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Are The Uniforms Of Indian Navy Personnel Being Changed To Suit The BJP | Arabian Weekly

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Are The Uniforms Of Indian Navy Personnel Being Changed To Suit The BJP | Arabian Weekly

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By Sushil Kutty

The first thing Prime Minister Narendra Modi did after cornering three states in the ‘Hindi heartland’ was to address Indian Navy personnel on Navy Day and proclaim that ranks in the Indian Navy will be renamed so that the ranks reflected Indian culture. The uniforms of sailors and officers of the Indian Navy will also display the legacy of Shivaji Maharaj. Question is, why is the Prime Minister of India bent on changing “everything-India” to suit his and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s idea of India?

For that is what Modi’s interventions in mundane military affairs – right down to what military ranks should be called – amounts to. And, by the way, what is Indian culture; aren’t there multiple facets to Indian culture; is Indian culture one homogenous whole; isn’t it right that there are multiple multifaceted Indian cultures, and what we have seen of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP’s idea of Indian culture is the Hindi-fication of everything that is India?

Otherwise, what Indian culture would be the “Agniveer-ing” of the Indian Army? Far as we know, “agni” and “veer” are in the lexicon of both the north and the south, but that still does not make them “Indian culture”. For, never in Indian history, going back thousands of years, have soldiers in multiple armies in the subcontinent been called or termed “Agniveer” till this point of time in our history.

Seems like somebody couldn’t forget ‘Agnipath’ featuring Amitabh Bachchan. The overarching question is, why should the Indian people be compelled to live the dream of a “Chaiwala” or adapt to a rightwing narrative? Unless, the politician also happens to be the Prime Minister of India whose tendencies have become the tendencies of a billion and 40 crore people.

In the United States, the left-liberal media, which is never tired of denying the legitimacy of the 45th American President, is back to warning Americans of another Trump dictatorship if ‘The Donald’ is re-elected President. Similar warnings couched in different words are being spoken about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, say his detractors, pretty much gets away with giving the impression of being authoritarian.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s writ runs the gamut of not only the Union government but also of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which bends to his will like the willow to the wind. The sycophancy surrounding Prime Minister Modi has to be seen to be believed. Prime Minister Modi’s announcement of a new nomenclature for the Indian Navy is authoritarian. The BJP was not elected to power to give new rank-names for sailors and soldiers.

The Prime Minister has warned of more such changes and said that “colonial symbols” had no place in current-day India. “With pride in our heritage, I am proud to announce that the ranks in the Indian Navy would be renamed according to Indian culture,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. “The role of women in the armed forces will also increase. I want to congratulate the Navy for appointing the country’s first woman commanding officer on a naval ship.”

Fortunately, the Prime Minister’s health is fine and there’s nothing to worry that his Navy rank nomenclatures would not be adopted. The Prime Minister will be around long enough to see the Indian Armed Forces in his true colours. For those of us fretting because the Congress lost in the Hindi heartland, there was the “North-South” divide to vent our disappointment on.

Certain Congress leaders did not wait. Like Karthi Chidambaram, who tweeted, ‘The South!’, highlighting the ‘North-South’ divide after the Congress lost 3 states in the north and Telangana in the South. Karthi deleted the divisive tweet later. Perhaps, at the instance of father P Chidambaram, who definitely has a far better idea of politics and the way it works.

Even non-politicians joined the sentiment. Like historian Ramchandra Guha, who tweeted: “South India has counted for too little in the Indian Republic. This is a waste for India as well as an unfairness to south India, because the south has a superiority in certain important things – in its relative lack of violence, its lack of anti-Muslim intolerance,…its better educational standards,…its little taste for Hindu revivalism”, a straight lift of Walter Crocket, former Australian High Commissioner to India, who wrote this in 1966.

What Ramchandra Guha forgets is that a lot of water has flown down the Ganga and the Kaveri since Crocket wrote his piece on north and south India. The India of 2023 is not the India of 1966 and the south India and north India of 2023 are not the same as the south India and north India of 1966. Guha should get out of his history cocoon and get up to date.

Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose fetish for the “ancient-i-fication” of India’s democratic institutions is what is at the root of the north-south division that has come to describe the Telangana Vs. MP/Chhattisgarh/Rajasthan elections results. The message being conveyed that the north is communal and the south lilywhite secular is ridiculous. It’s like saying “all terrorists are Islamists”. What will the Modi’s government call Indian Navy sailors, “Navik and Navika”? And when is the Indian Air Force’s turn to get Modi-fied? (IPA Service)

The post Are The Uniforms Of Indian Navy Personnel Being Changed To Suit The BJP first appeared on Latest India news, analysis and reports on IPA Newspack.

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