Home » Personal, Political Ideology, Politics and Governance

Why I am a proud nationalist

11 August 2010 4,324 views 36 Comments

George Friedman explains it well…From Geopolitics, Nationalism and Dual Citizenship (emphasis added)

In looking at the nation-state, the idea of nation is more complex, and perhaps more interesting, than that of state.

The idea of nation is not always clear. At root, a nation is a group of people who share a fate, and with that fate, an identity. Nations can be consciously created, as the United States was. Nations can exist for hundreds or thousands of years, as seen in parts of Europe or Asia. However long a nation exists and whatever its origins, a nation is founded on what I’ve called elsewhere “love of one’s own,” a unique relationship with the community in which an individual is born or to which he chose to come. That affinity is the foundation of a nation.

If that dissolves, the nation dissolves, something that has happened on numerous occasions in history.

Nationalism has endured because it provides individuals with a sense of place, community, history and identity. It gives individuals something beyond themselves that is small enough to be comprehensible but far greater than they are. That nationalism can become monstrous is obviously true; anything that is useful can also become harmful. But nationalism has survived and flourished for a reason.

In blurring the lines between nations, it does not seem that it has reduced conflict. Quite the contrary, it raises the question of where the true loyalties of citizens lie, something unhealthy for the citizen and the nation-state.

BHARAT MATA

Image of Bharat Mata (author unknown).

P.S. “Bharat Mata” is the personification of India as a mother Goddess. As many of you would know, the phrase “Bharat Mata ki Jai’ (“Victory for Mother India”) is used by numerous nationalist organisations as well as the Indian Army.

I believe there is also a temple to Bharat Mata at Varanasi that was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936.

Also read:

The Politics of “Identity”

A nationalism rooted in Sanatan Dharma

Acorn writing On Liberal Nationalism


36 Comments »

  • 1. संदीप नारायण शेळके said:

    I found the photo in bellow link.

    http://www.fullstopindia.com/varanasi-uttar-pradesh/

    http://www.varanasicityonline.com/bharatmatatemple.html

    I believe that such temples will be constructed by true nationalists in coming future. As the situation is worsening day by day.

    Jai Bharat!

  • 2. Salil said:

    Many countries do use their feminine personification in their official emblems, stamps, coins, currency notes such as Marianne of France or Helvetia of Switzerland. Was Bharat Mata ever considered for official Indian symbols?

  • 3. SandeepS said:

    Concept of nationalism was always there in our nation. It was not as the commies alleged invented after the arrival of colonialist.
    You will find expression of “bharata” nationhood in hundreds of traditions/ poems/songs.

    http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Jnanappana

    Jnanappana was written more than 400 years agi by Poonthanam who was a contemporary of Melpathur Narayanan Namboothiri(1559-1632) .

    This work is still very popular throughout the state of Kerala.
    “Bakthanmarkkum mumukshu janagalkkum,
    Saktharaya vishayee jangalkkum,
    Ichicheedunnathokke kodutheedum,
    Viswa mathavu bhoomi siva! Siva!, 20
    To the devotees great,
    To those who seek salvation,
    And to those who pine for ordinary things,
    This mother land of ours,
    Would grant whatever they want, God, Oh God.

    The poet tells here that in no other world can Karmas be done and an ordinary man can transform himself in to great souls.”

    “Lavanambhdhi madhye vilangunna,
    Jabhu dweeporu yojana lakshavum,
    Saptha dweepukal adhil undethrayum,
    Uttamamennu vazhthunnu pinneyum., 23

    In the huge sea of salt, Exists the Jambu islands, Ten lakh miles long, Within it are the seven islands, Praised by scriptures as most holy., 23

    From this verse the poet describes the earth.It is supposed to be divided in to seven islands and our country is in an island called Jambu Island,

    Bhoo padmathinnu karnigayayittu,
    Bhoo darendran adil allo nilkunnu,
    Idhil ombadhu gandangal undallo,
    Adil uttamam bharatha bhoo thalam., 24
    In the peak and center of the lotus of this earth,
    Stands the mountain of Maha Meru,
    And there are nine major parts of this earth,
    And the most sacred is the Bharatha country.

    This island has in its center the Maha Meru mountain and has 9 countries including our mother land, the Bharatha country.

    Sammatharaya mamunigal,
    Karma kshetramennallo parayunnu., 25
    The great recognized sages,
    Tell this as the temple of sacred duty.

    The poet says that the sages call our motherland as Karma Bhumi.

    Karma bheejam adeennu mulakkendu,
    Brhama lokathil irikkunnavargalkkum,
    Karma bheejam varatti kalanjudan,
    Janma nasam varuthanamengilum,
    Bharathamaya ganda mozhinjhulla,
    Parillengum eluthala nirnayam., 26

    The source of all Karma is this land,
    Even for those great souls in Brahma Loka,
    And it is here only that Karma is destroyed.
    If one desires salvation,
    And though it is for sure that these can’t easily be done,
    Anywhere else other than in Bharatha Ganda.

    The poet talks about the superiority of our land.

    Athra mukhya mayulloru Bharatha
    Mi pradesamennu orkkanam,
    Yugam nalilum nalla kali yugam,
    Sugame thane mukthi varuthuvan., 27

    Please do remember that this land of Bharatha,
    Is the most sacred land known,
    And in the vast time periods this Kali time period,
    Leads to salvation most easily.”

  • 4. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    Pride in one’s own country is critical. These days we see a lot of people complaining that India is a failure as a democracy etc. They are wrong. India’s survival as a democracy is nothing short of miraculous.

    “It gives individuals something beyond themselves that is small enough to be comprehensible but far greater than they are”

    But we must be careful not to become chauvinistic to an extent where our national identity becomes more important than our personal identity. That can only happen if we have an inferiority complex and need to submerge our consciousness into another larger one.

    Ultimately we are born and we die alone – as individuals. Neither our family, nor our community or nation can help us. We’re ultimately accountable to ourselves alone.

    So it requires a careful balance. A larger and a smaller identity. An extreme of either is dangerous. On the one hand lies narcissism and the sociopath and on the other side lies the raging fanatic. We must stay in the golden mean.

  • 5. KSV SUBRAMANIAN said:

    BJP@4: Because the majority of this country is hindu it can be boasted “India’s survival as a democracy is nothing short of miraculous.” Look around with an open mind, you will understand.

  • 6. GyanP said:

    What we are lacking are charismatic leaders. The role models, the ideals that people worshiped — either they proved to be with feet of clay, or they are no longer amongst us.

    Great political parties also unite people; but due to lack of inspiring leadership, the political parties are now a bunch of self-seekers, who can never think of placing the country above their own interest.

    What is making it all the more sad is that people having power to influence the future of the country have no base and no emotional bonding with this country. Their followers too use them to gratify their interests.

  • 7. संदीप नारायण शेळके said:

    @GyanP:
    “What we are lacking are charismatic leaders. The role models, the ideals that people worshiped — either they proved to be with feet of clay, or they are no longer amongst us.”

    I agree with you 100%. But where are these leaders are going to come from? Sky or Import?

    Whats your stand? What you propose to do? Lets coordinate.

    Jai Bharat!

  • 8. JC Moola said:

    Park travel to Kashmir to see how democracy disappears and then call it wonders of Islam

  • 9. anupam said:

    There is a Bharat Mata Temple in Haridwar as well. I remember going there as a kid.

  • 11. Shailendra Chauhan said:

    Friends,

    These pictures are from Lal Chowk, Srinagar, Kashmir, India of August 15, 2010. It had the desired effect and got my blood boiling. Also, It had no effect on the national decision-makers or self-appointed watchdogs (Read Media).

    http://indiafirstfoundation.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/how-thousand-kashmiri-indians-celebrated-15th-august-2010/

  • 12. ahmad said:

    This imagery of bharat mata is perhaps suited to hindu tradition but makes muslims uncomfortable. It is not very inclusive.

  • 13. ashwani said:

    if minority refuses to change they can go to their promised land, the majority has no reasons to.

  • 14. Sid said:

    @Ahmad (#12),
    This imagery of bharat mata is perhaps suited to hindu tradition but makes muslims uncomfortable. It is not very inclusive.

    Just interested to know, why exactly imagery of mother (or mata if you will) is not suitable for muslims? I thought mother is respectable to all humans regardless of sect or religion. If you are trying to claim that Muslims are special types of humans then I do not have any question. And, in that case, just so you know I would like to pass that grand offer of inclusion. Muslim contribution to our community has not been so beneficial that we have to go out of our way to include someone. Besides, have you thought about including the imagery of respectable mother in your culture so that the question of inclusion does not come into context at all?

  • 15. Kaffir said:

    =>
    “This imagery of bharat mata is perhaps suited to hindu tradition but makes muslims uncomfortable. It is not very inclusive.”
    =>

    The concept of infidel/kaffir that is enshrined in the Qur’an makes rest of the non-Muslims very uncomfortable. It is not very inclusive. So, ahmad, in the interest of inclusiveness, are you willing to openly let go of this illogical and dehumanizing concept in your deen and reform it?

  • 16. ahmad said:

    You guys express your love for the country your way – we will do our way. But don’t ask me to do it your way.

    @Ashwani This is my land too – and you have no right to ask me to go away.

    Jai Hind

  • 17. ashwani said:

    ahmad,
    you do not understand the meaning of ‘country’.for you country is just piece of land while for us it represents a spiritual feeling shared across by all and represented by the beautifull concept of mother.so for you we are not going to change our ideas,inclusivity or not.if you’re so desirous of being “included” try appreciating others viewpoint for a change instead of of trying to force your views under the garb of inclusivity.

    else bear with it.

    we have already borne a lot of stupidity in the garb of inclusivity.

  • 18. संदीप नारायण शेळके said:

    @Ashwani:
    “we have already borne a lot of stupidity in the garb of inclusivity.”

    ultimate reply.

    Jai Bharat

  • 19. Ashish Deodhar said:

    @Ahmed

    “This is my land too – and you have no right to ask me to go away.”

    Yes and I want you to know that most of the country agrees with you. Don’t you ever feel excluded from India. It is as much yours as it is anyone else’s.

    However, I would like you to answer Kaffir’s question at no. 15. Don’t respond to it on behalf of your religion but respond to it as an individual. It is a very important question and I will tell you why once you’ve responded.

  • 20. Anna said:

    @Ahmad
    Why you want it to be your way? This is the image of Bharat Mata. You are here is a proof enough of its inclusiveness.
    Why do you want it to be different?
    Is your view expressive of all Muslims? I have not heard any other Muslim saying this!
    Are you opposing it because it is not attired in an Islamic way? Or its name is in Hindi? Or because it looks like a Hindu lady? Or because Bharat name is from Hindu tradition?
    Mulsims have been living in this Hindu majority country for more than thousand years now? Why you are still not comfortable with Hindu imagery?
    I have seen Muslims celebrating the victories of Pakistani cricket teams. Do you also feel the same way? Is it that you do not consider India to be your country?
    Why you cannot go along with the majority, and care for its sentiments?
    Kindly give your definition of the inclusiveness?
    What, in your mind, should be the ideal imagery of Bharat Mata?
    Kindly express yourself more clearly.

  • 21. Indian said:

    @Ahmed

    Why only muslims find problem, are in mess, and creating trouble for others? If majority Muslims had an understanding of inclusiveness Hindu minority in many Islamic countries would have places to worship and voice. But both are not accepted!

    Do people like you have the same idea where Hindus are in minority? Ready to give up Islamic laws to be one with everyone?

  • 22. GyanP said:

    @Ahmed
    Would a Muslim say in USA that he is not comfortable with Uncle Sam, because he looks Christian?
    Would you be sympathetic if a Hindu says in a Muslim country that he is not comfortable with Islamic symbols?
    Why no temples are allowed in Islamic countries? You have got all the rights of a free citizen in India, unlike Hindus in Islamic countries. Are you not happy?
    The government is bending over backwards to accommodate Muslims. Are you not happy?
    You are allowed to air your discontent against Hindus in a Hindu dominated society. Are you not happy?
    What about Christians, Jews, so many tribal cultures in this country? Should thy all have their own symbol for Bharat? Will it not be akin to division of the nation along religious lines?
    Objecting to Bharat Mata’s image – is it not anti national?
    If you are uncomfortable with Hindu imagery, should Hindus feel uncomfortable with Muslim imagery? The feelings do get reflected in your counter part – it is a natural phenomena.
    Bharat Mata is an image that is centuries old, it enshrines the idea of India, which is continuing even after thousands of years. Why should the idea that has sustained the Nation not continue?
    Please reply!

  • 23. Amitabh Soni (Infi del & Proud) said:

    Ahmad most of the people on this blog (which is amongst the top 20 political blogs in India) know the truth about the popular, politically correct & misleading history designed to suit pseudo secular pursuits & interests and probably to avoid muslim men as well hiding in burkhas out of shame. So choose your words carefully, before responding to the above questions.

    Regarding Hindu imagery – Apparently, your ancestors too were uncomfortable with Hindu imagery. If not genetically you seem to prove your ideological ancestry by your statement, “This imagery of bharat mata is perhaps suited to hindu tradition but makes muslims uncomfortable. It is not very inclusive.”

    Can you give me a list of temples that pre date Aurangzeb’s reign ? I recently visited Vrindavan I could not find temples that pre- date his reign, including the janmbhoomi temple in Mathura. All the temples that stand today were built during the British Raj. I would not be surprised if the same is true all across Mughal/muslim political landscape. If people like you were serious about inclusion we would not be discussing all this.

    Bharat has seen & suffered your idea of “inclusion”. Its time people like you started breathing & blending in with the natural consciousness of this great nation. Anyway, the debate that you wish to start ended in 1947 but news reports suggest that our borders are porous both ways.

  • 24. Indian said:

    @Amitabh Soni

    True, land was divided long before. It is the result of inclusiveness on part of India that today this questions are being discussed.

    It is time that they start living with this uncomfortable fact now or be ready to mend their ways.

  • 25. Sid said:

    You guys express your love for the country your way – we will do our way. But don’t ask me to do it your way. – Care to explain what that way is? Loving your country only happens in one way…. I can not see anything Hindu or Muslim in it.

    Jai Hind – Kind of funny!!! So wishing the victory of “Hind” is accepted, but calling Hind as respectable as mother is not acceptable in Muslim culture?

  • 26. Ashish Deodhar said:

    @Ahmed

    I have waited for your comment for most of the day. Your silence is deafening to say the least!

    I had said in my previous comment that I will tell you why that question was important. Having abandoned the hope of getting any response from you now, let me venture into telling you why that question is important.

    It is important because the Muslims all over the world have created an impression that their faith is incompatible with the rest of the world’s and that they are somehow “exclusive”. It is reflected in all the comments that you see above. This impression has been endorsed by the fact that muslims, even after being part of India for over half a dozen centuries, still live in their own ghettos, unlike the Parsis, the Christians or the Jews! The situation is not very different in the western world! This impression has been further confirmed by a range of vocal Islamic fundamentalists, from Bin Laden to Zaid Hamid to Abu Hamza to Zakir Naik! I don’t know if you are reading this but do you see why this question is important to be answered?

    I asked you to answer that question in an individual capacity (overlooking the fact that you had made your comment on behalf of the muslim community!) but I was disappointed to see no response from you!

    So I am very tempted to be sceptical of your position now and wonder what “your way” is. I personally don’t subscribe to the “bharat mata” ideology but I don’t see a reason to feel uncomfortable about it (politically yes, but not otherwise!)

    Why is it uncomfortable for you Ahmed? And what is “your way”?

  • 27. Uma said:

    @ Ahmed

    Probably the image of ‘Bharath Mata’ as portrayed by M F Hussain is more suitable for the Muslim ideology!

    Inclusiveness is earned by respecting the majority and following the law of the land. Disrespect towards national song, national flag, hindu festivals and so on does not qualify for inclusiveness.

    Eating and drinking publicly is banned in Muslim countries during the month of Ramadan during day time. It sure is uncomfortable for non muslims in those countries. Aren’t they respecting that? Its not your fault, it’s the fault of the politicians who inculcate these ideas that make you think you are above the law and above mere kaffir mortals like us. The politicians do not it out of love for you but to keep themselves glued to their seats. If you truly said ‘Jai Hind’ from your heart and believe you are a true nationalist, then start questioning as to why you need special rights, why can’t any Indian settle in kashmir and why the Pandits have been kicked out of their homes…is this all Inclusive Mr. Ahmed??

  • 28. Ashish Deodhar said:

    @Uma

    I happened to be in Dubai a couple of years ago during the month of Ramadan. Now it is the most liberal of all gulf countries and yet I found it a challenge to get lunch. And when I found one restaurant open, I was given a take-away and wasn’t allowed to sit-in and eat.

    So your assertion that “Inclusiveness is earned by respecting THE MAJORITY and following the law of the land” applies to a gulf state; it should not apply to India. (law of the land, yes, but not respecting only the majority!)

    I think inclusiveness in India is and should be earned by respecting EVERY INDIVIDUAL EQUALLY. That includes respecting a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, an Atheist and so on.

    That’s what sets India apart from the more conservative countries, don’t you think?

  • 29. GyanP said:

    I think the talk about majority and minority has arisen because majority’s interest has been compromised to an unreasonable extent.
    But, there is no denying the fact that a majority is a majority. Even in a democracy, the writ of the majority runs the country – within the larger ambit of democracy.

  • 30. Uma said:

    @ Ashish

    When I say respect the majority, it is not the respect to each individual, I meant respect to the sentiments of the majority! I apologize if I were unclear! Every year, there is fear and tension when Ganesh nimajjan takes place in Hyderabad when the procession has to go thru’ the old city! No such tensions happen during Ramadan or Christmas. Being ‘secular’ and not being ‘conservative’ has not done much good to us in my opinion. Respect needs to be given to every individual and religious tolerance and acceptance has to be there everywhere. But the same tolerance and acceptance has to come from every individual in a country no matter what religious background he/she comes from! I hope it is not too much to ask!

    @ GyanP – I agree with you 100%. If every citizen in the country thinks he/she is an Indian first and Hindu/Muslim/Christian next, there would be no issues of majority/minority!

  • 31. Ashish Deodhar said:

    @Uma

    I agree with all of what you’ve said.

    But Hindus should not feel threatened in any part of India, not because they are a majority, but because they are a part of India. No community should be allowed to threaten another community, simple as that!

    As you rightly said, there should be no question of majority or minority. If anyone gives precedence to his/her religion over India, then India is probably not the best place for him/her to be.

  • 32. Khandu Patel said:

    The greatness of any nation is how it wins the loyalties of all that belong to it. The feminine form of Britannia came to symbolize Britain to honor her female champions whether it was Queen Bodicea or Queen Elizabeth I. Both expressed the soul of their nations plight at a challenging period of their history. Queen Elizabeth also epitomized the most desirable qualities of a woman whose heart was desired by the most eligible men of her day. Britannia marries such qualities with the mythical representation of the martial qualities desired by the British people. Bharat Mata is the Indian equivalent but as the mother who came to the rescue of her people. The British bull dog is a more recent symbol. Both are nothing more than symbols of the nation which have served to unite the people. Bharat Mata has served this same purpose for the people of India. It does not need to be used as a symbol of worship (if the Hindu religion is as it great as it claims to be, it should hardly be problematic) and with that Christians and Muslims should have no trouble in uniting in India under the Bharat Mata banner. This should clarify the issue for all concerned.

  • 33. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Thought-provoking excerpt from a post by Acorn, “Who says Nationalism must be intolerant?“:

    The political expression of nationalism depends on the values of the nation concerned (the nation being an “imagined community” that has cultural kinship). If nationalism in twentieth-century Europe resulted in intolerance and violence it is because the intolerant and violent values of Europe’s nations were dominant. There is no reason to believe that this will happen everywhere else.

    Indian nationalism since the middle of the nineteenth century was informed by the quintessentially Hindu values of tolerance and pluralism. As long as Indian nationalism continues to be driven by these dominant Hindu values, we need not worry too much about the colours with which Western discourse paints it with.

    The politics of liberal nationalism is not only possible but presents modern society with a enlightened way to manage its affairs. Actually, this has been the way in India for much of history, with the exceptions being Islamic and European attempts to impose religious intolerance in some parts during some periods. These attempts largely failed except in 1947. Even so, the outcome of Partition showed that systems that reject the values of tolerance and pluralism will come to grief.

  • 34. Sid said:

    Very well put. It is great to see that a lot of Indians are showing the courage to drop colonial frame of thinking.

    As long as Indian nationalism continues to be driven by these dominant Hindu values, we need not worry too much about the colours with which Western discourse paints it with.

    It would be juvenile to think that social media would bring in a change in style of governance in India but it is these discussions that would eventually enrich the public discourse in our country. The kind of discussion that Indian blogs or forums or social media often hold is very different from the kind of discussion that happens in the forums dominated by westerners (there the debate often degenerates into republic/democrat or socialist/conservative polemics).

  • 35. HArshavardhan said:

    Say BHARAT , not india…

  • 36. B Shantanu said:

    Concluding sentence from a post by Pragmatic Euphony: Nationalism is not an epithet: Nationalism is about putting the interests of India and Indians first, without compromising on any of our constitutional ideals. Let us not allow it to be any other way.

Share your thoughts below.

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Share your opinions responsibly. Stay on topic. Please note that by posting a comment, you indicate consent to the terms and conditions of this site. First-timers, please read the comments policy here

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.