Our Nationhood


By Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya

WHAT IS A NATION ?

WHEN a group of persons lives with a goal, an ideal, a mission, and looks upon a particular piece of land as motherland, it constitutes a nation. If either of the two-and ideal and a motherland-is not there, then there is no nation.

ESSENTIALS OF NATION

A ‘NATION’ requires four things. The first is land or people, whom. we call a country. The second is a collective will for a corporate life. The third is a system which we can call a constitution but which can far more appropriately be called Dharma’. And the fourth is an ideal of life. The synthesis of all these four is called a Nation. As an individual is made up of body, minds intelligence and soul, a nation is made up of country, will, Dharma and ideal.

NATION IS PERMANENT

THE Nation is a permanent truth. The State is created to fulfill the needs of the nation. Two reasons have been given for the origin of the State. It is said that the State becomes necessary in two circumstances. The first is when some distortion enters the people of the nation. The State is established to control the problems that arise in such a situation. For example, one does not see the police when there is no quarrel. But if there is a fight the police are immediately called. The second need is when some complexity appears in society and it becomes necessary to bring order in corporate life.

The State is created so that the powerful, prosperous and resourceful class of society should not exploit the weak, the helpless and the poor, and everyone should remain within the bounds of justice. It is only these two reasons that give rise to the State. To regulate the distortion that may have entered into society, to establish peace by punishing; wrong-doers and to solve the complexity within a society so that life of every individual becomes just, honourable and easy-these have been considered the functions of the State.

A third function is an important aspect of the fulfilment of these two functions. It is to establish relations with other states. Hence security from external aggression is also a function of the State.

NATION HAS PERSONALITY

THE name Bharat denotes a nation, while the names of such provinces as Uttar Pradesh and Bengal do not denote it. Hence we must be quite clear in our minds that although a definite territory is a must and the first essential of a nation, a territory by itself does not become a nation. The existence of a nation depends upon an element which though invisible is felt with the greatest intensity. A nation has a personality just as an Individual has a personality. It is this national personality that keeps a nation alive. When it grows weak, the nation becomes weak, and when it is forgotten or destroyed the entire nation heads for ruination. This is why many nations of the past have now become mere memories. Their territories are there and their people are still alive and yet ancient Persia, Greece, Egypt-all have faded. In other words they lost their basic national personality. It is in this personality that the nation resides.

THE BODY NATIONAL

THE nation does not come into being for the fulfilment of any selfish ends. The limbs of the human body have their natural functions and do not have to be tempted or encouraged to perform them. Similarly the units of a nation function as parts of one single whole and maintain its entity.

Dissipation of the national feeling leads to a weakening of these limbs of the nation, and if they become completely inactive the result can be the end of the nation. But if the national feeling is aroused in these units they again start performing their natural functions. Hence we would have to accept as the basis of the nation a practical and natural organisation that is stable, strong and self-reliant. If the organisation of the State is strong enough its limbs would be equally strong.

NATION HAS A SOUL

A NATION too has a soul. There is a technical name for it-Chiti. According to McDougal, it is the innate nature of a group. Every group of persons has an innate nature. Similarly every society has an innate nature, which is not the result of historical circumstances.

‘CHITI’ IS NATION’S TOUCHSTONE

‘CHITI’ is the touchstone, on which each action, each attitude is tested, and determined to be acceptable or otherwise. ‘Chiti’ is the soul of the nation. On the strength of this ‘Chiti’, a nation arises, strong and virile. It is this ‘Chiti’ that is demonstrated in the actions of every great man of a nation.

An individual is also an instrument in bringing forth the soul of the nation, “Chiti’’. Thus apart from his own self, an individual also represents his nation. Not only that, he also mens the various institutions that are created for the fulfilment of the national goal. Therefore he represents these too. The groups larger than nation, such as “mankind’’ are also represented by him. In, short, an individual has a multitude of aspects, but they are not conflicting; there is co-operation, unity and harmony in them. A system based on the recognition of this mutually complementary nature of the different ideals of mankind, their essential harmony, a system which devises laws, which removes the disharmony and enhances their mutual usefulness and co-operation alone can bring peace and happiness to mankind; can ensure steady development.

NATION’S IDEAL IS ‘CHITI’

THE state is brought into existence to protect the nation; produce and maintain conditions in which the ideals of the nation can be translated into reality. The ideals of the nation constitute “Chiti’’ which is analogous to the soul of an individual. It requires some effort to comprehend Chiti. The laws that help manifest and maintain Chiti of a nation are termed Dharma of that nation. Hence it is this “Dharma’’ that is supreme.Dharma is the repository of the nation’s soul. If Dharma is destroyed, the nation perishes. Anyone who abandons Dharma, betrays the nation.

To be continued…
(Excerpts from the book – “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya A Profile” edited by Sudhakar Raje)