Patriotism is an attachment to a homeland. This attachment can be viewed in terms of different features relating to one’s own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects.
Nationalism is a multidimensional social construction reflected in the communal identification with one’s nation. It is a political ideology oriented towards gaining and maintaining self-governance, or full sovereignty, over a territory of historical significance to the group (such as its homeland). Nationalism therefore holds that a nation should govern itself, free from unwanted outside interference, and is linked to the concept of self-determination. Nationalism is further oriented towards developing and maintaining a national identity based on shared characteristics such as culture, language, race, religion, political goals or a belief in a common ancestry.
Strangely though, these definitions stand null and void in the Indian context. But these were English words that the English speaking wrote, how could we accept them? We were set free from the British seven decades ago, weren’t we?
So, some decided to give these words a pure ‘Indian’ meaning, which was more than just a meaning. It was a philosophy and an emotion. But the philosophy and emotion is not applicable to all. The meaning behind the ‘Indian’ context of these words did not consider that one could oppose or differ with the thought of the makers. Thus, all those who don’t agree with the makers of this philosophy are ‘anti-nationals’.
As the British brought to the limelight after granting freedom to our country, there are several Indias in one India. They also taught our budding politicians a lesson on controlling the country at will. Even Dhoni cannot hit sixes with the frequency matching that of our politicians creating a communal whirlpool.
The theory is simple, spot a few idiots, teach them these ‘new’ definitions of patriotism and nationalism that have religious undertones, and make them judge others by telling them that these definitions cannot be questioned.
What is better than being a dharma rakhshak (the protector of religion)? You’re making a hero out of yourself if you successfully ignore the fact that someone else is making a fool out of you. They begin their mission of saving their religion by meeting other such groups, and spreading the word of their religion. Then, they convince the people how harmful the other religion is to their religion and to the nation. For example, it can be said how Muslims not saying Vande Mataram and eating beef is a national or religious threat. None of this makes no sense, but you can’t challenge them.
These current definitions don’t allow anyone to think that there might be other aspects to the arguments they make. The one who is against the flow and doesn’t approve of this present philosophy is an ‘anti-national’.
The current definitions of patriotism and nationalism in the Indian context have become is as follows:
Patriotism is an attachment to a homeland. This attachment can be viewed as how much respect you have for the majority or majoritarian view, how deeply you feel that anyone against the philosophy of majority are traitors, how strongly you dislike or even hate Pakistan, and how shallow you consider the expression of patriotism to be.
Nationalism, on the other hand is a deeper concept. In this concept you have to admit that each and every innovation, was put forth in India, either in the Vedas or in some books found in India. To be a nationalist you have to compare yourself with states which are either theocratic or run by a dictator and consider yourself lucky for not living in such situations. Always talk about the fact that the army is struggling so much for us to be happy. Sometimes mob lynching is also a form of nationalism. You must understand that in China and North Korea there is no freedom of speech. So, we should not protest, in order to enjoy that ‘freedom’.You must believe that the majority is always right and that opposition to the government is an opposition to the nation.
As absurd as these definitions are, it is the reality. It isn’t just a coincidence that a highly literate mob is advocating this psychology or that most of the youth is accepting it. This is a well sought out plan to divide us and not focus on the fact that we have narrowed our perspectives of patriotism and nationalism.
I mean, you don’t have to hate Pakistan to be an Indian. Let Pakistan grow. Let it be one of the greatest democracies, how does it matter to us? Let us focus on our nation’s progress, how much we need to change, what do we need to do to make our country a better democracy, an actual democracy.
Today the hate crimes are controllable, tomorrow they won’t be. We need to choose our way as Indians first.