Answer by Tejasvita Apte:
You first start by saying just this –"I disagree with you strongly but I will defend to my death your right of saying it"Then you tell them –When you say whatever it is that you want to say though, know that no freedom is unfettered. Every freedom has reasonable restrictions so, the state reserves a right to prosecute you. And I will completely support your lawful prosecution by the state.Lastly tell them –I also have a right to criticize your opinion. That is my freedom of speech and expression. So my criticism of your dissent shouldn't be seen as violation of your right. It isn't.
Having said all of the above –Know that there will be people opining anti-national sentiments. These people do not understand that somewhere outside, quite far away from their plush 50th floor AC towers, is a different reality.To their peusdo-intellectualism, not being patriotic is in vogue. When they speak of patriotism, they bring in Hitler (who absolutely has no equivalent whatsoever in India) and create a furor. They get support from a lot of other 50th floor occupants who speak in English and opine online completely viewing India from a West tinted Britain influenced glass hell bent to prove that India is intolerant.They choose to see the dissent. They give voice to the separatists and the Naxalites who have not contributed anything to the nation.They also argue with you saying "why should we contribute anything to the nation, who says we have to? "These are also the people who conveniently see religion and caste when they want, to prove that the Hindu majority is intolerant of others and ignore the opposite reality that glares in their face.And then there is the opposite reality –There is the reality of India's secular fabric which allows every religion to practice it's own law at the cost of growth of the nation.There is the reality of feeling a sense of pride and belonging to the nation which nurtures and grows us.There is the reality of wanting to contribute and help shape our nation.There is the reality of choosing 'Us' over 'them'.I say 'us' over 'them' because in International politics only fools think morally. The others are traitors with hidden agendas. Did America think of violating Pakistan's sovereignty in killing Laden? They didn't as they shouldn't.So, understand that they will choose what to believe because there are agendas. Not because there are many facts and different angles. That may be so. But to many (many many many) fucking questions in the world, there are no right or wrong answers.Who decides the right border line between China and India? Nobody. Might is right and that is how certain things in the world work.This is why sometimes it is about 'Us' v/s 'Them'.Do you think a soldier in the line of duty likes the fact that he has to kill another soldier in his line of duty? Or that they kill because India won a case in the International Court of justice and so we have a moral highground? Nope.They do it because it is their job.There is no right position or wrong position.Was India right in its role during the formation of Bangladesh? Pakistan would say India interfered. India would hail Indira Gandhi for taking a stern action and preventing further genocide. Bangladesh would thank us!Who's right? What's the moral position?(Important – This Us v/s Them is not a jingoistic, 'kill-every-enemy-you-have' and create unnecessary hatred in the world. We are a nation that gave the world Gandhi and never attacked a single civilization even when we could.This Us v/s Them is simply the acknowledgment of the fact that many times, there are no answers. We take this position because we are in India. That is all. Had we been in another nation, we would have spoken differently. There are no universal gospel truths in International politics. We raise our eyebrows (and that is literally all that we have done) when someone sitting right amongst us, eating our food and earning our money says 'death to India.' And we raise our eye-brows further, when some more of us, say what's wrong in that.)
So, my dear friend, just tell them the first three statements. React if you have good arguments to make. Hear everyone out. Stand your ground. Fight it.Tell them, for every dissenting voice they claim is being buried, there is a strong sentiment and love for the nation which keeps it going. They can choose foes and terrorists as their heroes.We will not be fooled.
Lastly, I say this always. They ask me why patriotism. I say –Because contribution to my nation, taking pride in her growth and diversity, is my way of saying 'Thank you' to all those who give their lives protecting her borders. It is my way of saying thank you to that last soldier who stands guarding the Siachen glacier so that I can have my 'Freedom of speech and expression'.
For more of my answers and posts about India, her laws and polity, follow –