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Friday, July 19, 2024

My Religion Does Not Define My Nationalism, My Love for My Nation Does

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In a diverse and pluralistic world, the intersection of religion and nationalism often sparks heated debates and conflicting ideologies. Yet, for many individuals, including myself, the essence of nationalism transcends religious boundaries, rooted instead in a deep-seated love and dedication to one’s country. I am an Indian, a Bharatiya to be precise and it should not matter whether I am a Christian or a Hindu or a Muslim or a Sikh or a Parsi.

Nationalism, at its core, embodies a profound sense of belonging and pride in one’s nation. It signifies a commitment to the welfare and progress of the country, irrespective of individual religious affiliations. This sentiment is fundamental in shaping a cohesive society where citizens rally together under a common flag, united by shared values and aspirations. I want to see India rise as Bharat. That is my dream and that is my mission.

Living in a culturally rich and religiously diverse nation like India, I have witnessed firsthand the amalgamation of various beliefs and practices coexisting harmoniously. India, with its mosaic of religions, languages, and traditions, exemplifies the harmony that can exist when nationalism is inclusive and embraces diversity.

However, the intertwining of religion and nationalism has not always been seamless. History is replete with instances where religious identity has been exploited to fuel division and conflict, undermining the very fabric of nationalism. Such divisive narratives often overlook the essence of true patriotism, which transcends sectarian interests and embraces the collective good of all citizens.

For me, as an individual, my nationalism is defined not by the rituals I practice or the religious doctrines I follow, but by my unwavering commitment to the ideals of justice, equality, and progress for all. It is about standing up for the rights of my fellow citizens, regardless of their religious backgrounds, and advocating for a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive and contribute.

In recent years, the discourse on nationalism has been marred by narrow interpretations that seek to exclude rather than include. Political rhetoric often conflates nationalism with a rigid adherence to a religious identity, thereby alienating those who do not fit into this prescribed mold. This exclusionary approach undermines the pluralistic fabric of our societies and erodes the principles of unity in diversity that form the bedrock of our nationhood.

I firmly believe that my religion should not be a litmus test for my nationalism. True patriotism lies in embracing the richness of our diversity and celebrating the myriad cultures and faiths that constitute our nation. It is about fostering an environment where every individual feels valued and respected, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

At its essence, nationalism should be a unifying force that transcends religious, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries. It should inspire us to work towards a common future where prosperity and harmony prevail. This inclusive vision of nationalism encourages dialogue and understanding across communities, fostering a sense of solidarity that is essential for nation-building in a globalized world.

Moreover, the concept of true secular nationalism and not one distorted definition propagated in India for decades by Congress underscores the importance of separating religious institutions from the affairs of the state, ensuring that governance remains impartial and inclusive. This principle safeguards the rights of all citizens to practice their faith freely, without fear of discrimination or marginalization.

My religion does not and should not define my nationalism; rather, it is my profound love for my nation and its people that shapes my identity as a patriot. As we navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing world, let us reaffirm our commitment to building societies that are inclusive, tolerant, and respectful of diversity. By embracing the true spirit of nationalism, we can pave the way for a brighter and more harmonious future for generations to come. After all, we are all Indians and we must all see India rise as Bharat.

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