Tuesday, April 23, 2024

India and Nationalism

India has been one cultural entity since ages though it was in the form of several kingdoms. So we had “Raja Bhakti” (devotion towards king), a sentiment, to some extent. When kings fought, whether they won or lost, life of our citizens remained unaffected. There was no looting of valuables or suffering women as it was in the West. (It started here only after invaders settled here). So people never bothered about politics. Further, even great emperors did not rule the entire sub-continent. Some part of it always remained beyond their boundaries. So people never got the feeling that the sub-continent is one nation till British rule.

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To fight the ill treatment of the British we temporarily developed some spirit of nationalism inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, his followers, some journalists and poets of the day. When British left us we lost it as British destroyed our love for our culture too by degrading Sanskrit (and all the Vedic culture associated with it), and vernacular languages of India by introducing English. They enslaved our minds with ‘Whiteman’s burden’ and by transforming the god-conscious culture into materialistic money worshipping culture. Another important reason is, unlike any other country in the world, India got independence without shedding blood. So the concept of nation did not matter much for us. Rajputs, Sikhs and a few others, who were in the way of invaders, had to fight Alexander, Ghazani, Ghori, Babar etc, and hence developed a feeling towards nation, is a case in point.

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One more reason for not developing nationalism in India is philosophic outlook that world is one family for which there can be no boundaries. The ancient religion of India, believed that all kinds of beliefs lead only to God. So they tolerated spread of other religions too in this land. Now, as rightly pointed out by Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, under the leadership of present Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, our country is moving in the right way. He is making people conscious of their duty towards their country.  We can rest assured that Indian nationalism would never be like Nazism.

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In most of the countries, particularly in the West, soon after completing high school education, many youngsters join the armed forces, serve for a few years, come out and then think of a career. Serving the country that way is felt as the primary duty of a citizen. Needless to say armed forces develop the feeling of nationalism everywhere including India. But Indian government or armed forces never thought of invading anyone at anytime is a case in point.

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Not having a feeling of nation is the reason why our opposition parties think only of power and not about nation, politicians defy institutions, the general public evades taxes and rule of law is bypassed. So called secular education as well as religious leaders failed in developing social consciousness in this country. We started cleaning our hands after defecation and cleaning our surroundings only recently as someone told us to do so for our own and for our society’s health. Though vested interests are working against India, we are now moving towards nationalism that revives our time tested human values. It may take long for all to understand this.

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(The views expressed in the  article are that of the author)

Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur had been a Lecturer in English. He is a poet, critic and translator. His interests are Literature, Philosophy and social media.
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