I am wondering if my eyes are bigger than my stomach!
The topic of nationalism is so huge that I fear i could even touch every corner; yet I’ll try to put some of the most important points, I think must be discussed in Indian context, on the table.
So lets start with NATION. I guarantee most of India citizen confuse between country, nation & state. Though we use one or the other word for our beloved India time to time; it has some differences.
- COUNTRY is a geographical entity
- STATE is a political entity and
- NATION is a cultural entity
Yes yes I understand what you are going to say, & my answer is obviously INDIA is a geographical, political and cultural entity at the same time. BUT don’t we miss the the linguistic, ethnic and regional identities? Aren’t they building blocks of culture? So are not they Nations?
Yes, in the language of Political Science they are, e.g Odia Nationalism, Bengali nationalism, Maratha Nationalism, Tamil Nationalism, Bodo Nationalism, Naga Nationalism etc. Then is Nationalism such a meagre term? [That’s why I had put the flags of nations above, See in Europe how small nations are; each of the european nations have specific linguistic, historical, cultural of their own. Isn’t the whole of europe smaller than India?, So do the european definition of NATION apply to us? ]
Is there any space for INDIAN NATIONALISM then ? So what does it mean by Indian Nationalism? As all of us have been listening & even telling repeatedly ‘UNITY in DIVERSITY’. That is what defines Indian Nationalism and also the very basis of Indian State. Without the Diversity India would be fragmented and go back to the Pre-Mughal era. Every state has a distinct culture even there are specific cultural regions within states, so if we divide India in the name of identities there will be no India.
Nationalists are those who try for up keeping of unity and long for betterment of their nation. A nationalist need not defend the borders but his/her all deeds should reflect his/her commitment towards the maintenance of unity of the nation and further growth.
So those people who name themselves as Nationalists but try to harm the spirit of Indian Nationalism are true nationalists? Certainly not(I think so,don’t know about others’ feelings) If someone asks me what do I mean of harming the spirit of nation, I would like to list some of such acts:
- trying to force a common national language of India(We don’t have one & Hindi is the official language of govt of India)
- who discriminate between peoples of different corners of our country(Biharis in Mumbai and Northeastern people in Delhi; and many still call the northeast people as Nepali or chinese)
- who discriminate between religion, caste and sex(caste based quota is a problem right but do people of higher castes respect the lower castes as equals?, so isn’t the quota system just a compensation? )
- who practices corruption(everyone practices corruption in some manner or the other; sometimes we try to get benefits due to our contacts, isn’t a soft corruption? )
- who uses money & other means to buy votes, by stabbing the democracy from the back.
- who avoids to do one’s duty(everyone in their respective responsibilities)
Such list is an never ending one. Just saluting National flag, respecting national anthem is not enough; these are actually covers to hide anti-national activities(most of the times, though I never doubt their true respect for the nation). How could I/we term them NATIONALISTS, who don’t respect the idea of INDIA? So next time on the IDEA OF INDIA.