It hasn’t taken long for the ill-effects of the BJP’s aggressive espousal of the nationalist cause to be felt outside its areas of influence. India is too vast and diverse a country – it comprises 4,635 communities, as Vice President Hamid Ansari reminded us – for one slogan to be chanted with equal fervour by all.
On the contrary, an insistence on using the slogan to test a person’s loyalty can provoke an adverse response, especially by youths. This is exactly what has happened at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar where India’s defeat by the West Indies in the T20 cricket World Cup was hailed by the Kashmiri students.
It is not impossible that at the back of their minds was the occasional harassment experienced by Kashmiri students elsewhere in India. For instance, four Kashmiri students were beaten up in March following allegations that they were cooking beef. In May, three Kashmiri students were forced to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and shout anti-Pakistan slogans.