Herald: Religion and patriotism
Herald News

Religion and patriotism

21 Apr 2017 11:14pm IST

Report by
Radharao F. Gracias

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21 Apr 2017 11:14pm IST

Report by
Radharao F. Gracias

Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi captained the Indian cricket team, before Independence. At partition, he opted for India, not withstanding close blood relations with Liaqat Ali Khan, the founder Prime Minister of Pakistan. His son Mansur Ali Khan too captained the Indian cricket team. He later married Sharmila Tagore, the heart throb of millions. Their son, Saif Ali Khan followed in his mother’s footsteps and is a prominent film star. He married Kareena Kapoor the granddaughter of Raj Kapoor, generally acknowledged to be the doyen of Indian films. The couple named their son, Taimur which name has invited hostile comments accusing the Khans of being unpatriotic. The name is said to be a variation of Timur, who had pillaged the country centuries earlier.

Rajeev Hari Om Bhatia is listed as the most successful actors in the history of box-office in India. In 2013, the box-office collection of his films crossed Rupees twenty billion being the first and only Bollywood actor to achieve it. Suddenly, in the year 2015 he renounces Indian Citizenship and becomes Canadian citizen. The reasons for his change of citizenship in his own words are:

“I have a strong affiliation with Canada and also have dual citizenship. It's a place that I really love—the open terrain, the scenery, the wide roads and the clean streets. It's the complete contrast of my homeland, although I love India for all the opposite reasons and it's my home. I was honoured with a doctorate degree from The University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, for my contribution to the Indian film industry and for my social work in Canada.”

Not a soul has criticised him, for renouncing the country of his birth, where he earned name and fame. Instead, just few weeks back, he has been conferred the National Film Award for Best Actor. He is known in the film world, by the name Akshay Kumar and is married to daughter of Rajesh Khanna India’s first superstar. 

Between August 1978 and January 1979, around 50 people, working with the 168 Infantry Brigade and its subordinate units at Samba, were arrested for allegedly spying for Pakistan at the behest of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (MI). Probe involved practically the whole Officer cadre of the brigade.

Those arrested included a brigadier, three lieutenant colonels and a number of majors, captains, junior commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, and personnel of other ranks, as well as 11 civilians. They were all taken into custody based on the statement of two self-confessed Pakistani spies — Sarwan Dass and Aya Singh, who worked as gunners in the Indian Army.

The Supreme Court of India in 2014 upheld the sacking of the six officers namely : Majors N R Ajwani, S P Sharma and R Kmidha —and Captains Arun Sharma, J S Yadav, V K Diwan.

On 24.2.2017, The New Indian Express reported:

The Supreme Court has upheld the government's decision to sack two naval officers (Commanders Vijendra Rana and V K Jha) facing criminal trial in the 2005 Navy war room leak case. 

The 2005 Navy War Room leak case involves leakage of over 7,000 pages of sensitive defence information from the Naval War Room and the Air Headquarters, having a direct bearing on national security. The leak of sensitive information came to light when an officer was found in possession of an unauthorised pen-drive containing secrets of defence forces. A BoI was convened and the sacking of the two officers was recommended.

Rana, Jha, former naval officer Kulbhushan Prashar, former IAF Wing Commander Sambha Jee L Surve and alleged arms dealer and Delhi-based businessman Abhishek Verma are facing trial in a special CBI court in Delhi the case for the offence of criminal conspiracy under IPC and under various provisions of Official Secrets Act. While the accused are out on bail, prime accused Ravi Shankaran is still absconding and has been declared a proclaimed offender by the court.

The Hindustan Times dated 13.2.2017 reported:

Eleven men, including a relative of a ruling BJP councillor, have been arrested by the Madhya Pradesh police’s anti-terror squad (ATS) for allegedly running an international call racket that helped Pakistan’s ISI to spy on India’s military operations.

The two Inter-Services Intelligence operatives, Satwindar and Dadu, were arrested from RS Pura area of Jammu district in November 2016, said Shami. They were revealing sensitive information pertaining to defence installations and camps, besides other matters of strategic importance to handlers in Pakistan.

After the BJP came to power, we are constantly bombarded with the propaganda that to be a patriot one has to be a Hindu. Religious conversion is particularly opposed on this premise. By this definition Saif Ali, despite his family opting for India at partition becomes unpatriotic while, Akshay Kumar despite renouncing India for Canada is a patriot!

It is clear that almost all those indicted in spying scandals are Hindus. How then does one explain the fact that so many Hindus are spying against the country for its arch enemy Pakistan? 

Clearly, the propaganda of the Sangh Parrivar is unfounded. Religion has little to do with patriotism. Anyone, be he Hindu, Muslim or Christian is susceptible to be engaged in anti national activities. And this is something that all citizens of the country need to know.

(Radharao F. Gracias is a senior Trial Court Advocate, a former Independent MLA, a political activist.)

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