Nationalism – Practicing and propagating

Nationalism is not a concept, it’s not a theory as is apparent when you google the word “Nationalism”, it’s beyond those definitions and expressions. It is an emotion it’s a feeling. It is a feeling of gratitude that one feels for his or her mother. A gratitude which can never be paid back. Nationalism is an extension of that feeling, the metaphor mother extends to Mother land, Matribhumi. Vande Matram, The expression bowing in front of mother land. But this mother land, the nation is not a piece of land just having a geographical and political identity; it’s not just about territorial limits. It’s beyond that, Nation is its people, nation is its environment, nation is the air giving life to all those living there. Being nationalist is not about being dogmatic about your views. It’s about being assimilative, respecting and considerate towards the opinion of others sharing the space with you.

A true nationalist would think nation first and as the term nation encompasses all that mentioned, it considers everything mentioned. But being considerate, assimilative and respecting doesn’t mean subservient, meek or accepting wrongs. And the compass to verify the right from wrong is does the action or the person fits into this Upnadishik philosophy.

ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।

Om, May All become Happy, May all be Free from Illness. May all see what is auspicious, may no one suffer. Om Peace, Peace, Peace. (Daihik (Bodily), Daivik (God Sent) and Bhautik (Material))

A philosophy ingrained in and originated from the concept of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, the complete verse from Mahopanishad says

अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसाम् | उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्

“This one is a relative; this other one is a stranger” is for the mean-minded. For those who’re known as magnanimous, the entire world constitutes but a family. Some say Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam is another name for Globalization, it is not. There is same difference as is between transaction in a family and transaction in a market place. In the first the driving motive is goodness, well ness and shubh for everyone and larger interest of the kutumb or family and overall win-win proposition; whereas in the case of later it is profit, business, making use of opportunity, win or lose proposition.

Nationalism is about being proud without being contemptuous towards others. Nationalism is about loving, respecting and honoring your religion without disrespecting others’. Nationalism is in ownership without being masters.
Nationalism is an attitude which emanates from the belief on one’s nation’s perceived excellence. Belief is the seed from which sprouts every human enterprise, every culture, every act of human kindness and cruelty. Like all attitudes it is also inculcated. An attitude is a component of the personality. This is manifested through acts, deeds and behavior of the person. Therefore, nationalism is also revealed through actions. Nationalism involves national identity; it is related to another construct called patriotism, which though involves behavior that supports nation’s actions and decision unquestioningly.

Practicing Nationalism:

A true nationalist is one who regards his country as the cause of his existence and ready to abandon his own interests for its welfare. An avowed nationalist never minds sacrificing everything including his life for the cause of the nation.
Nationalism can’t be treated as a passive thing or inconspicuous way of leading life. It is such an active and self-motivated, inner emotion which urges him to do and dare anything for the cause of nation.

Nationalism is not a rhetoric to mobilize people, it’s an attitude demonstrated in day to day actions and transactions. There are no pre-conditions there are no convenient setting for practicing nationalism. A nationalist is a responsible citizen. A nationalist is not a silent consumer of nation’s resources, he is a positive contributor. A nationalist is responsible to his community, his neighborhood and also takes up on himself to motivate others. A nationalist is self-motivated individual who believes nation as his God and nation as his religion. Every national is like a cell in the body of nation, and if any cell malfunctions it influences other cells then organs and then affects the body negatively. A nationalist knows it and behaves like a responsible cell. This responsibility grows significantly if one is holding a position of governance, in civil and administrative services, in judicial services, in Universities as teachers or any other place where one is made responsible for group of citizens. A nationalist would perform his job sincerely and with full devotion. Coming back to cell analogy, in body if left foot is injured or is having some disease, right foot or any other part of body doesn’t start acting diseased and works absolutely fine. Same should be the attitude of a true nationalist; he should not be affected, influenced by other organs of the society or governance. His actions should always confirm to correct practices in the best interest of the nation and its people.

Ingraining Nationalism – 360 Degree Nationalism:

Nationalism is an attitude and like any attitude it cannot be taught but acquired. To teach one must practice. This is the long and short of nationalism. The observed behaviour is acquired. So Nationalism can be ingrained in the minds of young ones or even older ones only by leading by example. Like leadership, nationalism is also 360 degree; one can lead in all directions by his nationalistic attitude and behavior. One can only inspire and then motivate, inspiration is like fragrance, if a source of inspiration is there; the inspiration would float in all direction and engulf every one if his senses are intact and receptive. This brings in another situation, are there people with intact senses? Unfortunately and sadly the situation is not so. In the race of one up man ship and consumerism and Darwinism of sorts we have lost our sensibilities and sensitivities. And in some cases we are not even conscious about it. Insensitivity is an unconscious incompetence in us. This incompetence can be cured in first being conscious about this incompetence, by realizing that yes there is a problem we have lost the capacity to sense and our sensitivity is becoming feeble every day. We need to be made aware and as responsible cells, the responsibility lies with all of us. No one is coming to do it for us, we have to do it and no right time would arrive, it is already there, the time is NOW. By becoming conscious about this incompetence we can decide to get rid of this incompetence of insensitivity. The good news is it has not left us, it is only lying dormant and gone into hibernation because we have stopped using it and the moment we decide it will bounce back to life and make us alive again.
Some recommendations for starting this journey towards acquiring the competence of sensitivity and restarting the ingrained though dormant nationalism is like sports. Catch them young. But, one cannot expect to be cured if the doctor himself is sick with the same disease so this teaching, training, call it whatever, but it should start from top, then it will percolate to the roots. Once the roots are wet and ground is wet with nationalism, you will find fresh seedlings cropping up, growing into plants and trees and a garden full with fragrance of nationalists.

Vande Matram

Contributed by
Mr. K.K. Bajpai
Associate Professor
SMS, Varanasi


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