Whose Hindustan Is This?

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It has become nauseating to hear some kind of vilification or demonising, regardless of religion or colour.

Humra Quraishi

We are living in dangerous times. The debate on whether someone is a nation lover or not is determined by how many times, you can say ‘Vande Matram’ or ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ without breaking your breath. And if you by any chance held on to your freedom not to give in to some bullying or harassment, you are doomed. You are immediately dubbed anti-national, a traitor & murmurs grows into vociferous chatter about filing sedition charges against a very normal thinking citizen. Such is the extremity of opinion building & stereotyping by a select band of people that not wearing your nationhood & patriotism on your sleeves is equivalent to being anti-national.


Tell me who will decide who is a nationalist patriot and who isn’t! Will third rate political opportunists put labels on just about anyone they want to demolish in keeping with their set political agendas!

It gets painful to hear television debates where the so called ‘experts’ throw about the worst possible taunts, all in the garb of nationalism! New definitions and newer meaning to nationalism seem to have sprung up. Overnight, all too suddenly there’s some up that poisonous hate for the other!Why?

I am sit wondering whatever happened to our traditional norms and ways and also to our age old definitions.The irony is that true patriots and genuine nationalists sit all quiet and subdued, going about their daily grind and keeping the fabric intact. They are least concerned about noisy political debates; confident that they are the true lovers of this land and do not need to prove to anyone their sincere dedication. But, yes, as several confided that it does hurt when fingers are raised and questions are asked on their nationalism!

The  subject is so very wide and  vast that one can have day long debates on it , if not write  volumes after volume, but let me share with you readers the fact that  large percentage of the Muslims in the country did not opt for the new  country,Pakistan, during the Partitioning phase. Mind you, this when their entire clans were moving to Pakistan, yet they had decided to stay back, all alone. Why?  Because of their love for the country;

Though there would be hundreds of men and women who decided to stay back in the watan / country at the  time of the Partition but coming up rather too spontaneously are details told me  by our popular shayarNidaNazli. He had told me how thePartition had changed the entire course of his life.After all , just before  the Partition he’d got engaged to a woman he was in love with, but before they could marry, his family and also that of his  fiancé’s decided to migrate to the  newly carved country, Pakistan. However, NidaFazli, was determined not to move from here and stayed back. “Very painful   phase for me .My fiancé and nor did my family get back and I was left all alone here. Very traumatic and lonely it got,but I had decided not to shift no matter what happens to me.”

Then  there were several others like , writer and  mother of activist SafdarHashmi, the late Qamar Azad  Hashmi , who went to Pakistan for a brief while but returned  within months. As she’d detailed – “Like thousands of others we were  affected by the Partition as we were forced to shift out of our home in  Delhi and had to live in refugee camps set up near Humayun’sTomb. And though initially I traveled with my  family to Pakistan ,but I returned the very next year and got married here. While my husband’s family had moved to  Pakistan, but he too was determined to stay put in India though his business suffered tremendously after the Partition…we married  and settled in Delhi .”

And our legendary singerTalatMahmood was again determined to not move to the newly-carved country.Born in 1924, in Lucknow, TalatMahmood, was better  known in the Avadhi belt as the one who sang Iqbal’s popular tarana-  ‘Chino Arab  hamara/ Hindoostanhamar.  Of course, destined turns came in way, intruding… At the time of the Partition, Talatand his elder sister were in Calcutta, and though his entire family moved to Pakistan but both he and his sister opted to stay back in India.Though that upheaval affected his health;Temperamentally he  could not adjust to the ways of the filmi world .Also, that initial shock that his entire family had migrated to a new country and would be settling down there for ever, had deeply affected him. Perhaps, he was far too sensitive, he’d internalized that pain. But till the very end  he was sure that he would never leave his home country.

As I have mentioned, there would be hundreds of those who opted to stay put because of their love for their homeland, yet today this fact remains forgotten if not totally bypassed.Getting you closer to today’s realities; I would say that all our farmers and tillers and labourers and daily wage workers are nationalists and patriots. After all, they are toiling hard for this country and for its people. They are not into political ploys and nor indulging in great ambitious projects. Working from morning to evening in that selfless way, they do not crave for recognition or fame nor wealth or awards.