Nationalism is at the heart of any nation, anything adversely affecting the very philosophy of a nation should be dealt with hard terms that’s what the public perception demands too.

The inability of the previous regime to counter the nation’s mood then left a humongous void for astute politics to take over.UPA lost the election in 2014, and 2019 on the issue of credibility especially with the public perception against corruption then. What went as an undercurrent in the whole UPA tenure was a  big political failure i.e the discourse of “unattended revenge”. There were regular ceasefire violations at the time of UPA( which have come down in the last 100 days), for instance, there were horrific acts in 2012 wherein the Border Action Team of Pakistan acted as warmongers chiseling the heads of the Indian Armed Forces.

The Congress Party could neither satisfy the public demand nor glorify its stand on the National Integration (Marketing was done for MNREGA, not for nationalism). Now to accuse the NDA alliance of the sleight of hand cannot necessarily undo their ignorance of the politics of Nationalism. Mobilizing nationalist sentiment has always been a proper political prospect even before the Independence, leaders have used this sentiment to build up a whole movement. Rather than reaching a  national consensus on the issue of territorial Integrity, the then ruling party merely condemned the act of the Enemy and did nothing.

By vacating the space for nationalism, the left and liberals of both the political and intellectual arena have allowed the ethnic and belligerent nationalists to mold it their way. The masses voted for change in 2014, and a new set of politics is being witnessed since then. So to believe that masses are unheard in a democracy is not tenable. The approach of the current regime has turned out to be a nail in the coffin for the Indian National Congress (INC). Bharatiya Janta Party on the other hand had always used the argument of “Foreign Hand” better compared to its rival. 

The Congress had claimed that during its tenure there were six surgical strikes between 2004- 2014, whether or not the strikes took place is a matter of research, but the fact lies in the matter that they were not promoted, unlike what the current regime had done.

Though the surgical strikes post-2016 had a different magnitude and scope altogether, the credit goes to the political class of the day. Now, when good work has been done with the right intent, what’s the problem in promoting it? Marketing can enhance the image of a nation, which until now remained at ease. If during the time of UPA those strikes took place, why were they ashamed of reaping the benefits from the consequences?

Just by tapping into that void and marketing it on a holistic level with the help of the fourth state, the demand for revenge is satiated. The notion of “Naiki Kar dariya mei daal” is not anymore valid in times of marketing. Now, the notion is “Naiki  Kar ya mat kar use media mei daal”. The lessons of marketing have not yet been learned by the opposition.BJP marketed the hidden demand of the masses of revenge and now that they believe they have won the hearts of masses on national integration, they derive the power of labeling anyone the Anti-National.

Diplomacy is not the way of masses, they demand action and when someone encashes on the public perception, the rewards are immense. The deadly combination of religion and nationalism works for the BJP, in national politics. But the actual contributor of the same is no other than Congress. It’s not just polarization that gets you the votes every time. When you bring in an enemy which unites the whole nation that will eventually reap the political favors.

Unprecedented domestic polarization coupled with modern tribalism is not only widening the social strata, but even domestic politics has become a huge barrier to our foreign policy. There is hardly any consultation, forget consensus on any matter.

Disclaimer – The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone. These do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions, or strategies of Antahkaran by National Institute of Mass Communication and Journalism or the National Institute of Mass Communication and Journalism and other associates.