Paragraph on Nationalism!
Nationalism is a ‘state of mind’ that seeks to make the nation an effective unity and the object of man’s supreme loyalty. It has developed remarkably in the western world and is today growing in the African world.
It has prepared the way for modern democratic national states. It has extended the area of national liberty and individual freedom.
But nationalism sometimes leads to many evils. Hayes finds that nationalism in the nineteenth and twentieth century’s has been unable to give a creditable account of itself. In the words of Shill to it has become ‘man’s other religion.’ It is ‘sentimental, emotional and inspirational’; Rabindranath Tagore called it as an ‘organised self-interest of a whole people’, ‘self idolatry’; the organisation of politics and commerce for selfish ends’; ‘an organised power for exploitation.
Nationalism no doubt serves as a source of integration within the state, but it is dangerous when it denies the common interest that binds nation to nation. Then it becomes ethnocentrism or chauvinism, which is intolerant and boastful, or imperialism, which seeks territorial expansion and political domination.
When nationalism cuts one people from another, it impedes the development of harmonious intergroup or international relations and sows the seeds of international rivalry and wars. In its pure form, nationalism may be a beautiful ideal, but in its narrow form it becomes a cause of serious division between man and man.
However, nationalism is a long historical process, which cannot be uprooted. It is rooted in man’s gregariousness. True nationalism is a blessing and not a curse. What often today passes for nationalism is not true or genuine nationalism but mere ‘patriotic snobbery’; jingoism pure and simple.
Actually the sentiments of nationalism are a strong force. In its healthy form it is a blessing for international peace. Internationalism and chauvinism are mutually contradictory sentiments but healthy nationalism and internationalism are mutually complementary.
In the words of Hayes, “Nationalism when it becomes synonymous with the purest patriotism will prove a unique blessing to humanity and to the world.” It my also be remarked that a basic problem today is to unify the people of a state and make them conscious of their unity. India is faced with this problem.
Our country is a land composed of heterogeneous elements from many cultural backgrounds who are already possessed of strong feelings towards their own heritage. The demand for an independent Sikh State and the Ayodhya issue has threatened the unity and integrity of the country. The evil of separatism has raised its ugly head in other parts of the country as Well. The North-eastern region is in turmoil. If is an herculean task to create social cohesion from these varied elements.