Humans sometimes damage words in the same way that termites do to bookshelves. They are emptied of all meaning, relevance, and power. If we use a word frequently, frivolously, and in the wrong context, we make it sterile. By far, the Left has been the ninjas of hollow words and slogans. In order to win a high-school argument, it chews on cud words like ‘fascist’, ‘Nazi’, ‘genocide’, ‘class enemy’, and ‘bigot’ endlessly. People do not take these words seriously when they come from the usual suspects. Many of the Left’s problems can be attributed to hollowed-out slogans and words.
Is it fair for the Right to be left behind? The Left has started using one word in particular: ‘anti-national’. Anyone who disagrees with this statement is being thrown around loosely. People started shouting ‘Bharat tere tukde tukde/ Inshallah, inshallah’ as they attended the memorial for terrorist Afzal Guru, who planned the attacks on the Indian Parliament in 2001. The act was anti-national. The nation was outraged.
Since then, the word has been overused and misused to the point that RSS-backed magazine Panchajanya recently referred to Infosys as ‘anti-national’. It is a term that could describe the attempt to drape the Pakistani flag over the body of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. To call an Indian tech giant that employs nearly 2.6 lakh Indians and is worth over $100 billion anti-national in the midst of a pandemic is to blur the line between vigilance and full-blown paranoia. Infosys’ mistake? It botched up the implementation of the income-tax site after doing a lousy job with the GST site. It also funds a few media outlets critical of the Narendra Modi government. Does all this make it antinational? Definitely not. It dilutes the meaning of the word and demeans nationalism.
Private industry cannot be fair game for slander and slamming in a nation that aims to lead the world. Governments cannot build India alone. Its development goals cannot be achieved without the involvement of the private sector. Tata, Infosys, Wipro and other giants provide employment for millions, pay substantial taxes, provide relief under corporate social responsibility and make India proud. Targeting the nation callously, without any proof, is to target itself.
RSS distanced itself from the Panchajanya piece immediately. ‘As an Indian company, Infosys has contributed significantly to the progress of the nation’. It might be true that there are issues with a portal run by Infosys, but the article published by Panchajanya in this context only reflects the individual opinion of the author. RSS’ national publicity head Sunil Ambekar posted on Twitter that Panchajanya is not the RSS’ mouthpiece and the article it contains or the opinions expressed in it should not be linked with the RSS.
At least Sangh has disowned the piece. But it continues to hurl gratuitous accusations at India Inc without presenting any actual evidence. ‘Ambani-Adani agent; as a slur is in Congress’ everyday checklist. Thousands of Jio towers were destroyed during the Congress-backed middleman-farmers’ protest in Punjab. Politicians in India should think a hundred times before undermining the nation’s industry. The act of striking at the heart of India’s business and industry is anti-national.