Indian Opposition Parties Playing Into the Hands of Ruling BJP Over Nationalism: Sociologist

© AFP 2022 / DIPTENDU DUTTASupporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wait for the arrival of India’s Home Minister and leader of the BJP Amit Shah for a roadshow during the ongoing West Bengal's state legislative assembly elections in Siliguri on April 12, 2021.
Supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wait for the arrival of India’s Home Minister and leader of the BJP Amit Shah for a roadshow during the ongoing West Bengal's state legislative assembly elections in Siliguri on April 12, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.10.2021
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The issue of "nationalism" gained prominence among political parties in India in 2019 after the then chief of country’s ruling BJP - Amit Shah stated that "the elections should be fought on the basis of nationalism...What is wrong with the politics of nationalism?"
Nationalism has become one of the hottest issues among political parties in India since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went on to retain power in the 2019 parliamentary elections. Since then, most political parties have resorted to taking up the issue.
Along similar lines, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government on Tuesday launched a "Deshbhakti Pathykram" (Patriotic Curriculum) in the city's state-run schools.
Talking about the curriculum, Delhi State Chief and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said the patriotic curriculum will motivate children to feel proud about their country.
Via trained sociologist Akhilesh Pathak Sputnik explored the possible reasons driving political parties to get drawn toward the issue of nationalism.
Pathak, who is also a research associate at the city's Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, opined: "The political parties in India are playing into the hands of the BJP over the issue of nationalism".
Talking to Sputnik, Pathak said it is because the BJP's narrative of nationalism is so strong that parties like AAP have understood that if they are to take on the BJP at the ballot box, they will have to be pro-Hindu and pro-India.
"Nationalism is not being raked up because of any philosophical orientation. The leaders are resorting to it because they find it a winning narrative".
"AAP is trying to strengthen its political ground by following the sentiment", he stated.
Asked about its possible impact, Pathak said: "In a country like India which has a colonial past, nationalism is important because that will help you in recognising the problems of the country and addressing them".
"However, if the sense of nationalism goes on to become hyper-nationalism then it turns into jingoism and society becomes ruthless", he said, adding that hyper-nationalism is always detrimental to society.
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