Nationalism misused to polarise, divide and suppress individual freedoms today: Mridula Mukherjee2 min read
Manipal: Prof. Mridula Mukherjee and Prof. Aditya Mukherjee, from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi delivered two guest lectures on ‘Nationalism’ and ‘The Gandhian Model of Social Transformation’ at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University on October 12. It was organized by the Centre for Gandhian and Peace Studies.
Mridula Mukherjee, Professor of Modern Indian History at JNU spoke on the topic ‘Nationalism: Different shades in Indian national movement’. She questioned the hyper nationalism prevailing in India today by comparing it to the concept of nationalism derived from the Indian freedom struggle. “Nationalism then was meant to unite, harmonise and guarantee freedom of speech. Today, it is being used as a tool to polarise, divide and suppress individual freedoms,” she said.
Aditya Mukherjee, Professor of Contemporary History at Centre for Historical Studies, speaking on the Gandhian Model of Social Transformation, sketched a picture of the Mahatma with his words. He began by raising the point that this is the age of Gandhi-bashing. He elaborated on the ideals of democracy that Gandhi had dreamt of, and the ideology of non-violence with which he managed to unite Indians, irrespective of caste or religion. “It was a movement of the peasants and the Dalits as much as it was the movement of the capitalists. Gandhi brought the most inert people of society and took them in to political action,” he said.
The lecture was attended by a patient and inquisitive audience of 50 people including students and lecturers from various college, and local residents of Udupi. In a fiery question and answer session, Prof. Mridula Mukherjee defended her tone of criticism towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “To take positive action, we must recognise the negatives and move away from it,” she said. After the two speakers had addressed the gathering, the floor was open to discuss or ask questions. “Such dialogues are really necessary in a democracy like India and our country’s unity is based on Gandhian ideology, which always starts from the lower most part of the society,” said Shreedhar Bhat, a social activist from Udupi who attended the talk.
Earlier in the day, Prof. Varadesh Hiregange, Director Centre for Gandhian and Peace Studies welcomed the gathering and introduced the guests to the audience