Risk the peril of

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Senior Member
Source: Taking back our universities

Please tell me what is meant by the under-lined part

In the aftermath of recent events, some excellent opinion pieces in newspapers have rightly distinguished between such majoritarian nationalism and the inclusive nationalism of Gandhi and Nehru. But right though that distinction generally is, it is not clear why it is relevant in the immediate context when students are being charged with anti-national behaviour. To point out, in this context, that there has been a good nationalism in our past risks the peril of making it seem that a charge of anti-national might have been appropriate if such a good nationalism (instead of Hindu nationalism) were in place. But such a charge is never appropriate. The very category of ‘anti-national’ behaviour is a political and moral outrage.

Thank you.
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    To re-write the bold part more clearly, I need to show the writers logic from the whole paragraph. This defines all his terms and how they relate to each other (for this writer only). Then we can use them to write the bold part.

    1. students are being charged with anti-national behavior.

    2. Is that charge appropriate? (are the students bad because they are anti-national?)

    3. if the nationalism (that they are anti-) is good nationalism, then they are bad (the charge is appropriate)

    4. if the nationalism (that they are anti-) is bad nationalism, then they are not bad (the charge is not appropriate)

    5. right now the nationalism that exists (that is "in place") is Hindu nationalism, which is bad

    6. in the past, a good nationalism was in place

    The bold part (being asked about) starts at the # and ends at %:

    Pointing out that "past nationalism was good nationalism" # may cause this problem: making it seem that the charges are appropriate. Why? Because if today's nationalism was good (it is not) the charges might seem appropriate%.

    But a charge of this kind is never appropriate, because charges of this kind are unreasonable and offensive.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with dojibear's analysis. It's very convoluted thinking, but I think the gist is:

    If we point out that in the past there existed a "good nationalism", there is always the danger that some people would then claim that if such a "good nationalism" (inclusive, rather than exclusively Hindu) were the kind of nationalism that prevailed today (but it doesn't), then they would be entirely justified in accusing the students of anti-national behaviour.
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