The difference between Nationalism and Patriotism
Patriotism means different things to different people. Here’s a list I made of what people associate with patriotism:
1. Never talking ill of the country. Always praising it.
2. Joining politics, the government services or some such thing. Getting into some direct work involved in improving the state of one’s country, like social work.
3. Having a proper knowledge about our country’s history, it’s milestones and the significance of important days. Poonam has written about it here.
4. A strong civic sense as a citizen and this includes observing one’s duties like not littering, participating in community drives and awareness programmes and voting.
5. A refusal to give or take bribes, paying one’s taxes, doing an honest job.
6. Love for one’s fellow countrymen, regardless of their creed or caste.
7. Feeling a pride in one’s country’s culture and achievements.
8. Never leaving India to settle in a foreign country.
I have been thinking of making such a list after the interesting comments I received on my post on Growth vs Development last week. I personally feel strongly about points, 4 (Civic Sense), 5 (Honesty), 6 (Love), and 7 (Pride). About point number 1 (Praise), I feel it’s not a question of being optimistic or pessimistic, it’s a question of seeing reality. About point 2 (government/social service), I feel that everyone has his/her own niche and they should go for it. About 3 (knowledge), well, I guess a lack of knowledge shows one up to be an idiot so one should avoid that trap. And about 8 (living in India), I feel there are ways that someone outside the country can contribute, if they wish to.
There are other definitions of patriotism. The wiki says
…patriotism is associated with pride in one’s country’s achievements and culture and identification with other members of the nation.
Indiaparenting.com defines patriotism as:
…not something that denotes morals or ethics, but is a sense of belonging for one’s country.
Patriotism is not based upon kinship or of shared descent like in families, castes and tribes. Patriotism is based upon the idea of a nation and its central institution, the state. Patriotism in modern India is thus qualitatively different from the love of one’s community that was to be seen in ancient and medieval India. Its relation to one’s country has changed with the change in the social structure of the state and the nation.
An important point that Madan makes is that we have a long way to go before we become a “melting pot of identities” (like in the USA for example) which makes it easier to identify with one another. Not that this is desirable! We can always develop a sense of identification without melting in this pot. As Madan says:
Nationalism is not Patriotism
Which brings me to another point, that of Nationalism. Unfortunately, patriotism is often confused with nationalism. According to the wiki, Nationalism is a term referring to some sort of political movement which seeks to “unite people on the basis of ethnicity or culture.” The Hindutva movement in India is a good example.
Let me end with Madan’s words which struck a core within my heart:
It must be a patriotism which seeks the happiness of the poorest of the poor as the index of our national development. It must be a patriotism which sees the freedom of the smallest of the minorities as the index of our social development. It must be a patriotism which comes into action every day, through a conscience that sees lying to customers, exploiting labourers, cheating on tax, paying (and taking) bribes, adding sand to cement, oppressing the poor, paying obeisance to the powerful, all these daily acts of betrayal of the people as treason.
(All pictures are by me)