India never ceases to amaze a tourist or the indigenous servant. There is much to lament about when we look at the ever perverse corruption and all its visible fallacies. On the other side of the shore we have a nation which has successfully managed to co-exist despite its regional chauvinism, plethora of cultures and its unknown political smartness, point in case being; India’s rehabilitation of Afghanistan. Hope is an ever permeable virtue that lingers at a visible distance cluttered in the chaos. But to keep a nation as big as Bharat functioning, on the equilibrium of hope, is an achievement worth noticing; and for many intellectuals, worth analyzing, observing and understanding.
India has much to smile for and much more to hide her head in shame. What is fascinating for me, as a student, is to understand this intangible, yet mysteriously valuable phenomenon of nationalism and its impact on India after the colonial rule.
The famous revolutionaries of India in their freedom struggle, referred to the struggle as a movement of the people, a nationalist uprising. With a common enemy; the British in mind, India’s princes and kings united for a cause to liberate Bharat with the tyranny and oppression of its erstwhile masters. The idea of Nationalism till 1947 is a very cogent one, when the idea of a draconian despot is conjured in the minds of Bharat’s residents.
However, as we are all well aware, freedom came at a cost for India, named Pakistan. Since Independence and during India’s formative years, it is hard to believe that India’s citizens were permeated by the spirit of nationalism. The idea of Nationalism was uprooted, and sowed with the more aggressively potent religious fragmentation, coupled with languages and castes. In other words, nationalism died with the British’s departure, sadly.
India’s democracy is unlike any conventional rule of the ideology. Apart from its size and population, its languages and ethnicity are poles apart. What unifies us is our gross hatred for politicians and mutual admiration for Sachin Tendulkar. (It was Cricket, rather than Sachin, until politicians decided to spin the wrong balls)
Homogeneity breeds nationalism. India, if anything, is an exemplar example of heterogeneity. If you compare India with Europe and much of West, what it lacks is this homogeneity to breed nationalistic spirit. Due to India’s multiple diversity, it is hard to consolidate and give powerful meaning to a nation state.
Apart from the herculean tool of India’s complexities of homogeneity, it is the relatively new concept of nationalism, which impinges on the vision of a nation. Unlike America, which has homogeneity and an old inbred heart for nationalism from the Boston tea party protests, to the manipulated Iraq War, India’s nationalistic endeavors are a mere sixty or so odd years old. The intense nationalism ofcourse raises questions of jingoism and the possibility of propagandists manipulating the naïve lot. Let us steer away from Aldous Huxley’s Brave new world. (Though there is much debate, we’ll save it for next time)
Forgive me for the myriad of thoughts. The basic pondering point is the birth and possible growth of Nationalism in India. And, will this nationalistic spirit solve many a plaguing issue? Do let me know what you think. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!