Nationalism: A facade?

Nationalism: A facade?

Nationalism: A facade?

-By Chinta Hityshi

Nationalism is a word we all come across in our daily lives. Let it be in the news, through textbooks, personal experiences, or even articles like these. But have you ever wondered what exactly does this word mean? Who are these nationalists, and how do they actually affect the nation?

In dictionary terms, nationalism is one's identification with their own country and support for its interests. In simpler words, nationalism is just patriotism. So, are all the 'self-proclaimed nationalists' out there truly patriotic? Do they only have the best interests of the nation in their minds? Is there an ulterior motive for every action of theirs?

Today it's a crime to speak against one's own country, or even share their opinions on it, is a punishable offense. I don't mean legally, although slandering is a legal offense, jail is better than ending up in the hands of our country's proud nationalists, who are ready to shed blood, not of their own, but others for the country's sake. My question is, who elected these people, to fight on our behalf?

Some of you might question, if they are fighting for the country, then why am I being such an anti-nationalist and questioning them instead. People who berate their own country deserve to be beaten black and blue. Is this what democracy feels like? We don't live in a world of black and white, there are shades of gray in it, which we should accept.

One should learn to respect the other's opinion whether it matches theirs or not. That is what democracy is about. If we force someone else to accept a culture or to live as someone they don't want to, how different does that make this India to the one we had before independence. Then it was the British who oppressed us, and now it's our countrymen. It isn't right to slander another country, or even your own, it is indeed a legal offense, so let justice prevail, who are we to take matters into our own hands?

In Kerala, 6 young people were arrested for not standing during the national anthem. Is it really right to force someone to accept something they don't even like? It's not that I have anything against my country, but couldn't better methods be utilized to help them understand how much we value our country. By acting so wouldn't their dislike intensify and be justified.

In a theater in Bengaluru, in May of this year, a man was assaulted by a mob when he refused to stand for the national anthem. Albeit he did insult the anthem, but only when the mob provoked him, by warning him of bodily harm. This mob consisted of the nationalists of our country. The police arrested the assaulted man, for speaking expletives against the anthem, and let our 'nationalists' go free. After all, they were only defending the country weren't they, even if it led to some assaults, their intentions were pure. And someone said we are already a democratic country.

How many of us are aware of the fact that the supreme court order that it isn't mandatory to stand during the national anthem. But who cares about the law all that matters is our nation and our nationalists.

If these people who resort to brute force are nationalists, then what about the greatest leaders of our country who died supporting the nation, as true Patriots, but never resorted to himsa.

Dadabhai Naoroji, the unofficial ambassador of India who was one of the founding members of the Indian Council. He died before India attained Independence, but he fought for it equally using his pen. Many of his works touched the hearts of people and still, today are regarded as gems. He was a nationalist.

Should we compare such people to great leaders by referring to them with the same name that once the greatest of the greatest were called? Isn't it time for us to rethink the standards of our nationalism and break past the facade? In a country where once great people walked in this very soul, should we forget our roots and resort to the same ways our ancestors once suffered.

Is nationalism now just an excuse to use brute force on others, and name it as a display of patriotism?