Our Nationhood


Continued from the last issue…

EUROPEAN NATIONALISM DESTRUCTIVE

IN European countries nationalism led to ruination. But to call Indian nationalism destructive because of this reason is like being once bitten twice shy. It is wrong to presume that our nationalism would be as calamitous as that of these nations. This is not a mere claim, it is the truth, and this truth is supported by thousands of years of history of Indian nationalism. The history of these countries of the world for about a thousand years is full of scenes of destruction, while in the long history of India there is not a single page describing grief caused to man. The entire history of India is full of goodwill for the whole world. The remains of Indian history found in different parts of the world declare to this day the truth that India has striven only for the good of the entire creation. Hence the truth is that if the world is to be saved from the terrible effects of Western nationalism that have resulted from mutual conflict, hatred and competition, we shall have to organise and strengthen Indian nationalism. This way lies the good of the world.

NATIONALISM VERSUS RELIGION

DURING the regime of the British we had accepted that there are many different communities, like the Muslims and the Christians in this country and the spirit of nationalism can be created only by protecting their individual existence. Actually to accept their independent existence on the national level is a big mistake, because to classify society into classes such as Muslims and Christians on the basis of religion is different from nationalism. Followers of the same religion can be nationals of different nations, while a single nation can include the followers of many religions. If nationalism is a sufficiently strong sentiment, religion does not enter it. But today our effort is to accept the independent existence of these communities and then to unify them so that the unification does not require anybody to forsake anything. The funny thing is that nobody has a clear idea of the unifying element that can bring everybody together.

BHARAT IS ‘MATA’

THE basis of our nationalism is not simply Bharat but ‘Bharat Mata’. Remove the word Mata and Bharat would remain just a piece of land. The affinity between us and this land is established only with the relationship of the mother. No piece of land can be called a country so long as the relationship between it and the people living in it is not that of mother and son. This is patriotism. But patriotism does not merely mean love for a piece of land. Even birds and beasts have such love. The tiger lives in its lair, and birds return to their nests every evening. But they cannot be called patriots. Man also comes to acquire a feeling of affinity for the place where he may live. But that is not enough for patriotism. Only those people can be called patriots in a particular country who are bound together as one people. A country is created by the coming together of land as mother and an integrated society as son. This is patriotism and it is deathless.

PRESERVE OUR MOORINGS

WHY is there no vitality in the country even after so many years of independence ? Why have poverty, starvation, unemployment and feeling of hopelessness increased? Why has national character degenerated ? Why has there been a continuous fall in all fields-economic, political, social, literary-and why has the life of the nation begun to drift aimlessly ? Why are we drifting like this ? Without doubt the only reason is that we are not standing on our own feet. He who has lost his moorings must naturally drift, like an uprooted tree moving helplessly with a current of water. Our entire national life has lost its roots. The means of only checking this fall is a true realization of national life.

Without a pure feeling of nationalism not only is national development not possible but even independence may be lost. We have fallen on these evil days because we have forgotten the awareness of nationalism that manifests itself in the age-old history of the nation. To get out of this pit we must clarify the sentiment that is the basis of the nation. A strong force can be created if the roots of national ideals and aspirations are strengthened. The purpose of national life can be understood on a true realization of nationhood, and then the life of the nation throbs with vitality. An absence of this true realization of nationhood is the basic cause of our present fall as a nation.

(Excerpts from the book – “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya A Profile” edited by Sudhakar Raje.)