Saturday, March 25th, 2023 08:48:11

Patriotism Vs Nationalism

Updated: December 18, 2015 11:18 am

India that is Bharat


SIMPLE things are simple no more, says sad Satiricus. Once upon a time, for example, tweedledum and tweedledee were one and the same. Alas, no more. The other day the defining difference between them was expertly explained by a column-writer who wrote he liked being a patriot but disliked being dubbed a nationalist. Bird-brained Satiricus was bemused. All along he has been labouring under the impression that as India was his country it was enough for him to love India for being an Indian patriot. As if this was not wrong enough, it is actually wronger (how is that for a nifty neologism?) for him to suppose that his being a good patriot qualifies him to be a good nationalist. Why? Because the country and the nation are as different as chalk and cheese, but it takes an expert to spot the difference.

Well, now, what do you know? Any normal Indian (as against an expert Indian intelligent) would have thought that the country of India means the people of India, and the sense of togetherness of the people of India makes for the nation of India. At least that is what Satiricus the Indian ignoramus thought. Inexcusably enough, French philosopher Renan too thought the same. He said this sense of togetherness of a country’s people was the spiritual essence of those people’s nationalism, so the nation was a spiritual fact which subsumed the territory of the country. All bosh, of course. This columnist knows what philosopher Renan does not.

More to the point, was not Renan’s France the original home of secularism—before it migrated to India? So there, the truth is out. The ignorance of secular Renan can only be pitied when pitted against the knowledge of this import-quality secular Indian columnist. All in all, thanks to this expert Satiricus now knows that patriotism and nationalism are as diametrically different as tweedledum and tweedledee.

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