New Delhi, Feb 19: Who is nationalist? Who is ‘anti-national’? Indians are largely debating over the two questions since the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) tried to organise an event on ‘Afzal Guru’ where ‘anti-national’ slogans were heard. While the saffron brigade is branding anyone and everyone who is criticising the government as ‘anti’national’, many including renowned journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, believe that criticism on government should not be seen as ‘anti-national’. Also Read - Happy Birthday Dileep Sardesai: Google Celebrates Cricketer's 78th Birthday With a Doodle
Without naming Bhartiya Janata Party and right-wing organisations, Rajdeep Sardesai, Consulting Editor at the India Today, wrote a sarcastic and stinging article in Hindustan Times, slamming the forces who are dividing the nation between ‘national’ and ‘anti-national’. Rajdeep writes that if his belief in an expanded definition of the right to free speech as spelt out in Article 19 of the Constitution makes him ‘anti-national’, then he is ‘anti-national’. “Yes, I am anti-national because I believe in an expanded definition of the right to free speech as spelt out in Article 19 of the Constitution,” wrote Rajdeep. (ALSO READ: JNU row: Kanhaiya Kumar spent his first night in Tihar jail where Afzal Guru was kept) Also Read - Zee JLF 2018: The Spirit of the Game, Cricket vs Football
Rajdeep also questioned the double standard of the current government while slapping the sedition charge. The TV anchor wrote that while people who demand separate state or saffron transformation of the entire country are not charged with sedition, students of JNU are being called ‘anti-national’ because of their anti-government sentiment. He also said that support to Afzal Guru should not be seen as ‘anti-national. “Yes, I am anti-national because I don’t believe in doublespeak on issues of nationalism. If support for Afzal Guru is to be seen as ‘sedition’, then at least half the erstwhile Cabinet in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP is in coalition with the PDP, would be held guilty,” he wrote. Rajdeep further asks isn’t the Hindu Mahasabha, which even today glorifies Nathuram Godse every January 30, even as the rest of India mourns the Mahatma, an anti-national organisation? Also Read - Rajdeep Sardesai, Renowned Television Journalist, Out With Book on Cricket
“Yes, I am anti-national because while I am a proud Hindu who wakes up to the Gayatri mantra, I also like a well done beef steak, which, according to BJP minister Mukhtar Naqvi, is a treasonous act, enough to pack me off to Pakistan,” replies Rajeed to those who often questions his religious beliefs. “I celebrate the rich diversity of my country through food: Korma on Eid, pork sorpotel with my Catholic neighbours in Goa during Christmas and shrikhand during Diwali is my preferred diet. The right to food of my choice is again a freedom which I cherish and am unwilling to cede,” he further writes. Read his complete article here.