"To come back to the events that happened at the seminar in Ramjas College, members of the ABVP could have attended the seminar and voiced their concern, even aired their protest against views by particular speakers they had serious objections to. But that is perhaps asking for too much, for it takes a certain capacity to argue and challenge ideas. So the democratic form of protest itself is rid of its argumentative character and reduced to a culture of violence. Violence is not an idea, though it may serve an idea. Nationalism is an idea that does not serve any idea other than itself. Hence it creates, in the first place, a binary between itself and democracy. In times when nationalism has active plans, it creates further binaries that divide cultural and intellectual worlds into antagonistic zones where the sole question is who serves the nation and who doesn’t. The culture of protest proves the passion of arguments, whereas cultural dictatorship is only interested in the passion for violence. When passion thrives without thought and doesn’t allow arguments to prosper, the meaning of passion itself is reduced to a certain animal form.
Nationalism reduced to hunting for enemies who think differently makes nationalism an enemy of thought. The idea of culture is impossible without a certain freedom of ideas challenging each other. If nationalism cannot argue its case without allowing that freedom to exist and thrive, it divests itself from the fundamental meaning of culture. That is why we can no longer speak of any culture of nationalism. Rather we have to speak of the violence of nationalism against the idea of culture itself. Educational institutions are the primary spaces of cultural life. To harm the intellectual liberties of such institutions by the display of hooliganism showcases the fear of arguments by students of hyper-nationalist organisations. It is rather disturbing when you realise that students of a certain political predilection are prepared to do politics without ideas, which translates into a politics against ideas."
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