Aug 27, 2006

Nationalism

Have not written much recently. Ppl take offense when i write personal stuff, and i didnt really find any issue to write abt lately. Came across this post by Shreyas and got thinking. Heres my take

Nationalism is a sense of belonging to a community - taking pride in its achievments and worrying about its problems. I agree with some of the things Shreyas said, but disagree completely with his dismissal of nationalism altogether. I think its a good thing. We've all heard the cliche about man being a social animal a million times. And i feel nationalism, national pride and suchlike are manifestations of our social needs.

There are issues that affect all of us - the poor state of the infrastructure affects the time i take to reach my office/mall/whatever and the mood i reach there in, bomb blasts in Mumbai could have killed people i know - or even me if i was workin in mumbai like mosta my batchmates and happened to be traveling in one of the doomed locals, my best friend from school lost his father to Naga insurgency, i cant go out late with my girlfried in delhi coz its unsafe, my home state (Punjab) will be the first to be affected if India was to ever lose Kashmir. To me, these are common problems of most Indians. And nationalism is a defense mechanism and an aid like the 'teamwork' at our workplaces. I may not care too deeply for some of the work, and may not particularly love the people i work with - but we have to work as a team for all to succeed. Nationalism is the same thing on a much larger scale.

Also I often hear people lamenting on the lack of 'freedoms' today. They want to be free to have their opinions and express them - and not care about religion or regional sentiments, government policy or the Indian cricket team. I agree that would be nice. But if everyone were to live in their own little silo and not care about the country - it would only worsen our lives. we'll have even more reckless politicians coming to power and making more laws like 47% reservation. we'd probably be hit by increasinly audacious and frequent terrorist attacks.

Exercising your right to vote, staging protests against bad government, supporting the Indian cricket - these are all our social responsibilities. We have the opportunity to live freely today because previous generation have toiled to ensure we have freedom. Now if we take it all for granted and shirk our responsibilities, we would certainly be inviting disaster!

On a different note though, I agree with Shreyas about delinking individual achievements with national pride. If Mittal has made it big, none of us did anything to help him do so, and therefore have no right to share pride. Pseudo-nationalism also leads people to extoll immature under-achievers like Karthikeyan and Sania Mirza, which makes me balk

And i also dont like it when a 'sense of community' assumes political and quarrelsome overtones. People fighting over religion, language, regional heritage miss the big picture and their actions become counter-productive and self-destructive. Which probably suits their power-lusting leaders just fine. More on this in Un-jihad below.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Smoochy!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! :)

    You suggest nationalism also has positive effects. Pls. let me know what are these.

    When I say I respect individual rights more, I mean that every individual should have the freedom to choose what he wants to do and what he wants to say, as long as he is not breaking the law of the land. The 'responsibilities' you refer to are just rights people have. I may choose to exercise it or I may not. It is in no way a responsibility. In fact, my only responsibility as a citizen of this country is to pay my taxes on time and break any law. Basically, not be a nuisance. All this 'need' for a nationalistic spirit to combat our 'problems' would not arise in the first place if people who are in the government knew what their responsibilities were!!

    I really don't care much for nationalistic tendencies. In any manner, malignant or otherwise. I feel in either way it fosters intolerant attitudes or gives a false sense of security that does not exist in the first place.

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