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Nationalism for India: Good or Bad?

The term nationalism is taken as a destructive concept nowadays. Many go to the extent of saying that they do not need to have an emotional allegiance to the artificial concept of Nationhood. But I want Globalists to understand that Nationalism is like my love for my mother, ‘my mother is superior to me and I am ready to put aside my personal interests for her sake; but that doesn’t mean that I look down upon or disrespect other mothers.’

As Bryce correctly said, “The permanence of an institution depends not merely on the material interest that supports it, but on its conformity to the deep-rooted sentiment of the men and women for whom it has been made. When it draws to itself and provides a fitting expression for that sentiment, the sentiment becomes thereby not only more vocal but actually stronger, and in its turn imparts a fuller vitality to the institution.”

We are in a process of nation Building and the most sacrosanct place to build it is in the minds and hearts of the people. Even to build a family of 4 to 5 people, the members are expected to invest their emotion into it; just financial and social handling without the sense of love and belonging, a family cannot survive and flourish. So, it would be extremely ignorant to say that Nationalism as an emotion isn’t necessary for a country like India having 1.3 billion population existing together.

We as a Nation are evolving ourselves at such a fast pace that in the very near future India will become a hinge to which the whole world will be pivoted. But at the same time, we will have to face tremendous animosity and hostility from our vicious, communal, and economically strong neighbour, China. At present, it has started playing numerous diplomatic and military tactics to curb India’s political outreach and socioeconomic buildout; be it demographic alteration, Maoist terror, managing some media mouthpieces in India, technological spying, economic assistance to terrorist states, trade manipulation etc.

Whenever a Nation is at such a phase which can lead to either of the oxymoronic outcomes of transmutation or unfortunate menace, the Nationalistic ethos of the Leadership and the citizens play a crucial role.

Nationalism in the matter of Leadership

The term nationalism has acquired various meanings with regards to the various circumstances. Here is an insight of how nationalism has shaped its application when it comes to leadership.

There are two approaches either one of which a ruling party can take to lead people.

  1. Divide and Conquer
  2. Unite and Build

The first one is a traditional but effective approach for the parties who believe in doing whatever it takes to win no matter what outcomes the nation must face in future. This is an obvious approach of those who have no sense of affiliation to this land, its people, and its Culture and who are ready to sell the nation for their personal gains. Like Attila the Hun said, “There, where I have passed, the grass will never grow again.”

Then comes the second approach which affiliates to Unite and Build notion. This is however a tougher alternative which can only be achieved by those who are driven by a purpose bigger than themselves. For them winning is a reward for doing what is righteous. They have a sense of devotion, credibility, and belongingness to the Nation.

And it is crystal clear that the second approach is a Nationalistic one. The leadership which places India above any of its personal interests is an absolute necessity for us. This can be seen as a way forward of corruption, duplicity, and all those negative traits that we as a nation have faced in the last few decades. If the leader of a nation won’t have the feeling of allegiance to the country, then why would he/she strive for the betterment of the nation and its people?

At this point in time when we are at loggerheads with China, having a Nationalistic leadership which is giving it a tough response through military channels and economic embargo is motivating people to come up with alternatives to tackle Chinese trade domination, whereas having an Opposition which questions the credibility of the Armed forces is filling them with precariousness which hinders their motivation to work in favour of the society. Thus, Nationalistic leadership matters for a Nation which is on a flux of burgeoning.

Nationalism concerning citizens

In India, on one side you will find Soldiers who are ready to lay down their lives for the sake of protecting their motherland and on the other side there are people who cannot even stand up for the national anthem in theatres because they have popcorn in one hand and coke in the other. This stark difference in behaviour is a result of different thought processes. The soldiers when trained for military operations get to know the adversities on the border, they know if they won’t stand like a shield now then the sovereignty of their motherland will be at stake. The same soldier will not have the same spirit if he is asked to fight for Canada or any other worldly country, because he doesn’t have the feeling of belongingness for those.

Imbibing nationalism only in border forces has become a nineteenth century practice now. In the present era wars are played on various footings including military, diplomacy, politics, economics, trade, technology, etc. Thus, inspiring every citizen to put his Nation first, above all personal interests is an important task. India has the largest working force in the world to find solutions to those numerous challenges that it is facing but unfortunately, they find it irrational for somebody to willingly choose to work in a Bangalore based firm instead of Silicon Valley. Most of them are busy digging out problems in Indian politics, society, system, etc. but only a handful of them are genuinely striving to offer solutions to those and work for the betterment of their countrymen. If we want a greater number of people working for betterment of India, we need a strong sense of Nationalism instilled in the minds and hearts.

Rutuja Patole

Intern, Goa Chronicle
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