August 13, 2022
‘My patriotism is not an exclusive thing. It is all embracing and I should reject that patriotism which sought to mount upon the distress or exploitation of other nationalities’- Mahatma Gandhi
“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” – Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), English writer and lexicographer (dictionary)
In the middle of the fortnight-long celebration of the 75th year of Independence there are many voices spewed out on the subject. One such is published in venerable The Times of India (TOI) dated August 12, 2022 - dispatched from Dehradun by Gaurav Talwar titled “Get pics of houses not hoisting tricolor: U’khand BJP chief”. It is reproduced below in toto.
Uttarakhand BJP chief Mahendra Bhatt's remark at a public gathering that "people's nationalism can be questioned if they don't hoist the tricolour in their homes" during the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign triggered sharp condemnation from opposition parties and even local residents.
Videos of his statement have been widely circulated on social media.
Speaking at an event in Haldwani on Wednesday (10/8/22) as part of the Centre's 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' to mark the 75th year of India's independence, Bhatt said, "People won't see owners of those houses with trust where the tricolour is not hoisted this Independence Day... Get me photographs of those houses where the tricolour is not hoisted. People would like to see who is a nationalist and who isn't."
He added: "Who can have a problem with hoisting the national flag at home? Nation can't trust those who don't hoist the country's flag."
Slamming Bhatt's "silly remark", former state Congress chief Ganesh Godiyal said, "Being the state president of a national party, he should think twice before saying something. Currently, I am on a tour to the hills and can see many homes not hoisting the tricolour, maybe due to their difficult financial conditions under the BJP rule."
Bhatt told TOI, "Congress has misconstrued my statement. It is now saying that people don't have money to buy the national flag. Tricolour is being provided by the government through different mediums and the party is also helping in it. I just said why anyone would have a problem in hoisting the national flag at their residence on Independence Day. And, if someone still prefers to not hoist the tricolour, he/she, irrespective of religion, caste and race, would not be trusted by the people of this country."
Senior Congress leader Karan Mahra also took a dig at the BJP over "RSS headquarters not hoisting the national flag for many years".
He said, "If the BJP state president's statement is to be believed, then no one should not trust RSS as well."
A senior Aam Aadmi Party leader, who wished not to be named, said, "Uttarakhand is a hill state and people might not get the national flag at remote locations. Such statements (by BJP) are most unfair on the common people."
As I said initially I am serving this report without any embellishments.
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