A simple search on Google will yield some interesting results, which strangely — and surprisingly! — have vivid negative connotations associated to the word ‘nationalism’…From being described as the refuge of the scoundrels to being dubbed, the measles of mankind, nationalism — surprisingly — evokes rather strong negative imagery, albeit in the minds of prominent people. Hence, it is not surprising to see how vary have people become when it comes to being nationalists. However, how and why did this weirdly contorted and distorted view plague nationalism becomes evident if we peruse through history, which has often dubbed negative figures like ‘Hitler’ as the face of nationalism. Sadly, the face of a nationalist – today – is often exaggerated and equated with the face of a vicious terrorist — someone who harbours ill-will to anyone and everyone who does not belong to his or her state.
What confounds me truly is how did this twisted viewpoint become the central idea that has been allowed to germinate in the minds of the general public; and when did love for one’s nation become hatred for another’s nation! Do I need to hate all other nations in order to love my own? Well, a cursory glance of the readings of some of the famous quotes by some of the greatest minds of the world strangely seem to scream a – YES! To those glorious men — with their inglorious thought — nationalism does not simply mean love and loyalty for one’s country; nationalism to them denotes a love that seeks to destroy all other. Oh their warped brains!
So, if that is not what nationalism is…what is nationalism? I for one choose to rely on my collection of Britannica encyclopaedias rather than the strangely venomous world wide web. Thus, according to Britannica: nationalism is basically an ideology that is based on the premise than an individual’s loyalty and devotion, first and foremost, lies to his/her nation-state and thus supersedes all other individual or group interests. What it means is simple and can be expressed through two simple words — NATION FIRST!
Thus, nationalism means to put the interests of the nation first, instead of giving in to individualistic myopia. Hence, a nationalist is someone who tirelessly works towards nation-building. It is the soldier who sacrifices himself for the love of his nation. It is the student who gives up on his international career so he/she can make his contribution to the country. And…it is the farmer who not only invests his sweat and blood, but puts his soul into the soil. Thus nationalism simply means those people who work towards improving the plight of the people around them so that their motherland can become prosperous and self-sufficient.
- if you are a student…study well, so you can put your education to good use and make your contribution to your country.
- if you are an employee…work hard, so you not only earn your daily bread-n-butter but make your contribution to the economy.
- if you are a house-wife…raise your children well so that the future of the country rests in good and able hands. After all, the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.
In short, all those who work for their nation — irrespective of their colour, caste and creed — are all nationalists. And our nationalism is much bigger than their nationalistic myopia…we love our country and we love the world.