Received date: August 10, 2020; Accepted date: August 25, 2020; Published date: September 01, 2020
Citation: Ansari R, Riaz S. Construction of ‘Anti-National’: Framing and Othering Discourse in Indian Media. Global Media Journal 2020, 18:36.
Copyright: © 2020 Ansari R, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,s which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Nationalism and patriotism are two ideologies that define us. It encompasses national belonging and unity within a nation. History stands testimony to the fact that Indian nationalism was an off shoot of anti-colonial sentiment. This anti-colonial sentiment is deployed by the media and politics in times of national crisis such as the Pulwama attack, Mumbai attack and Indian Parliament attack. The media sensationalizes such news and the political parties’ further manoeuvre this to take advantage of the situation created and to gain votes and popularity. Sensationalized media coverage of news targets Pakistan which perpetuates ‘anti-Pakistan sentiment’. Hence, large part of motivation for this research came from the Indian media reportage: news articles, television reports and social media posts, where Indians taking neutral to not an extreme stance against Pakistan, were trolled and tagged as ‘anti-nationals’. It raises important research questions related to Indian nationalism in particular. Is Indian media changing the perception of Indian nationalism? Does having a difference of opinion on matters related to the neighbouring country, make Indians anti-nationals in the eyes of media? Has anti-colonial sentiment been replaced by anti-Pakistan sentiment amongst Indians? Media’s portrayal of Indian nationalism has been regressive to the point that Indians are compelled (ordinary or famous people) to have an extreme stance, so as to avoid sinister media targeting and trials. The objectives of the study were therefore (a) to critically examine recently published articles and news in print Indian media asserting that exchange of cultural art, sports and political diplomacy with Pakistan is ‘anti-national’ and (b) measuring the constructs of evolving Indian nationalism. The study uses primary data collected through focused group and survey method, and applies principle component analysis to quantify constructs of the concept- Indian nationalism. The study finds that Indian media aggravates the negativity between the two countries, acts as ‘gatekeeper’ and frames its own people, othering them in the process.
Indian nationalism; Media polarization; Pakistan; Framing; Othering; Anti-nationalism
Nationalism is an ideology that is described as an attitude that the members of a nation have in relation to their national identity. It also includes the actions that the members take when seeking to achieve and sustain self-determination . It largely promotes self-identity and attachment to nationalist agenda. It is a system created by people who believe that their nation is superior to others. Countries build nationalism on shared language, religion, culture and sets of social values. It also emphasizes on shared symbols, mythology, sports, music, movies and literature .
The role of media is important as it projects dimensions, presents perspectives and portrays narratives that could be factual, or misleading. Indian media polarization is a buzzword these days and many national debates and researches are being done. Polarization is a term used for extremism and a situation where there is division of the sections of society based on a particular ideology. With regards to media polarization, print and electronic media should be represented in contexts and contents that does not disturb the equilibrium and harmony of the country or create a scenario where individuals of different communities get provoked against each other. It should not show favouritism and deviate from its main objective that is to spread awareness. It should not get influenced by individualistic views and biases. Reporting and coverage of news and information should not be in a manner where it creates a sense of inferiority, insecurity and superiority amongst its people and communities .
India has the second largest population of about 1.37 billion as per the census of 2019 and it is the single largest democracy in the world. It has estimated 80% Hindu population followed by minorities such as Muslims 13% and remaining others .
In a massive country with extreme polarized news, anyone can have difference of opinion on matters of national interest that can be negated but not termed at all as “anti-national”.
The study explores whether facets of anti-Pakistan sentiments as projected by Indian media have become integral to measuring Indian nationalism. The study looks at recently published news articles where the exchange of cultural art, promoting sports and political diplomacy with Pakistan has been regarded as ‘anti-national ’ by the Indian media. The study objectives are broadly presented as under:
1) To critically examine recently published articles and news in print Indian media asserting exchange of cultural art, promoting sports and political diplomacy with Pakistan as ‘anti-national’ and presenting arguments using international cases to counterbalance anti-national media proposition.
2) To quantify the conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism using primary data (principle component analysis).
We as researchers are motivated by a number of factors to undertake this study. Pakistan is our neighboring country and that we have not chosen but given to us. We share common region, history and legacy in pre-partition times. From language to food, many aspects are common between the two countries. However, we have been at loggerheads since the time of partition. Recently MeghnaGulzar ’ s Bollywood blockbuster ‘Raazi’ received national and international acclaim for its thought-provoking content centered around the idea that “to love your country, does not mean to hate another, the two are not related” . This was another factor of motivation to carry out this research.
In an article by David Miller  on nation and nationalism, they review the evolution of the concept of nationalism. It primarily referred to a phenomenon that goes back to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries political thought. It looks at the Old Testament of the Jews and the ancient Greeks. There was a sense of belonging amongst them marked off by certain characteristics- an embryonic sense of national superiority.
In a study by Sraders , the term ‘nationalism’, historically, was used to describe radical, political and militaristic movements like Nazism. It differentiates between patriotism and nationalism, the latter being more sinister in nature. Extreme nationalist feelings have led to genocides and the holocaust.
A research paper by Elizabeth  talks about the history of nationalism. One of the first countries to adopt nationalism as their main political force in the 19th century was France. Yet many people like the French peasants still possessed an individualistic mindset where they gave their loyalty and devotion to the local provinces rather than the entire nation. A transitional period from 1870 to early 20th century is marked by increasing modernization and industrialization as a result of which there was a movement towards nationalism.
While nationalism from a German/Nazism point of view differentiates between patriotism and nationalism, with the latter being more sinister, French nationalism is seen as a progressive outlook towards economic prosperity.
Moving from the evolution of nationalism as an international concept, we now look at the terminology from an Indian perspective.
An article by Basanta Nirola in ‘Youth Ki Awaaz’  speaks of the evolution of Indian nationalism. Indian nationalism, as a concept, developed as a result of the freedom struggles against the British colonization. From an Indian perspective, nationalism is anti-colonial nationalism. It is the growth and development of the anti-colonial sentiment which signifies a common political consciousness with the purpose of attaining self-rule.
On the other side, recent debates on nationalism redefine the term ‘nationalism’ for achieving political goals and winning elections by acquiring votes. It has led to misconceptions about the said concept. Now, it has shifted from anti-colonial sentiments to anti-Pakistan sentiments.
Dwaipayan Bose, an Indian journalist at Hindustan Times , spoke about the India-Pakistan media war. He lays out the problem, ‘For years now, the media of both nations have been fighting a proxy war that is blurring out factual and unbiased coverage of events in the subcontinent. Overly nationalistic posturing and jingoism lie at the heart of this. Journalists, columnists, TV anchors and analysts of one country are busy exposing the ‘bias’ and ‘hypocrisy’ of the other, and in the process, adding insult to a 64-year-old injury.’
He states that India and Pakistan are nuclear states. There is a vicious cycle in these states internally. The talk by media war agitates the masses and the agitated masses in turn pressurize the media to continue with the aggressive tone.
Taking the anti-Pakistan sentiments forward, we will discuss research articles recently published within the domain of art and cultural diplomacy, where we look at how Bollywood celebrities are victimized and tagged as ‘anti-nationals’ for not taking extreme positions or making any neutral comment about Pakistan.
While promoting her upcoming film, No fathers in Kashmir, Bollywood actress SoniRazdan, was backlashed by Indians. Her comment about the current scenario of the valley created a massive controversy where she was labelled as an ‘ antinational’. People who disagree with her views asked her to leave India and go to Pakistan. She reacted to this by stating that she will be much happier in Pakistan as the food there is good. She was slammed furthermore and was asked to shift to the neighboring country if she thinks Pakistan is better than India .
Another similar case highlights the Bollywood actor, Naseeruddin Shah, who voiced his concern about the growing mob violence in India in a video interview. He stated, ‘the death of a cow has more significance than that of a police officer ” , referring to the Bulandshahr violence where a policeman lost his life to mob fury over alleged cow slaughter. He was criticized and trolled for voicing his opinion. Trollers took it as far as sending him away to Pakistan. Uttar Pradesh’s NavnirmanSena president Amit Jani called him a ‘traitor’ and even booked a flight ticket to Karachi for the actor. Shah later clarified his comment by another statement, “ What I said earlier was as a worried Indian. I have said this earlier as well. What did I say this time that I am being called a traitor?... I am expressing concerns about the country I love, the country that is my home. How is that a crime?” .
In the name of nationalism, statements by public artists are taken very personally. Any comment is considered against the Indian nation and as a result, trolled and criticized to be sent back to Pakistan.
Bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan, was offered a movie by Oscar-winning director, Danny Boyle, where he was to play a role of a Pakistani. In the wake of the Pulwama Attack, the actor said ‘no’ to the project. He took the safe route instead of being called an ‘anti-national’ by the people of his country.
These 3 scenarios show that Indians view people not taking extreme position or having a perception about the neighboring country as an insult to their own and retaliate by slamming their own artists. They are called ‘traitors’ and ‘anti-nationals’ for voicing their concerned thoughts about their own nation. An indirect and personal attack is taken by Indians and therefore they backlash by questioning the actors’ loyalty and nationalistic feelings towards their home country.
Nationalism has surged its way into the entertainment industry.
Looking at another review by Gulf News , it talks about the banning of Pakistani artists by the All Indian Cine Workers Association (AICWA) in India post the Pulwama attack. They stated that for anyone who collaborates with the talent from Pakistan will be resorted to strong actions taken against them. In a notice undersigned by the general secretary of AICWA, Ronak Suresh Jain, it said: “All Indian Cine Workers Association strongly condemns brutal terrorist attack on our soldiers at Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. AICWA stands with nation in confronting such terror and inhumanity. We are officially announcing a total ban on Pakistani actors and artistes working in [our] film industry. Still if any organization insists on working with Pakistani artistes, [it] will be banned by AICWA and a strong action will be taken against them. Nation comes first, we stand with our nation.”
Along with this, Bollywood films are not to be released in the neighboring country, Pakistan.
A similar scenario occurred back in 2016 where one of the Bollywood’s leading director’s Karan Johar was targeted and criticized to have casted Pakistani actor, Fawad Khan, into his film, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. This response from a part of the nation made him plead with the people to watch his film. In a video interview, he made a statement, “Over three hundred people in my crew have put their blood, sweat, and tears into my film.” And with this he promised to not work with the endowments from the neighboring country, Pakistan stating, “I salute the Indian Army” .
In the Unites States of America, there are many Arab celebrities who have made their living and have settled there. Artists include Omar Sharif, Rami Malek, Salma Hayek, Hamza Saman and many more. US and Arab countries like Syria and Lebanon have been at loggerheads where US has raised many wars in those countries. Yet, they have not banned any nationals from the Arab world and have accepted them into the Hollywood industry while also giving them the US citizenship. Parallel to this, those Arab countries did not call their celebs ‘anti-nationals’ for working in US.
Banning talents from other countries, irrespective of the history and current conflicts, does not fall under the term ‘nationalism.’
In the field of sports, a similar output is seen.
A question, ‘Why Indian cricket fans post and show hate towards Pakistan Cricket Team when they even know Pakistan have best record among all Asian nation?’ was answered by John Smith, a cricket fan on Quora.com . It states that both teams have immature fans who have zero respect for the opponent team. They are a vocal minority where they bash the opposing team and glorify their own. The same people cry ‘cheat’ at the smallest and insignificant umpiring error.
Post the Pulwama Attack, the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI), wrote to ICC requesting them to boycott Pakistan from the ICC World Cup that is to be held in May 2019. And if they fail to adhere to the said request, India will voluntarily walk out of the World Cup .
In an article published in Times of India , it talks about Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s statement on the news of India not wanting to play against Pakistan in the upcoming world cup. He said, “India has always come up trumps against Pakistan in the World cup. Time to beat them once again. Would personally hate to give them two points and help them in the tournament.” He endorsed Sunil Gavaskar’s comment on the same issue by claiming that India is better off at beating the neighboring country in the world cup rather than forfeiting the match. Gavaskar stated, “Who wins if India decide against playing Pakistan in the World cup? And I am not even talking about the semis and the finals. Who wins? Pakistan win because they get two points. India have so far beaten Pakistan every time in a World Cup, so we are actually conceding two points when by beating Pakistan, we could make sure that they don't advance in the competition.”
Not playing Pakistan is an extreme stance where political affairs are being meddled into the international arena of sports. But, beating Pakistan in the game is no more in the true spirit of sportsmanship. Winning against them is now a nationalistic agenda where the nation always comes first.
A large part of the younger generation watches and enjoys this international sport. With such a decision asserted, what message is the youth absorbing?
Recently, there was an incident online where an Indian cricket fan said that he enjoys watching the English and Australian matches more. The captain of the Indian cricket team, ViratKohli, replied, “Okay, I don’t think you should live in India then… you should go and live somewhere else, no? Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don’t mind you not liking me, but I don’t think you should live in our country and like other things. Get your priorities right.” Joining the large group of cricket fans, Inspector General of police (IGP) traffic, BasanthRath, criticized Kohli’s comment by writing, “Dear ViratKohli, I love JavedMiandad. You please keep your cricket patriotism to yourself. And to your advertisement contracts.” .
Does this mean that if we don’t like anything about our country means we are ‘anti-nationals’? Are we not allowed to exercise our ‘ freedom of speech ’ and voice our likes and dislikes?
The anti-Pakistan sentiment does not confine only to cricket but also leashes out to other sports. Indian tennis player, Sania Mirza, was trolled on social media where she was wished a happy Independence Day on August 14th. An Indian troller wrote, “ Happy Independence Day @MirzaSania..aapka independence day aaj hi haina (Your Independence Day must be today).” Being an Indian married to a Pakistani, she shut down the troller with befitting replies, “Jee nahi...mera aur mere country ka Independence Day kal hai, aur mere husband aur unnki country ka aaj!! (No. My country and my Independence Day is tomorrow while my husband and his country's is today.) Hope your confusion is cleared!! Waise aap ka kab hai?? (When is yours?) Since you seem very confused.” Her post led to hate comments where she was humiliated for marrying a Pakistani .
There are many inter-national marriages of Indians including Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra with American artist Nick Jonas. Questions of nationalism are not raised in this case. Indians are prone to criticism and are called ‘anti-nationalists’ if they have a positive connection to Pakistan.
These reviews show that nationalist feelings are questioned even in the field of international sports. Personal issues like marriage of sports persons are now considered and looked at from a nationalistic point of view.
On the note of cricket rivalries, Australia and England have been archrivals in cricket ever since. In fact, their competition to each other is bigger than that of India and Pakistan ’ s. Mentioned by Laura Hale on Quora.com  responding to ‘Why is England vs Australia a big sports rivalry?’, it looks at how both the countries’ look at each other on the sports’ field. Considering the fact that England invented the game of cricket, it is a national shame that they do not win the world cup taking in to account their history with the sport. Their befall acts as a reminder when their opponents prove equal to them. Australia has been playing their win against England in the early days of international competitions. Aussies have close to 100 demoralizing victories against them. On the flip side, is the genuine and sporting nature of the English who claim that the rivalry against the Aussies does not necessarily matter to them. They believe that they will secure their place in the world only because of their history with the game that Australia will not be able to have. They know that all they require is will and determination to beat their archrivals.
India and Pakistan have a similar rivalry against each other in the said game. However, defeats in the game is taken out of proportion and merged with other aspects of the nation, e.g.; religion, politics and international affairs.
Political diplomacy is another lens to look at Indian nationalism.
Reviewing the article published by Khaleej Times , Cricketer-turned-politician, Navjot Singh Sidhu, was attacked and fired online for attending the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister, Imran Khan. His act was coined as ‘shameful’ and an ‘unacceptable act’ by the BJP. Sidhu’s hug with the Army Chief General, Qamar JavedBajwa, was scrutinized and criticized with the opposing parties asking him whether he remembers the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers. He was called an ‘opportunist’ who seemed to have put the nations’ dignity at stake with his visit to Pakistan. Punjabi BJP chief, Shwait Malik, questioned, "On one side, the Pakistan army was involved in attacking our soldiers at the border and on the other side Sidhu was hugging the Army chief. Does it mean he was thanking him for killing our jawans?"
The health minister of Haryana, Anil Vij, termed Sidhu's participation in the ceremony as an ‘act of disloyalty’ towards India which “will not be endorsed by any patriotic citizen” of the country.
Looking at the article published in India Today , in the wake of the Pulwama attack, Sidhu commented, ‘For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation, and can you blame an individual? It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished.’ This tweet was backlashed from opponents and created an unwanted controversy in relation to the Kapil Sharma Show. He was therefore asked to leave the show.
Bringing forth the theory of ‘framing’, there is a connection between the said theory and this research . The theory states that something that is presented to the audience, which is called the ‘frame’, influences and shapes the choices people make on how to process that information. Media exercises a selective influence on how people view reality. In this context, the Indian media acts as the ‘frame’ that induces its people on how to view and deal with Pakistan. Keeping in mind that the Indian media is pro-government, print and electronic news will entail nationalistic agendas and propagandas that work in favour of the government. Reviewing the above literature shows that framing is done via the Indian media against Pakistan where the cognition and perceptions of Indians are targeted.
Taking light from another theory, that is, the theory of ‘othering’ , the process is seen in how Indians reciprocate other fellow Indians who take a neutral to a not so extreme stance. Liking or disliking someone is not othering. It is a phenomenon based on the conscious or unconscious assumption that an identified group poses a menace to a favoured group; in the context of our study, Pakistan supposedly being a threat to India. This tool is used by politicians and the media as opposed to personal communication. Powell shares his concern on how othering is used in today’s power structures: how it is being used to divide and dehumanize groups and reshape government and institutions. In the milieu of this research, the process of ‘ othering ’ is enacted via the Indian media. Those with difference of opinions and views are ‘othered’ by the majority for taking a neutral and not-so extreme standpoint.
Several literature reviews with various perspectives have been critically analyzed. Most news on Indian media are seen to have taken an extreme stance by labelling Indians as ‘antinationals’. On the other hand, a few articles take an opposite stance. Nationalism is an international concept and therefore needs to be viewed with an objective, neutral and unbiased perspective. Yet, Indian media has used this terminology of ‘nationalism’ as a political agenda and propaganda as news on print and electronic media is pro-government. There are no studies that take a balanced approach that is objective and neutral.
Three open-ended questions based on study objectives were designed and disseminated to Indians.
a) What is your opinion on India not playing Pakistan in ICC World Cup 2019 as an act of supporting Indian nationalism?
b) There has been a ban on Pakistani artists for working in Indian entertainment industry, many renowned filmmakers have refused to work with Pakistani artists calling it in ‘national interest of India’. Do you think it supports Indian nationalism?
c) Navjot Singh Sidhu, member of Indian Parliament faced backlash for not taking an extreme position on Pakistan, as a gesture to promote foreign and political diplomacy with Pakistan. Does that make him or anyone, with a similar stance, less of a national?
The sample size was 41. There were 19 males and 22 female participants. Their average age is 23 years. Participants were students of various undergraduates and postgraduates programmes.
The collected data was transcribed into NVivo. It was analyzed thematically using keywords appearing in all three questions. Codes were formed and after completing initial process of coding transcripts and thematically coded comments, final results were reviewed by researchers. The emerging themes included:
1) Sportsmanship promotes Indian nationalism: Participants were divided on this question, but majority felt that not playing Pakistan in World Cup 2019 is “ not healthy ” and against “sports spirit” that promotes “healthy competition” and “neutrality” in the playing field. One of the participants said, “ sports is a different battlefield altogether, India ’ s decision to not play Pakistan is a weak gesture”. Whether it is a part of Indian nationalism? - a respondent said that “sports have no boundaries” and it is a “different perspective” that cannot be seen through lens of nationalism. Is it a part of Indian nationalism? The answers included “ it is not ” to “ beating Pakistan in the ground field will uplift our nationalism” in perhaps much positive way.
2) Soft-image does not promote Indian nationalism: Does cultural exchange with Pakistan makes Indian image softer? The question received mixed reviews. Some participants said that India being a progressive nation welcomes talent from all over the globe, then why ban Pakistan?” and “cultural and arts has no boundary”. While, few respondents used the terms “right decision” and “not dealing in anyway with Pakistan sports nationalism ” . Does this action support Indian nationalism? - Answers included “Pakistan needs India” to uplift its talent and it is not otherwise. If Pakistani actors have to earn in India, then they should “support India in times of issues arising between two countries”. One respondent said “they (Pakistan) hail their army”, “chant anti-Indian slogans” which is not acceptable to us.
3) Indian being hardline negotiator promotes nationalism: Essence of this question is reflected in statements by participants: “ United against Pakistan makes Indian emotional”, “we need to blame someone!” and “political diplomacy with Pakistan has time and again proven to have no future”. So, there is no apparent need for having bilateral framework to support any such diplomacy dialogue. Few respondents were of the view that taking an extreme position is not appropriate and rather has negatively flourished under current political regime of BJP. A participant said, “Pakistan against narrative sells easily” and “BJP sells the idea of bashing Pakistan to its voters”. It is particularly true in regions of India where BJP has higher political acceptance. If you go to “south of India, where I am from this narrative doesn’t sell” and “not really part of nationalism”. Mr. Singh is a “congressman” so obviously his comments will “ not go down well with BJP supporters”. One of the respondents said that “The caste system has divided us, religion has divided us and now not taking an extreme stance against Pakistan is dividing us”.
Input received from qualitative analysis helped in developing six items to measure the conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism in recent times. Media researchers with appropriate background were involved as experts to review items and rate if listed items reflected measuring construct. The analysis was done on scale ranging from weak measure (1) to very good measure (7). After some corrections, 12 students were handed questionnaire for content assessment. Finally, a five-point Likert scale was used to evaluate perception of participants towards ‘othering Indians’ and framing them as ‘ anti-nationals ’ for having neutral viewpoints on matters related to sports, cultural art and foreign diplomacy with Pakistan. Reliability of the construct test showed Cronbach α to be 0.704. As scale development method stipulated by Lawshe, the questionnaire was distributed to 200 students.
This process was useful to validate inter-item correlations and results of reliability (0.763). Exploratory factor analysis ascertained that constructs of conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism is of reliability based on factor loadings.
The questionnaire measures the conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism to the point of othering and framing Indians as anti-national in print and electronic media. 5-point Likert scale was deployed. The questionnaire was administered to 500 Indian students electronically and physically, of which 212 (42.4%) returned. Out of the 212 respondents, ∼67% were under 25 years and mostly undergraduates. ∼62% were males and ∼38% females. ∼56% of the participants argued that their views on Indian nationalism were a mixed mixed-bag of more of mine and less of others opinion (70:30), ∼22% referred to them as a mixed-bag of almost equal of mine and others opinion (50:50). ∼71% agreed to regularly following at least one Indian news channel or newspaper on daily basis for new updates on politics, entertainment and sports.
Reliability test (Cronbach α=0.701) exceeded the 0.7 threshold which is the minimum acceptable standard. Keiser- Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy test was 0.618, while Bartlett’s test of sphericity was significant. It confirmed data appropriation for factor analysis. The results showed that the variable (conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism) explained 62% of the total variance based on constructs. Item within correlation were also significant and was found to be within acceptable range. The results of the exploratory factor analysis and correlation between the items revealed that these items, together, measures the conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism leading to framing and othering phenomenon on the rise (Table 1).
|Conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism||0.832|
|India playing Pakistan in ICC World Cup 2019||0.752||0.705**|
|Banning Pakistani artists to work in India||0.762||0.711**||0.703**|
|Hardline negotiator for political diplomacy||0.732||0.671**||0.509**||0.561**|
|Neutral to favorable opinion on matters related to Pakistan are 'Anti-nationals'||0.632||0.624**||0.521**||0.503**||0.470**|
|Indian media's role is progressive (not polarized)||0.503||0.406**||0.445**||0.365**||0.361**||0.236**|
Interpretation: Correlation** significan
Table 1: Exploratory factor analysis and correlation between items.
From the above methods and procedures, the data collected suggests that playing Pakistan in World Cup 2019 supports nationalism. In the domain of arts and cultural diplomacy, there were mixed reviews with the most being that banning of Pakistan talent from India supports nationalism. From the lens of political diplomacy, Indian nationalism revolves around dialogues wanting to be the ‘hardline negotiator’ as per the thematic analysis of qualitative data. There should be a bilateral way relationship to support diplomacy and not a oneway control. It is solution to most of the world’s problems, yet it is not taken in the right spirit. There may likely be no future for both countries if diplomacy does not become a realization in its true essence. For if this scenario of dialogues continues, a horrid scene as the holocaust is right around the corner.
The data also shows that the conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism is related to ‘othering’ its own people for not taking an extreme stance. The sentiment was not very strong in sports, but in other all aspects, it was part of the constructs. The analysis and correlation of data concluded that the items, as a whole, measures the conceptual evolution of Indian nationalism leading to framing and othering phenomenon on the rise.
Summarizing this study with relation to the theory of ‘framing’, both the countries use their media to frame the other. Their polarized media portray a negative image of the other to their national viewers. But being a step ahead, the Indian media depicts an extreme view of Pakistan making it a part of their nationalistic ideology. They highlight certain events and place them in the ‘ anti-Pakistan ’ context that either encourages or discourages certain interpretations.
‘ Othering ’ and ‘ belonging ’ have become common terminologies. These are part of the broader issues in nationalism. Homogeneous identities strive to create an ‘us’ against ‘them’ mindset. They entail a sense of ‘separateness’ through which our ‘belonging’ is defined . Othering results in the exclusion of ‘others’ from the realm of ‘us’, happens through thought/perception control and manipulation and official ideologies, policies, rules, laws, culture and media. Since the New Zealand terrorist attacks, Parvez has been thinking about what it means to be the ‘other’ and why the world is so divided and partitioned. Recent research emphasizes that we live in a highly politicized world. Everything is part of a political ideology; from the food we eat to the choices we make; the education we receive to the words we express. Our sensitivities and perceptions of people around us are also based on these politically charged ideas. Moving on to global trends of ‘othering’, the political, social and economic processes have contributed to the construction of ‘ defensive identities ’ . We are now witnessing a global upsurge in the ‘defensive us’ against the threat of the ‘other’. This whole conception and notion of the ‘defensive us’ is built around the concept of identities being under menace by the others. We have to question ourselves if this really is a threat or just an illusion, and who is creating it.
In relation to the study, those Indians who take a neutral to a not extreme stand, with regards to Pakistan, are considered ‘othered’ by the Indian media from the majority as seen from the Indian nationalistic viewpoint.
The face of othering has been witnessed internationally.
Since Donald Trump’s election as US President in late 2016, strong anti-immigrant feelings and white supremacist ideologies have been on the rise, consequential in attacks against people of colour and different religions. Trump’s white supremacist and racist mentality and attitude have contributed to the rise of movements like ‘Black Lives Matter’ in response to systemic racism against black people, predominantly African Americans.
Another example of racist ‘othering’ is the case of Ilhan Omar who is the first Muslim, Somali American woman to be elected to the US Congress. She has been subjected to racist attacks due to her comments about Israel and was coerced to apologize. Trump even suggested that she should resign, simply for voicing her opinion.
How can we move towards creating a more non-violent and peaceful world built on cooperativeness, collaboration, respect, mutual understanding, kindness and peace if extremist ideologies based on ‘othering’ and ‘framing’ are constantly being created, tolerated and accepted globally? If we are not going to take extremist ideologies seriously and engage actively in tackling their root causes, then can we really be surprised when they result in terrorist attacks such as the Christchurch mosque attacks and the holocaust?
To conclude this study, nationalism is not identified based on a person’s religion, caste or community. It exceeds all these aspects. Using these constructs, nationalism has become negative with irrational blaming and spreading hatred. Every individual has difference of opinions and views for every situation, topic or concept and the ‘freedom of speech’ allows them to voice their thoughts. Because someone has different political views or ideologies than the majority of the population, does not mean they can be identified as an ‘antinationalist’. Also, ‘framing’ other countries because of conflicts with them, cannot be coined as ‘ nationalistic ’ . Instead of turning to violence, verbal abuse, trolling on social media platforms and ‘othering’ people, people should stand together as national integration.
The study also concludes, that Indian history of nationalism began with ‘anti-colonial sentiments.’ Indians stood together against oppression and the domination they faced by the British. Post the partition and with recent events, it has shifted from anti-colonial to ‘anti-Pakistan sentiments.’ Additions of its flavors are seen in sports, art and culture and political diplomacy. The media of the nation manipulates and perpetuates this by playing an active role by ‘framing’ Pakistan and ‘othering’ its own people who take a neutral to not-so extreme stance.
The British rule was the main reason for the division of Pakistan and India as two separate independent states. Even so, both still want to maintain good relationships and ties with their colonizers in the forms of immigration and the want for British passports, jobs and settlements, investments, trade, tourism and education. Yet, they are not ready to settle conflicts, disagreements and bad blood amongst them. The question to be raised is ‘why does India still hate Pakistan?’ Both the nations got what they wanted but even then, the disputes continue. Who is to blame?
Finally, as researchers we feel that you could either be from India or Pakistan but the yardstick to measure nationalism cannot be dictated by media. Articles discussed in this paper, along with the theories of framing and othering, have made us realize that to be completely devoted and loyal to our homeland and to be called a nationalist, we must love our countries only while hating the rest of the nations across the globe. We wonder, then, what exactly nationalism is? Is it taking such extreme stances and measures and being intolerant towards the neighboring countries?
Concluding this critical analysis, important points are mentioned that need to be highlighted and thought over. India and Pakistan are two neighboring countries. It is impossible to change their geographical location. Instead of being at each other’s back, why don’t the two nations grow together, unite and talk peace? Why does the Indian media, backslash Pakistan for every chance they get irrespective of different aspects, eg; religion, sports, entertainment industry, foreign and international affairs? For any comment made by an Indian regarding Pakistan (be it as simple as appreciating its natural sceneries or wanting the best for their own country), why is their nationality, devotion and loyalty to their home country, India, questioned? Why take an extreme stance?
A saving grace titled as ‘Patriotism doesn't need Pakistan as punching bag: Raazi director’ is an article published in Times of India (2018). It discusses the international success of the film that is set in the months preceding the 1971 war and portrays a Kashmiri girl married into a Pakistani army family to spy for India. Gulzar had a message to give out through the movie. “That to love your country does not mean to hate another. The two are not related. To love your country, you don't need a punching bag.” She adds, “I think it all comes down to intent. Film ki neeyat saaf lagti hai (the intention of the film looks pure) … At the end of the day, we are saying we are the same people, we were one. That is what I am trying to say between the lines, or at least my heart wanted to say. And the fact that they get it, how they have reacted, is unbelievable for me. The audience gets all of it - our audience, and the Pakistanis who have seen the movie outside of Pakistan.”
The concept and entity of nationalism should be independent. It should not relate with political strategies and religious conflicts. It should be a separate entity and differentiated from ‘ patriotism ’ as in the context of the German/Nazism perspective of nationalism.
There are Indians and Pakistanis who are not captives of negativity. Indians like MeghnaGulzar, who has spread meaning of nationalism through her movie “Raazi” – is what youth must hear, see and take inspiration from.