Modern History

Nation, Nation-State and Nationalism

Indian nationalism represented two major ideas: anti-imperialism and national unity.

  • The nationalism, is a modern phenomenon which evolved in eighteenth-century Europe and, in the wake of European hegemony over the globe, spread to all parts of the world.
  • Nation is one such human community which is very unique, where as Nation-State is one such State but a very unique and a special one but with different types of human communities. Nationalism brings the both together.
  • Indian nationalism represented two major ideas: anti-imperialism and national unity.
  • Nationalism was truly a global phenomenon that emerged not only in India, Asia or Africa. Communities with very less things in common became Nations.
  • It has manifested itself as politics (Type of Govt), ideology( Communist, Socialist, Capitalist), movement( Feminist, Veganism), belief system( Isreal, Pakistan), a sentiment( Canada ), imagination ( Kurd ), invented tradition( invoke past, eg Muslim from Hinds. Forming Pakistan, Hindu Rastra) and also a passion.
  • The new economy was backed up by modern science and technology and was so powerful that it destroyed the old order and , in time, replaced it with a new social order.
  • The new economy was so large that it could not effectively run without the participation of a large number of people. people should become citizens and should be directly responsible to the state. Ending Kingship.
  • The world capitalism that emerged in certain areas of Europe towards the end of the 18th centuries, created a ‘myth’ of ‘even development’ throughout the world by diffusion.
  • But in reality Capitalism actually flourished by creating a ‘core’ (of advance capitalist countries of Europe) and a ‘periphery’ (the colonial societies of Asia and Africa).
  • The elite in these societies soon discovered that ‘progress’ in the abstract only meant ‘domination’ in the concrete for them, by powers that were alien and foreign. (The Drain of Wealth).
  • Thus capitalism created a system of imperialism and colonialism. That was in this sense that humanity’s forward march became synonymous with ‘Westernization’.
Indian Nationalism
  • Indian nation prior to the 19th century was present in major part during Mauryan, Gupta, Mughal rules.
  • Indian nationalism against British imperialism was territorial rather than ethnic or religious, of not so much the common culture or a common language (as preached by Stalin’s definition)
  • India, was a nation-in-the-making, the title of Surendranath Banerjee’s autobiography.
  • India was old civilization , but a new Nation, Swami Vivekanand. (‘invention of tradition’ ?)
  • Indian nationalism was plural, non-coercive(consensus) and civil.
  • Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his weekly journal Harijan in 1940: “India is a big country, a big nation, composed of different cultures which are tending to blend with one another, each complementing the rest. If I must wait for the completion of this process, I must wait. It may not be completed in my day. I shall love to die in the faith that it must come in the fullness of time.”
  • After independence 28 States, 22 Official Languages.
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