Skip to main content

Sovereignty: Ignoring anti-colonial concept, celebrities 'support' corporate view

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* 

The question of national sovereignty is dominating debates in Indian politics today. The Modi government and a section of the Indian media have been deriding anyone as anti-national – whether students, youths, religious minorities, Dalits, tribals, Kashmiris, human rights activists, lawyers, rationalists, writers, journalists, comedians, cartoonists, progressive activists or farmers – if they questions the government of the day.
Indeed, the poor oppressed and the marginalised, fighting for justice, appear to be considered a threat to the sovereignty of the country. This is happening even as people appear to remain oblivious of this game. They seem to have long been insulated by the power of money, name, fame, constructed public image, and celebrity status, blessed by the government and the corporates.
Lumpen celebrities have forgotten their social commitments for the people who adore, celebrate, emulate and idealise them in their everyday life. Easy prey to deceptive forces, they live in an ideology-free zone called ‘opportunism’. They do not realise that Indian farmers are fighting the farmer laws which threaten their source of livelihood, or that Kashmiris have lived far too long an open prison, or that the tribals are facing the onslaught of mining-led industrialisation and corporate loot of their natural resources.
Nor do they realise that journalists are facing annihilating threat to their live for reporting truth, or students, writers, lawyers and human rights activists are languishing in prison cells. Indeed, they are oblivious of the fact that hunger, homelessness, unemployment and poverty are being accelerated by government policies, which defend of corporates.
This is happening at a time when realisation is dwelling among large sections of people that the Modi government is not serving their interests. This is crystalised by none other than in the farmers’ movement, continuing for the last three months. The farmers have begun to see how the BJP government is taking authoritarian steps to suppress the democratic voices of dissent with ruthless actions.
The fact is, corporate sovereignty and bonded citizenship are unsustainable. The Modi government’s policies are pitting farmers against army, Hindus against Muslims, north India versus south India and higher caste against lower caste. They are based on Hindutva politics, which seeks to undermine citizenship rights and democratic institutions.
Yet, majority of Indian celebrities are either silent, living in fear or defending the pro-corporate government, which is the source of their advertisement or tax rebate revenue. The farmers’ movement has attracted global attentions. Not without reason, many international voices have expressed their solidarity with Indian farmers and their right to defend their livelihoods.
Yet, the Modi government is hell-bent on implementing the anti-farmer laws which are concomitant with corporate interests, even though its failures have contributed to create conditions of enormous political, social, cultural, religious, economic and institutional crises. It is hiding behind by creating a propaganda war in the name of protecting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India.
A Hindutva protest 
From Indian cricketers, film stars, celebrities to media persons and corporate heads have started echoing the Modi government’s propaganda, as if India and its sovereignty is under threat after international celebrities and public figures tweeted in support of the farmers’ struggle. This way, the Hindutva forces are manufacturing the crisis of Indian sovereignty.
Farmers’ struggle has exposed limits of Westphalian sovereignty that has helped mobility of capital, territorialisation of labour
The Indian farmers’ struggle has exposed the limits of Westphalian sovereignty that helps consolidate the mobility of capital and territorialisation of labour. The ruling classes and their celebrity representatives call it as ‘our internal affair’. The Westphalian concept of national sovereignty is a bourgeois project, whereas the postcolonial national sovereignty is a product of mass movements.
The sovereignty of India is the product of the country’s anti-colonial struggle from all regional and religious backgrounds. It has helped shape India’s constitutional sovereignty, democracy, egalitarian and secular ideals of modern India. The sovereignty of India is a product of collective sacrifice and collective consensus to build a country for its people.
The people of India are the true shareholders and guardians of Indian sovereignty. The collective foundations of sovereignty, unity and integrity of India is shaped by its people and their citizenship rights are guaranteed under the Constitution of India. The unity, integrity and sovereignty of India depends on the common will of the people.
Hindutva forces are opposed to the ideal of India based on integral humanism, which reverberates in the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family). They seek to weaken Indian democracy by destroying the universal, egalitarian and secular nature of citizenship rights.
The unity, integrity and sovereignty of India depends on greater democracy, stronger and inalienable citizenship rights. The farmers’ movement seeks to reclaim democracy and citizenship rights to ensure unity, integrity and sovereignty of India. It can be called a national liberation struggle to uphold the inclusive legacy of the India freedom struggle. There is no space for territorial theology of sovereignty in it.
The collective emancipatory ideals have always brought people together from all backgrounds to fight unitedly against all forms of exploitation, inequalities and domination. Indeed, the struggle for human emancipation and justice and the ideals of solidarities are borderless. This is how human history has progressed from feudalism to democracy.
The successful struggles against slavery, feudalism, colonialism, apartheid, fascism and dictatorships are products of this interconnectedness of human beings, and their collective commitment to uphold common values of humanism beyond narrow selfishness or immediate identity based on nationality, religion, race and class.
Without doubt, the farmers’ movement in India represents the best traditions of united fight for justice. It has reinvigorated the progressive ideals of solidarity and internationalism.
---
*University of Glasgow, UK

Comments

Anonymous said…
Cricketers want assignments for their children - actors are possibly not comfortable with raids by various government bodies. The greatest of course is the candaian citizen actor. No problem if he decides to comment. But when other foreigners comment there is a problem. After all india is the worlds largest democracy comprised of all the rich folk mentioned in this article

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.

How retraints were imposed on academic freedom on the IIM-Ahmedabad campus

By Sandeep Pandey*  This is the seventh consecutive academic year when I would have gone as a visiting faculty member to the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad to teach an Elective course on Transformational Social Movements to the second year of Post Graduate Programme students. But the invitation has not come so far and it looks like it is the end of my teaching stint at IIM, at least, so long as the Bhartiya Janata Party remains in power at the centre.

Supreme Court Bar Association letter to CJI 'meant to defame' protesting farmers

By Prem Singh*  Have we ceased to be a wakeful and sensitive civil society and instead have become the horns of parties, leaders and governments? Whatever profession we are in, have we lost all respect for our responsibility and dignity?  It is understandable that a pro-corporate government should launch a campaign to defame the farmers from the very first day of its agitation against the government's apathy to their long-pending demands. Because it considers the people of the country, especially the hardworking farmers, labourers, artisans, unemployed and underemployed, not as citizens but as subjects who live at the mercy of the government.  But the professional noblemen of the civil society should defame the farmers in an organizational manner -- this explains our fall as a civil society.  It is a matter of utmost regret that the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association has written a letter to the Chief Justice demanding that he take suo motu cognizance of the “erring” far