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A Sense Of Nationalism In Today’s India

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The feeling of love and pride towards the nation one is born in is purely natural. It is ingrained in almost every human throughout the world. The concept of nationalism can be defined by both narrow and broad concepts. But in general, a sense of nationalism requires oneness, feeling the goodness of the nation and its people, unity in diversity and respect, love and pride towards the nation by its citizens. To understand nationalism – a profound feeling for one’s nation – one must know the meaning of what constitutes a nation.

The term ‘nationalism’ has been understood and defined in many ways. It has been described as ‘a state of mind in which the supreme loyalty of the individual is due to the nation-state’ (Tara Chand: History of the Freedom Movement in India, Vol ii, page 552). As such, it implies the identification of the state or nation with the people. Here, the characteristics of the people are a homogenous culture, living together in a close association or territory, sharing the belief of a common destiny etc. According to JC Johari in his book, “Indian Politics” (Fifth. Edi. 1996, page 25), “The meaning of nationalism has its different connotations if we examine the case of free versus subject peoples. Whereas nationalism of the free peoples appeared in the modern period after the decline and fall of the Papacy and the nation states of Europe took upon themselves the emerged as a reaction against the imperial system of the advanced European countries.”

Indian nationalism developed as a concept during India’s freedom struggle against the colonial role of the British. Indian nationalism is an instance of territorial nationalism, inclusive of its entire people, despite their diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. In Indian perspective, nationalism belongs to the category of anti-colonial nationalism. The nationalist movement of India took organized form in 1885 when the Indian National Congress was set up and brought with it new hopes and aspirations for independent India. As such, Nationalism in India signifies a common political consciousness or patriotism with the purpose of attaining self-rule. Nationalism in India can be defined as the growth and development of anti-colonial sentiment – from a movement for reasonable constitutional reforms to a struggle for complete independence.

Meanwhile, if we observe the recent debates on nationalism then the term is being redefined for achieving political goals. The concept of nationalism is being used for acquiring votes in the elections. There are lots of misconceptions and propaganda about nationalism.

Generally, the idea of nationalism becomes negative with irrational blaming and the spread of hatred among the people. Nationalism is not a particular idea or thought that can be identified in the name of religion, caste or community of the people, it’s beyond all these.

Similarly, one cannot be identified as an anti-nationalist just because they have different political views or an ideology that majority people don’t follow in the nation at a particular point in time. If a person is being critical of the government’s style of working or they often criticise the policy of the government, they are not anti-nationalists. It’s worthless to call someone anti-nationalist just because they do not follow majoritarian views or belief. Being critical of issues in the country is a huge indicator of love towards the nation and its betterment!

Now in India, the debate of nationalism vs anti-nationalism is taking new heights. But most of the views are being used for political gain through misconception and half-truths. We must show our love and respect towards the nation but that does not mean that we should take the law into our hands and become violent. The nation never wants violence, hate and fear to reflect on its people. Instead, we should stand for national integration.

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  1. chiranjib nath

    Sir, i appreciate your work….now my conception is clear about nationalism….thanks

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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