Kashmir (“First person: When a Kashmiri met a Naga at JNU”)? Suppose we listen to them, understand them and they say that they want “azadi”. Now what action should we take by understanding them? Do you feel India should give them the “azadi” that they are asking for? Please think twice before you write such crap.

And slogans like “freedom from poverty, caste system, famines” were never raised. Instead freedom from India was raised in various ways by insulting India. You and others should remember that no matter how much they cry, shout, raise slogans, blackmail or even terrorise, they will never get freedom from India. They were, they are and they will always have to be a part of India. Please be logical. Don’t try to defend someone ruthlessly when you know that what they shouted was wrong. Parth


I would like to enlighten you beyond what or who gets burned in the Naga struggle for sovereignty. Yes, I agree about the violation of Naga human rights by Indian military power. However, those on the other side are not too righteous either. Thousands of Kukis are massacred in Nagaland and Manipur in the name of sovereignty or greater Nagalim. The Kashmiri Pandits have the Hindutva wings to seal them, but the Kuki have no forces to protect them. Manglien

Sketchy interpretation

I am extremely dejected by the writer’s assertion that anyone can shout anti-national slogans in a democracy (“’Smriti Irani misrepresented my work in her speech’: Oxford researcher Sarmila Bose”). You can question the state but not raise a mutiny against it. We so-called liberals need to live in the present and not get swayed by the romanticism of a student revolution, which it wasn’t. Sid Shishoo


Sarmila Bose wants different opinions to be allowed. True, but is shouting and displaying posters in public an academic activity? I don’t know whether such activities are allowed in Oxford. Maybe in seminar halls or conference rooms. Sivaraman

Clear doublespeak

They say they only have an objection to the title, but not the film itself (“Local university students, mayor want Aligarh banned for ‘defaming’ the city”). They say that by lending the city’s name to the film, the city will be “defamed”. By this, it’s clear that they consider homosexuality an act of defamation or something immoral. So then why do they claim not to have any objection to the film? Jaseer

Moral high ground

There is no religious persecution in India (“US lawmakers write to Narendra Modi, say India’s religious minorities are under threat”). The law of large numbers is enough to explain the number of incidents that happen in India. It would be great if the US lawmakers were to look at their own country, with the state machinery engaged in racial profiling and persecution on multiple occasions. It’s a fashion among the US citizenry to think that they have a moral high ground and can point fingers at others. Rajat Deshpande