Does patriotism and nationalism necessarily have to be inimical to the idea of differences in culture, ethnicity, religion? Should it override human rights and the rights of minorities?
August 7 was Rabindranath Tagore’s death anniversary. It was also the day Indo-Canadians in Greater Toronto Area celebrated the India Day Parade.
I don’t believe nationalism is either a necessity or a virtue. And yet, every year, when I hear Jana Gana Mana I have a lump in my throat. Nationalism or nostalgia – it’s hard to decide. This year, for the first time, I could also sing along with others the Canadian national anthem O Canada.
The parade had participation from a cross-section of Indian diversity – from Kashmir to Kerala and from the Northeast to Maharashtra. Expectedly, there was film and television glamour. Shabbir Ahluwalia and Neetu Chandra. I hadn’t heard of any of the stars who were participating from India.
Across Yonge Street, outside the Eaton Centre, there were the protestors. A group of people, who gather every year, waving anti-India banners and proclaiming their unalienable right to Khalistan, were also present and shouted slogans against India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his government’s anti-minorities actions.