Essay on Nationalism -Introduction: Nationalism is a sense related to the nation. It is a sense of blessing to a country or nation. It is an extreme and pervasive force in the political life of mankind.
Nationalism is defined as a sentiment of a group of people united together by powerful ties and bonds— such as common race, living in the contiguous and well-defined territory, having the same faith, common language and common economy, common pattern in life, common history and a common ideal for future.
Nationhood and sentiment: A group of people united together by such ties, seeks, expressions, and development of groups by collective personalities through an independent political organization of its own. It is a sentiment of nationhood. In reality, it is more than a mere sentiment. Originating in the gregarious instinct of man and nourished by the national desire for self-sufficiency, nationalism has in the present century come to be a very dynamically active force in practical politics.
As Lord Morely remarks nationalism–“From instinct became ideas; from idea abstract principles, then derive pre-possessions; ending where it is today in a dogma”. The essence of nationalism is a unifying integrating, all-pervasive feeling among the people or peoples of a country who owe their first and last duty towards the nations.
Self-determination: Nationalism naturally seeks the right of self-determination. The right has had the effect of encouraging and fostering the freedom of movement in many countries. As a result, new nation-states have emerged all over the world. According to Marxists, nationalism in its present form came in the nation the wake of Bourgeoisie Democratic Revolution in different countries.
A magnetic force: Nationalism is a magnetic force which attacks like groups. But within the nation it. sometimes expresses itself in the form of practical patriotism which accentuates the differences between international groups. The effect of this that many minority groups may begin to call themselves nationalism. The possibility of such separate tendencies emerging has to be guarded against.
Real and perverted nationalism: Real nationalism encourages the man to have a strong feeling on language, caste creed, civil rights etc equally. Perverted nationalism is full of selfishness. It discourages man to have an ill feeling towards it. True nationalism begets democracy and encourages people to feel political equity, to democratic spirit.
Abraham Lincoln defined democracy,” Govt. of the people by the people and for the people/” Based seriously on the points, democratic revolution gives birth to the spirit of nationalism. Nationalism- developed in the age aiming at the self-sufficiency of nations, finds it difficult to maintain its position when the nation is not self-sufficient when it cannot consume all that it produces.
The growth of mammoth industries for the production of capital goods, consumer goods, and war materials has made it necessary for every nation to find out a market where materials can be brought and surplus finished goods may be disposed of for a profit.
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The economic motive reinforces the desire for political power and leads to the policy of colonizing the under-developed countries for all possible exploitation. The present-day tendency is to form multinational concerns in developing countries. This is how the whole of Asia and Africa fell under the greed of nationalism of the west and later on of Japan. Nationalism produces what is known as militant or ultra-nationalism.
The evil effect of this perverted form of nationalism is that it creates hostilities between groups, supports militarism retards progress. It provides (produces) a feeling that the laws and civilization of one’s country are superior to those of others and may, therefore, be rightly imposed upon a politically weak and incapable people. It leads in the end to what is called imperialism that shows the seeds of war.
Conclusion: True and real nationalism is based on the ideas of “Live and let live”. It also recognizes the freedom of all nations to preserve their distinct identity of language, and culture. Self-love is not bad so long it does not lead to selfishness. It is only true nationalism which can pave the way for internationalism, the edifice of which can be built only on the basis of mutual trust, belief, goodwill and co-operation among nations.