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What is Nationalism and who is the Nationalist?

Nationalism, Nationalist, anti-nationalistNationalism, according to Wikipedia, has been a recurring face of every civilisation since very ancient time though the modern sense of national political autonomy and self-determination was formulised in late 18th century.

The concept of nationalism can be defined in many ways but in short it is a sense that requires oneness, feeling the goodness of the nation and its people, unity in diversity and respect, love and pride towards the nation by its citizens. Tara Chand describes it in his book ‘History of the Freedom Movement in India’ as a state of mind in which the supreme loyalty of the individual is due to the nation-state. (Vol2 page 552)

According to JC Johari, in his book ‘Indian Politics’ (Fifth Edi. 1996, page 25) ‘The meaning of nationalism has its different connotation, if we examine the case of free versus subject people. Whereas nationalism of the free people appeared in the modern person after the decline and fall of the Papacy and the nation states of Europe took upon themselves the emerged as a reaction against the imperial system of the advanced European countries’.

As far as Indian nationalism is concerned, it developed most as a concept during the Indian independence movement fought against colonial British Raj. Indian nationalism has set an instance of territorial nationalism, inclusive of all its people, despite belonging to different ethnic and religious background.

Nationalism in India signifies a common political sense of patriotism with the purpose of attaining self-rule as in brief it can be defined as the growth and development of anti-British sentiment. It was the outcome of the movements for complete independence.

If we observe today’s situation of our country or the TV debates on nationalism, it becomes clear that concept of nationalism is no more in its original spirit rather it became forage for political parties to gain their vested interests. It is being redefined in different words to acquire votes in the elections. Many misconceptions are being hatched about nationalism.

Nationalism in India in recent scenario which was a glorious sense is used for very cheap purposes and everyone seems to give certificate of nationalist or anti-nationalist to the other one. A question strikes my mind that is it necessary to express hatred for other country to prove my love and loyalty for my country as it has became a trend today?

Today the idea of nationalism has became negative with irrational blaming and the spread of hatred among the people. I think one cannot be defined as nationalist just because of his religion, cast or community for, it’s beyond all these.

In addition to it, one cannot be identified as an anti-nationalist if he has a different political ideology because in a democratic country all the people cannot follow a particular ideology. If a person criticizes the government’s decision or its policy he is not an anti-nationalist. Even if a single person remains against the majority in any political view he cannot be identified as an anti-nationalist because it is the thing that encapsulates the beauty of our country.

We must show our love and respect towards our nation but that does not mean we should become aggressive in this matter, rather we should stand for national integration.

-Mohd Faheem

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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