Today, the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to suspend AIMIM MLA from Mumbai, Waris Pathan, from the House for the remaining days of the Budget session after he reiterated what his party chief Asaduddin Owaisi had said three days ago - that he will never say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'.
It is true that the Indian Constitution doesn't ask anyone to chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' to prove his/her patriotism/nationality - something rightly pointed out - first by Asaduddin Owaisi - and then by his party MLAs.
But the row begins here.
He has added another contentious point to the already intensified 'nationalism Vs anti-nationalism' debate - as if the beef politics, the sedition row or the 'award-wapsi' over the tolerance Vs intolerance debate or the ' religious conversion or Ghar-wapsi' episodes were not enough. The row has taken over the airwaves and has become the main news agenda of the day. And as the polls have been announced in five state assemblies, the polarization politics would do all to keep the row alive.
What Asaduddin Owaisi and others are saying is technically correct and they are rightly entitled to have their views.
But being a political person, and being a member of the Parliament and above all, being a people's representative, he has to be socially and politically correct here.
And he is socially and politically incorrect - literally (and not pejoratively as the phrase 'politically correct' has been a subject of linguistic discourse)!
We have the Constitutional guarantee on our fundamental rights including the right to free speech but while exploiting this right, we must also keep in mind that our Constitution also expects us to use our discretion in performing fundamental duties it lays down.
Yes, the fundamental duties are discretionary, voluntary in nature but that doesn't mean we should blatantly disregard them.
Something that Mr. Owaisi and his partymen have done.
If Mr. Owaisi and some others don't want to say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', it is their prerogative - but only in private - or as private members - not when you are in public life - and certainly not the way Mr. Owaisi has chosen to express his rant - while addressing a public gathering.
When communication goes on mass level, no one sees the intent but the words you speak - the words that have stirred a hornet's nest here. In order to score political advantage, he has given avenues to others engage in some votebank politics that ultimately disrupts social balance.
If the Constitution gives us the fundamental right to speak our mind, it also expects us to respect others' feelings and other thoughts - as it says - " to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities".
Mr. Owaisi and his party's tirades on 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' belie the spirit of this notion.
It is not about RSS or some other outfit asking us to swear by 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' , it is about our right to feel so and say so as Javed Akhtar very emphatically expressed it yesterday in the Parliament putting Asaduddin Owaisis in the doc.
Asaduddin Owaisi may try to score some political mileage by uttering a cheap political expression that would certainly hurt Indians across the communities. But if Mr. Owaisi thinks he will score some brownie points politically by using such inflammable words, it is really a dangerous precedent, a new low in political discourse in the country - something that has been mostly been crass or 'politically incorrect' for social harmony.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/