In the land of Buddha, a deficit of centrist middle ground is quite evident in politics. Either you are "right" or "left", "with us" or "against us". There is no other way. While the left's lament regarding the freedom of speech and intolerance are heavily exaggerated, the space for dissent in public sphere has shrunk. It's not just the government and the bigoted right wing internet army that is to be blamed, but even the self-proclaimed leftist intellectuals are surprisingly very intolerant to any differences in opinions. Lack-lusture communism is busy finding refuge in caste-based identity politics. The term "secularism" in present Indian context has changed its meaning to suit the vote bank politics which means ignoring the menace of Islamic extremism. On the other end of the political spectrum, bigotry and jingoism have donned on the veil of nationalism. Those against the government are being branded "anti-nationals" in no time. The definition of nationalism has narrowed down to symbolisms of various kinds rather than any material contribution to the nation and its people. The narrow concept of "Nationalism" is a European export to India and was somewhat necessary for our struggle for Independence. But, in spirit we have always been the country of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The world is our family). Ending on an optimistic note, I would like to quote Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore on his vision of India:
"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."
🇮🇳Happy Independence Day🇮🇳
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|Akash Kumar is the Editor-in-chief of Jeevan Mag. A first year student at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, he is also an alumnus of the YES Program of the US Department of State.|