The recently launched “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign (Tricolour on every house) is the recent step of the BJP government to display a sense of normalcy in the Kashmir valley post the revocation of article 370. Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign on July 22 all over India. Its goal is to get people to bring the Tricolour (the national flag of India) home and hoist it to commemorate India’s independence day on August 15.
However, the BJP is relentlessly working on this campaign in the Kashmir valley more than in any other state in India. The admin has issued an order for every house in Kashmir to hoist the national flag on their houses on India’s Independence.
Can Patriotism be Imposed- Asks the Opposition
India’s Independence Day is still weeks away. However, the process of coercing Kashmiris to accept this unconstitutionally unproven legislation has been going on for some time now. Some days ago the former CM of Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted a video from South Kashmir. A municipality vehicle announcing to the shopkeepers in the area to deposit Rs 20 each for buying a tricolor for the campaign or face consequences. “The manner in which J&K admin is forcing students, shopkeepers & employees to pay for the national flag to hoist it is as if Kashmir is an enemy territory that needs to be captured. Patriotism comes naturally & can’t be imposed,” Mufti had tweeted with the video.
According to other media reports, Budgam district’s Education Department issued a circular on the 25th of July. It asked the students and instructors to collect Rs 20 per person within four days. On July 16, the Chadoora zonal education officer (ZEO) sent out a circular to every school in the region. He instructed the administrators to collect money from every student and employee in support of “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign.
Regarding this circular a former minister of J&K, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura posted a copy of the order on Twitter. “Sad to see such orders being issued which contradict Div Com’s statement that “Har Ghar Tiranga” is totally a voluntary movement and there is no compulsion & insistence in it. Admin must realize that nationalism comes naturally & can’t be imposed through the barrel of a gun.” Hanjura tweeted.
Instilling Fear- A Perpetuating Technique
However, there have been past incidents where the government has coerced Kashmiris into submission by instilling fear in them. It has supported Islamophobic communities who have committed heinous crimes like rape to do the same.
In 2018, 8 Hindu men kidnapped, gang-raped, and murdered an 8-year-old Muslim nomad girl Asifa Bano from Kathua. These men kept her hidden in a temple till the time they murdered her. The perpetrators are said to have carried out the crime in order to instill fear in the Muslim community. They wanted the Muslims to stop them from buying any land in the area. The eight accused men discovered a crusading force of BJP lawyers and politicians in their corner. Some of them alleged the police investigators were Muslims and had a prejudice against the accused—all of whom were Hindus. Hindu right-wing groups including two BJP ministers of the former state at that time protested the arrest of eight accused Hindu men.
Braid Chopping And Ghost Stories
In the past, the Indian army has been using different practices to instill fear and submission into the Kashmiri people. Many locals also allege the Indian Army for Incidents like braid chopping of women by anonymous persons. It had become an eerily common occurrence in Kashmir in 2017. The separatists also accused Indian security forces of planning these attacks to “intimidate” Kashmiris.
There have been multitudes of confessions from the Kashmiri people. They state other forms of techniques used by the government and army. For example, orchestrating the appearances of paranormal activities as a technique of torture to make the Kashmiri population fearful. The locals attribute the Ghost stories of the ’90s to new military tactics to create a fear psychosis in the civilian population, however, some claims are unconfirmed.
Campaigning In Jammu, The Hindu Majority Part of J&K
The Indian government is propagating this campaign and other forms of enforced patriotism in Kashmir by instilling fear in the common public. But it is using a different strategy in the other part of the union territory. The Directorate of School Education in Jammu organized a Mega Parent Teacher Meet. The theme of the Parent Teacher Meet was”Har Ghar Tiranga” in all of the public schools in the Jammu Division. The goal is to inspire families to fly the Indian national flag at home during the week-long Independence Day celebration.
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BJP Enforcing Patriotism in India- Commerce, Marketing, Entertainment
India is about to witness its 75th Independence day. But many Indians fear that under the current regime their country has lost the real essence of what true freedom entails.
After the BJP came to power in India in 2014, the display of patriotism is visible in every large-scale trade, business, and industry. The BJP government has made enormous efforts to make this happen. There has been a rise in the production of patriotic and even jingoistic content in the entertainment industry. And hence this propagation of jingoistic content has penetrated the marketing industry. It’s no understatement that the term patriotism has become almost controversial in the social environment in today’s India.
Publicity of Patriotism
According to sources cited by ANI, states have organized Self Help Groups (SHGs) for the production of flags. The government has also included the MSMEs (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and regional tailoring businesses. To supply the flags in large quantities, the Ministry of Textiles has identified producers.
The Indian Coast Guard has also performed an undersea flag demo of the national flag as part of the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign. On Saturday night, the Indian Coast Guard tweeted a video of this with a direct message. “As part of 75th years of India’s independence celebration IndiaCoastGuard performed underwater flag Demo at Sea. This initiative is to invoke the feeling of patriotism in the hearts of the people.” it said.
Meanwhile, some Indians responded to the tweet with hashtags speaking of concerns India is facing since the BJP government came to power. In the face of serious issues such as acute unemployment, poverty, and hate crimes, the enforced display of patriotism by the BJP makes all its talk of nationalism and patriotism appear empty promises.
Read here, India Gags-up Media in Kashmir