Bharat Mata Ki Jai – A Reply to Sanjukta Basu

With immense amount of respect, I bow down to Bharatha, my punya bhumi and my janma bhumi, the land of Vedic civilization, which has been the only civilization that referred to the world as one huge family; “Vasudeiva Kutumbhakam”.

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Recently someone commented on my social media profile that “Hindutva” needs more women like me. My reply was simple: “If believing that #Bharat is punya bhumi, and if following #SanatanaDharma makes me a Hindutva, then yes I am. But I don’t like labels.”

Terms such as “Hindutva”, “right-wing”, and “nationalist”, are all new to me as I am also pretty new to the Twitter world. I never realized that what I have been thinking, being and practicing is being labelled as such. But as I said, I do not prefer to label myself as a “right-wing” or as a “nationalist”. I give importance to truth and only truth. I give importance to reason and knowledge. Trying to fit me under labels may give others a sense of comfort, but I simply do not care.

Despite having moved to my karma bhumi, Singapore, where I have lived since 1996, I have always felt that India is my janma bhumi and my punya bhumi. Despite the distance between me and my motherland, I find it hard to digest when someone is very unappreciative and ignorant about their own land. It boils my blood to see so-called intellectuals, Lutyen’s media, presstitutes such as Sanjukta Basu cry out loud on why they will not say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

Sanjukta, I have been watching you tweet for some time now. I see the harsh words you spew in your twitter feed, and I see the way you try to pull cheap publicity stunts by calling out on the freedom of expression utilized by actors like Raveena Tandon. I am younger than you, but I can tell from reading your blog, that you have lived a life of seeking outwards for happiness, with no shine of positivity or goodness from within. Otherwise you would not be spewing such hatred and venom in your twitter feed.

Somewhere, somehow, it seems like you have lost your bearing, and that you have lost the rational part of your mind. You have such a skewed view of feminism as expressed in Hinduism. Your idea of a woman adorned in a saree is that she has been “domesticated”. Your idea of liberalism and feminism is that of a jeans and a t-shirt. Your idea of Hinduism and “Hindu Rashtra” is that in which women will be “controlled”, “subjugated” and “forced to breed” many children for the propagation of a Hindu nation. As I type out these words, I cannot believe that I am writing about a TED Fellow, a writer and a photographer. For someone as talented as you are, I simply cannot believe you can be this dumb!

Please watch her TEDx talk here before reading further. Just for laughs!

My issue is not with how Sanjukta looks, nor the way she delivered her talk on TEDx. My issue is only with the content of her talk and her article on Huffington Post, pertaining to the issue of Nationalism and Feminism.

The image of the Bharatha Mata with a lion, a trident, and adorned in a saree with gold ornaments is a narrow representation of India, according to Sanjukta. Isn’t a mother (mata) someone who nurtures you, who provides you food, who provides you knowledge and provides you sustenance? Likewise, the punya bhumi has nurtured you, and provided you food, knowledge and sustenance. We therefore equate Bharatha to the status of mother. Isn’t that why we call it our “motherland”? So, representation and imagery is not the issue here. There is clearly an issue of wrong equivalency, to which Sanjukta has not given much thought.

Apparently, this particular Shankaracarya and that particular BJP MP have said something in the lines of how many children women should have in order to increase the number of Hindus in India! Propaganda media stories are the sole source of information for Sanjukta, which she uses to portray the idea that Hinduism is severely harsh on the women folk, treating them as objects of reproduction and nothing more. In today’s world, she has this notion that women can be controlled, as though they will willingly submit themselves to the cause of Hindu Nationalism. So she uses this narration to discourage women from chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. How much more ludicrous can this sound? There is no papacy and there is no force used in Hinduism. Who is this Shankaracarya and who is this MP to dictate how men and women should behave? Are their statements substantiated by the Vedas? Sanjukta’s argument is very silly, not properly substantiated, and I really thought she would be more matured for her age and background.

“Hyper-nationalized images of Bharatha Mata strip women of their individual identity and reduce them to objects of patriotic, communal and national gratification.” This is like saying that the imagery of Goddess Parvati, Goddess Lakshmi or Goddess Saraswati, strip women of their individual identity and reduce them to objects of gratification. This cannot get more absurd. In the imagery of Bharatha, the “motherhood” is emphasized. Motherhood is seen akin to Godliness, which is translated to patriotism. What can be communal about motherhood? Is it communal if I see India as my “motherland”?

Comparison of “cow worship”, “yoga, “surya namaskar” to saluting the Indian flag, standing up for the Indian National Anthem, saying “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, and equating both categories to “rituals”, is beyond understanding. Sanjukta has transcended all of us and she is living in a planet called “La La Land”! She denigrates Nationalism to just a performance of saluting to the flag and singing National Anthem. Then isn’t this statement questioning the sovereignty of the Nation? Isn’t this against the Constitution of India?

Nationalism is born out of the notion that we should be a free and distinct nation, governed without any interference from external influences. Nationalism is geared by the recognition of a common identity, not by the recognition of ownership of the land. No land is ever truly owned by anyone. There is only common identity that binds us as One Nation, One India. We are bound together by our cultural heritage and spiritual richness of our Vedic civilization. Anybody who denies this does not truly share the common identity of Indians. It is as simple as that! You may be a Muslim or a Christian in India today, but your cultural roots are always from the Vedic civilization. Truth does not hurt, it liberates!

I am well aware that people like Sanjukta should not be dignified with a response. But if I did not put my opinion and my response out there, there will be many Sanjuktas today blindly following each other and refusing to say something as simple as “Victory and glory be to Mother India”! At the end of the day, a feminist narrative of pro-Nationalism should also be out there for people like Sanjukta, who would never be able grasp the notion of a “Vaidika Feminist” and “Hindutva”. But hey! I do not like labels! 🙂

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