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Opinion: Aggressive Nationalism And Nationalism Are Two Shades Of The Same Colour

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This article contains phrases that can hurt the feelings of a nationalist.

We are taught to be nationalists right from our childhood. I remember drawing the Indian tricolour and how I used to feel this sense of pride about it. But today, I can’t even look at those three colours together for too long. It makes me feel sick.

The nationalist sentiment grew within me, but it always stayed hollow. So, it was easy to break through it with the resources I found because of my many privileges.

What is nationalism? Is it a love for one’s nation, for one’s country?

Indian flag
Representational image.

When you look at it, it seems quite justified, love for your own country. But what is “your country”? Someone told me that it means “the people of your country”. When I asked them about the people living beyond the territory of India, they said that they were talking about the country, not “the state”.

What Does Country Mean?

What does country mean? The Nehruvian hokum we are taught? Unity in diversity? The amalgamation of different cultures? Oh, it’s the era of globalisation! The whole human society is an amalgamation of cultures. What is there to be proud of about being born in India?

If you’re going to talk about beauty, believe me, the whole cosmos is beautiful.

One may say that, “Yeah, people speak in my first language and I feel comfortable around them,” or that, “I feel comfortable in my own town.” But, what about the whole country?

Okay, if you ask me about my patriotism towards my own culture: no, I don’t love it any more than any other culture around the world.

Is Nationalism Really That Bad?

They teach us about aggressive nationalism and perverted nationalism, which are obviously bad. Look at Hitler, or look at Mussolini! But plain nationalism, on the other hand, is good. Alfred Zimmern said, “The road to internationalism lies through nationalism.”

I respectfully disagree! The nationalist song by Dwijendralal Ray, ধন ধান্য পুষ্প ভরা  (dhono dhanno pushpo bhora), has got a line saying: সকল দেশের রানী সে যে আমার জন্মভূমি . Loosely translated, it means: “My motherland is the queen of all countries.” But this isn’t aggressive, is it? Oh, it is!

You can say that you don’t consider your own country to be the best, or believe that other countries are inferior, but you just love your own country. Well, I can only ask you, where is this love coming from?

Working Class Unity

The class interests of the working class and that of the bourgeois class are internationalist. From a macro perspective, they don’t care about their nationalities. The capitalists have got the world market to compete for.

The workers are oppressed all over the world, so they have the whole world to win, eh?

Yeah, the petit-bourgeois (of or characteristic of the lower middle class, especially with reference to perceived conventionalism and conservatism), the middle class, they care a lot about their nationalities.

They are the ones who have surplus time to feel “pride” and “love” for their races, nations or countries.

They influence others and this nationalism is useful for the bourgeoisie who use it to create a divide among the people. Thus, we are taught to be nationalists from our childhood.

Smash capitalism, globalisation and imperialism! “And the last fight let us face, the international unites the human race!”

Created by শঙ্কু_ পাগলা

Would you call yourself a patriot?
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  1. omkarprasad roy

    Fabulous

  2. omkarprasad roy

    Fabulous and thought provoking

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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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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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

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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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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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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