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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

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