Daily Editorials for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation

Editorial Today – Nationalism


What is Patriotism?

  • Patriotism is an emotional attachment to a nation which an individual recognizes as their homeland.
  • This attachment, also known as national feeling or national pride, can be viewed in terms of different features relating to one’s own nation, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects.
  • It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to those of nationalism.An excess of patriotism in the defense of a nation is called chauvinism; another related term is jingoism.

What is Nationalism?

  • Nationalism is a shared group feeling in the significance of a geographical and sometimes demographic region seeking independence for its culture and/or ethnicity that holds that group together.
  • This can be expressed as a belief or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with or becoming attached to one’s nation.
  • Nationalism involves national identity, by contrast with the related concept of patriotism, which involves the social conditioning and personal behaviors that support a state’s decisions and actions.

Gandhi’s idea of Nationalism

  • Gandhi’s nationalism seems simple and straightforward: he wanted an independent Indian nation state and freedom from British colonial rule.
  • But in reality his nationalism rested on complex and sophisticated moral philosophy.
  • His Indian state and nation were based on no shallow ethnic or religious communalism, despite his claim to be Hindu to his very core, but were grounded on his concept of swaraj – enlightened self-control and self-development leading to harmony and tolerance among all communities in the new India.
  • He aimed at moral regeneration, not just the ending of colonial rule.
  • “Our nationalism can be no peril to other nations in as much as we will exploit none, just as we will allow none to exploit us. Through Swaraj we will serve the whole world.”

Gandhi’s idea of Patriotism

“For me patriotism is the same as humanity. I am patriotic because I am human and humane. If is not exclusive, I will not hurt England or Germany to serve India. Imperialism has no place in my scheme of life. The law of a patriot is not different from that of the patriarch. And a patriot is so much the less patriot if he is a Luke-warm humanitarian. There is no conflict between private and political law.”

“I WANT the freedom of my country so that other countries may learn something from my free country, so that the resources of my country may be utilized for the benefit of mankind.

Just as the cult of patriotism teaches us today that the individual has to die for the family, the family has to die for the village, the village for the district, the district for the province, and the province for the country, even so country has to be free in order that it may die, if necessary, for the benefit of the world. My love, therefore, of nationalism or my idea of nationalism is that my country may become free, that if need be the whole of the country may die, so that the human race may live. There is no room for race hatred there. Let that be our nationalism.”

Tagore’s Idea of Nationalism

Tagore denounced nationalism, deeming it among humanity’s greatest problems. “A nation,” he wrote, “… is that aspect which a whole population assumes when organized for a mechanical purpose”, a purpose often associated with a “selfishness” that “can be a grandly magnified form” of personal selfishness.

“During the evolution of the Nation the moral culture of brotherhood was limited by geographical boundaries, because at that time those boundaries were true. Now they have become imaginary lines of tradition divested of the qualities of real obstacles. So the time has come when man’s moral nature must deal with this great fact with all seriousness or perish. The first impulse of this change of circumstance has been the churning up of man’s baser passions of greed and cruel hatred. If this persists indefinitely and armaments go on exaggerating themselves to unimaginable absurdities, and machines and store-houses envelop this fair earth with their dirt and smoke and ugliness, then it will end in a conflagration of suicide. Therefore man will have to exert all his power of love and clarity of vision to make another great moral adjustment which will comprehend the whole world of men and not merely the fractional groups of nationality. The call has come to every individual in the present age to prepare himself and his surroundings for this dawn of a new era when man shall discover his soul in the spiritual unity of all human beings.”

Nehru’s idea of Nationalism

Speaking about nationalism Nehru said, “nationalism does not mean Hindu nationalism, Muslim nationalism or Sikh nationalism. As soon as you speak of Hindu, Sikh or Muslim, you do not speak for India. Each person has to ask himself the question: what do I want to make of India — one country, one nation or 10, 20 or 25 nations, a fragmented and divided nation without any strength or endurance, ready to break to pieces at the slightest shock? Each person has to answer this question. Separateness has always been the weakness of India. Fissiparous tendencies, whether they belong to Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or others, are very dangerous and wrong. They belong to petty and backward minds. No one who understands the spirit of the times can think in terms of communalism.”

we must be on our guard against the disruptive tendencies in the country which raise their heads whenever an occasion offers itself. Among these tendencies are some which come under the name of communalism — politics under some religious garb, one religious group being incited to hate another religious group.”

Patriotism of 2016

“Jab lal lal laharayega, tab hosh thikane ayega.”

“Bhagwa jab laharayega, tab hosh thikane ayega.”

“Bharat mein rahna hoga to Vande Mataram kahna hoga.”

These  slogans are largely symbolic of the  kinds of nationalism seen on campus — left and right. These  are extremist, exclusionist, and imported. They selectively adhere to the Constitution and use political propagation tools of violence and intolerance.

Patriotic slogans are like smiles — outward manifestations of an inner state. You cannot force people to be patriotic, just as you cannot force them to keep smiling for 10 years for reasons they know not. The mindset of coercion is driven by raw, adversarial power. It bristles with hostility towards a person, group or community, not love for the country. The returns from forcing someone to shout a slogan of your choice are psychological, not political or patriotic. What is at work is the imposition of one’s will on the target of coercion.

True Patriotism

  • Given the fact that Bharat is our Mother and we are one vast, extended Family, we belong together under a shared destiny.
  • The first task of true patriotism is, therefore, to propagate a culture of pan-Indian unity, transcending divisive labels and barriers.
  • So long as people are labelled, ghettoised, targeted or traumatised, the compulsion to thrust slogans on them coercively will remain.
  • Coercion is a one-eyed monster. It can see only one side of the equation. That is as good as saying that it cannot see any equation. Equality is innate in equation. It is the mindset of inequality that valorises coercion. But use of force is a recipe that has only worked, all through history, to the corruption and destruction of peoples and nations.

We have to build up this great country into a mighty nation, mighty not in the ordinary sense of the word, that is, having great armies and all that, but mighty in thought, mighty in action, mighty in culture and mighty in its peaceful service of humanity.

The true patriotism lies in the emotional integration of India.Our society should be  democratic, inclusive, pluralistic and tolerant as well as based on consensus rather than confrontation.


Jai Hind!!!


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