New Delhi: Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai has now jumped into the ongoing JNU fiasco with his latest blog where he claims himself to be an 'anti-national' because of his strong belief in an expanded definition of the right to free speech as spelt out in Article 19 of the Constitution.
In his blog, he wrote, "When I was first accused of being ‘anti-national’ on social media, I was angry. Now, a few years later, the current coarse political discourse, where desh bhakti certificates are being liberally distributed, tempts me to scream: garv se kaho hum desh-drohi hai (proud to be ‘anti-national’)."
"Yes, I am anti-national because while I am discomfited by the slogan shouting at JNU in support of Parliament terror convict Afzal Guru , I do not see it as an act of sedition. The sketchy video evidence made available shows the ‘students’ (we still don’t know if all of them were, indeed, students) shouting slogans like ‘Bharat kee barbaadi’, and hailing Afzal’s ‘martyrdom’."
"Would we then by extension also suggest that the Hindu Mahasabha, which even today glorifies Nathuram Godse every January 30, even as the rest of India mourns the Mahatma, is an anti-national organisation? Should BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj’s defence of Godse be seen as an anti-national act or not, or will definitions of nationalism be shaped by the convenience of power politics?"
"Yes, I am anti-national because while I am a proud Hindu who wakes up to the Gayatri mantra, I also like a well done beef steak, which, according to BJP minister Mukhtar Naqvi, is a treasonous act, enough to pack me off to Pakistan. I celebrate the rich diversity of my country through food: Korma on Eid, pork sorpotel with my Catholic neighbours in Goa during Christmas and shrikhand during Diwali is my preferred diet. The right to food of my choice is again a freedom which I cherish and am unwilling to cede."
Sardesai has often been at the receiving end from the right-wingers for questioning government's policies. The senior journalist was heckled during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's event at Madison Square in New York last year.