Lindsay Pereira: Anti-national? Perish the thought!

Instead of banging on about anti-nationalism at universities, the government could just make it illegal for people to think for themselves

All this talk of anti-nationalism at universities has annoyed me all week. I think it’s time for the government to do the right thing and make it illegal for students to think for themselves. All they do is study anyway, which is obviously not a requirement for any of them to become politicians, so how will they ever bring change to our country? Also, this notion of students thinking for themselves is a bad idea simply because it goes against everything our ministers have done since India gained independence. If any of our ministers ever thought for themselves, instead of thinking along the lines their party leaders asked them to, where would we be as a nation today?

Tricolour LEDs adorn CST twice a year, but repainting all buildings will help the Incredible India campaign enormously, as everyone flying into our country will be greeted with a sea of saffron, white and green through the year. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Tricolour LEDs adorn CST twice a year, but repainting all buildings will help the Incredible India campaign enormously, as everyone flying into our country will be greeted with a sea of saffron, white and green through the year. Pic/Bipin Kokate

I think it’s also time we insist on a uniform for students in college. The government should make it mandatory for everyone in any university to wear clothing inspired by the tricolour. Saffron pants may be shocking on the local trains for a few months, but I’m pretty sure Indians and foreign tourists will eventually get used to the idea. After all, some of us managed to get used to the idea that the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi was actually doing something good for India. Painting all buildings using the tricolour as an inspiration will also help the Incredible India campaign enormously, as everyone flying into our country will be greeted with a sea of saffron, white and green.

Flying the tricolour is a great way of making sure every student in every Indian university will remember to praise his or her country first, before flying to America for a post-graduate degree. The flying of a tricolour should also be made mandatory at hospitals, specifically outside every ICU and inside every maternity ward, so that every child born in this country will see the Indian flag before seeing his or her mother, while every person about to pass away will see the flag and be grateful for the blessing that enables him or her to die in India.

I think the playing of the National Anthem should also be made mandatory at every public place, not just at movie theatres. Students should be made to sing it before being allowed to enter any school or college. They should also be compelled to sing it before watching Bigg Boss every evening at 9, so they never forget that even the dumbest people in the country are Indians first, before they become Bigg Boss participants.

The problem with students is they believe they have the ability and the right to think for themselves. They believe they can make a difference, and that minor issues like freedom of speech, human rights and justice matter. This is anti-national thinking, because the idea of India should be defined by the government of India, irrespective of whether or not that interpretation may clash with archaic notions such as justice and freedom of speech. The sooner our students understand this, the faster they will be able to take their places as true nationalists who love their country.

I also propose a change in the way examinations and extracurricular activities are conducted. Why should we examine students on their grasp of a particular subject, when we should actually be examining their Indianness? Why are we wasting taxpayer money on pointless sports, offering gold and silver medals when students can be made to compete against each other for titles that really matter, like Most Indian Student Of The Year? After all, it’s not as if we win Olympic gold or silver regularly anyway.

Another thing we seem to be forgetting — distracted as we all are by students being anti-nationals by asserting their individuality and intelligence — are the teachers. How do we make sure our teachers at universities aren’t helping generations of Indians think for themselves, instead of thinking in accordance with what the political party in power wants them to? I propose stringent screening techniques to ensure that only teachers who can’t think for themselves be granted top posts at our universities, ensuring that students at these universities toe the line.

Lastly, I understand that our universities don’t rank very highly abroad in terms of academia. I know we lag when it comes to original research, and the quality of engineering students we churn out every year. These things shouldn’t matter, and I’m glad we have a party in power that recognises the unimportance of inane things like rankings and quality research. Patriotism should always be more important than practicality.

When he isn’t ranting about all things Mumbai, Lindsay Pereira can be almost sweet. He tweets @lindsaypereira. Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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