Is sedition and anti-nationalism synonymous?

Is sedition and anti-nationalism synonymous?


Charges of sedition is not a new concept, in a country that fought for democracy and freedom in every era. The British used the sedition law to silent the voices of the freedom movement. Many, including Mahatma Gandhi and Lokmanya Tilak, were booked under charges of sedition. Sedition, those days, was simply speaking and inciting revolution against the government. In 1962, Supreme Court added clauses to the Sedition Law to make it more precise.

Sedition, only when accompanied by violence, or direct incitement of violence is chargeable on anyone. Engaging in peaceful debates on any kind of topic is not included in this

If there is no real or credible violence being incited it should neither be sedition nor anti-nationalism. While sedition charges should be made very cautiously, those that incite violence or threat to the spirit of nationalism should not be spared.

It is not:

1. Just a tool: The sedition law was made to curb anti-national activities that often resulted in violence and loss of public life and property. However, with time it became just a tool used to silence critics. The charge is non-bailable which makes it quite certain that the accused will have to spend a few nights behind bars. Anti-nationalism, the other hand is charged to further strengthen the case against the accused. It infuriates people to hear someone indulging in anti-nationalism and hence pressure is built to punish the offenders, far more than it would with just sedition charges.

2. Against government: Sedition charges are usually made against those offending the government while anti-nationalism is for those who hurt the sentiments of a nation on the whole. One can commit sedition without being anti-national but if one is committing anti-nationalism, charges of sedition are invoked automatically.

3. High profile sedition charges: There are high profile people in the list of those charged under sedition at different times. During the colonial rule, freedom fighters were charged for sedition. After independence, government continued with the law despite criticism from influential sources. Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was charged for sedition for his cartoons that were found “offensive.” Among others charged for sedition include Dr. Binayak Sen and famous author Arundhati Roy. Roy was also charged for sedition when she advocated for the independence of the people of Kashmir. These people might have committed sedition but they were not anti-nationals.

4. Objectionable: Jawaharlal Nehru described the sedition law as “highly objectionable and obnoxious.” It was a tool created by the British rulers to crack down on noted freedom fighters, to prevent them from bringing in the much needed revolution for India. With time, the law has been changed majorly. Even the British restricted their sedition charges to invocation only against non-citizens. United States was once known to invoke charges of sedition against suspected communists, have also restricted this law to the military. They did realize that sedition was not the same as anti-nationalism. .

5. Synonymous of violence and threat: Sedition is supposed to be tantamount of violence and threat posing elements that has been completely neglected to make it identical with anti-nationalism. Speaking ill against the rule should not be equated with being anti-nationalist.

When there is threat to peace in a nation, rising out of rallies and debates, they could be charged for sedition but not anti-nationalism unless they do utter speeches where they speak ill of the nation.


1. Sympathizing terrorists invokes both: May be the police acted wrongly in the JNU case but it is also saddening to see such a large population of our country keenly sympathizing with a terrorist.

Yes, I understand that the woes of Kashmiris are bigger than we could think of picturing but how does giving in to terrorism ever solve the issue?

If India gives them Kashmir for the fear of terrorists it would be like giving in to tantrums o a stubborn child. The demands will grow from all other regions and India would be split into many more pieces than it already has been in the past. Such incidents do invoke sedition and anti-nationalism charges.

2. Weakness reveled: By sympathizing with the fringe elements who are a threat to the peace and prosperity of our nation, we only show that we are weak emotionally. Our soft side has always been the target of these people. The very reason why they torture innocents is because people everywhere will get agitated and pressurize the government to fulfil the demands of these notorious retards.

Any elements trying to disturb the peace of the country should not be sympathized with and if one is doing so, they are definitely th for both the charges synonymously.

3. Everything is not political: In the recent case of JNU, students who got involved were booked for sedition and anti-nationalism. They were supporting Afzal Guru, no doubt, who was hanged during UPA government’s rule. How is the present government to be blamed for this? This incident and other cases like this is actually about supporting those that are/were a threat to our nation. One can always commit both of these offense together, making them synonymous.


Sedition and anti-nationalism are not synonymous, neither is anti-nationalism a title meant for anyone who sympathized with a terrorist or Maoist though it is wrong to have compassion for them.

Both of these terms are interrelated and usually used together where required. Not every time that a sedition charge was invoked, the charges of anti-nationalism followed. The sedition law has its own complications to be dealt with.

With the matter in the hands of Supreme Court, it can be expected that justice will be delivered and the differences of these terms laid out in clear terms.
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