Mixing patriotism for nationalism is political conspiracy: Shabana Azmi

Mixing patriotism for nationalism is political conspiracy: Shabana Azmi

Dehradun (Uttarakhand): Veteran actor Shabana Azmi has opined that it is essential for people to understand that mixing patriotism with nationalism is a political conspiracy in which they should not get involved at all.

The actor said it is essential that people understand the difference between patriotism and nationalism.

“Nowadays there is a situation in our country when you are not allowed to say that anything is wrong with your country, you then become an anti-national and this is done as a political conspiracy because there is a difference between nationalism and patriotism,” Azmi said.

She was addressing questions from the audience during a session dedicated to poet Kaifi Azmi at the first edition of the Dehradun Poetry Festival here, which is marking his birth centenary year.

Elaborating on patriots and nationalists, the actor said the former are “people who love their country and do not want any wrong to exist in their country so they criticise it because they want their country to be good.”

“A nationalist is someone who will hear nothing negative against their country. A nationalist is something that happened during the French revolution. Today to mix nationalism and patriotism is a political conspiracy in which we should not get involved at all. It is very very important that we understand this difference,” she said.

Azmi’s husband renowned Urdu poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar also addressed the session and said that it was not in the genes of Indians to harbour extremist views be it either extreme left or the extreme right ideologies.

“The temperament of a Hindustani cannot be an extremist. It is seen that 15 to 20 or even 40 generations before we were all farmers and today in the 21st century we are a 70 per cent farming society so you can imagine that over 500 years ago almost all of society in India were farmers. And a farmer is never an extremist. It is not in their temperament to be extremists; it is not possible for them to be hardcore communist or a hardcore VHP. They will always come back to the middle path,” Akhtar said.