Chapter 7 Nationalism
Textbook Questions Solved
How is a nation different from other forms of collective belonging?
A nation is not only a collection of people and it differs from other groups found in society:
- A state is different from a family which is based on direct personal interaction of people living together and having knowledge of identity and character of others also.
- A nation is different from clans, tribes and kinship which ties of marriage and descent link members to each other so that even if we do not personally know all the members we can.
- But as a member of a nation, we may never come face to face, most of our fellow nationals nor need we share ties of descent with them.
Still the nation exists, are lived in and valued by its members.
What do you understand by the right to national self-determination? How has this idea resulted in both formation of and challenges to nation-states?
Right of self-determination implies that every nation in the world should enjoy a right to determine its destiny in all walks of life without any undue interference from any other state.
Every national should be given a right to determine his own affairs in the way he likes. The right of self-determination implies that each state exercise the following rights:
- The basic right implies that each state has a right to exist independently without interference from other states and sovereignty of the state would be respected by all.
- Every state exercises the right to develop its own political, social, economic spheres as well as its own art, culture and literature and should have a right to adopt any language as the medium of expression.
- Each state exercises the right to preserve what it considers worth-preserving. Each tradition has some historical background and represents the soul of the nation.
To enjoy these rights, we may conclude the following reasons:
- These rights are essential for the coexistence of a democracy in action.
- This right promotes national unity among the various states which belong to different races, castes, religion and cultures.
- This right guarantees that minorities should not be absorbed in the majority whereas they should also be given the right to determine their culture and civilisation alongwith majority communities.
- This right provides more national security because the majority and minority both enjoy the right to determine their own affairs in the way they linked.
But, the right of self-determination results in the following challenges:
- It may hinder the smooth functioning of administration in multi-national states like India, USSR, because each section makes efforts to find out one’s own way.
- Sometimes, this right finds it difficult to frame a public opinion for the success of democracy because everyone would develop its own identity only.
- Sometimes, it brings inferior races at par the superior races, which hamper the growth of superior race also.
The right of self-determination resulted:
- Disintegration of states, i.e. Russia, Austria, Hungary.
- Resulted the unification of states like Germany and Italy.
- Resulted the states like Czechoslovakia and Finland.
Hence, it can be concluded that the right of self-determination can also be used for both purpose of national integration and disintegration.
“We have seen that nationalism can unite people as well as divide them, liberate them as well generate bitterness and conflict”. Illustrate your answer with examples.
Ans. Nationalism requires to be studied due to its important role in the world affairs:
- Nationalism has united the people and divided them also to liberate them from oppressive rule and has been the cause of conflict and wars.
- Nationalism has contributed to the drawing and re-drawing of the boundaries of states and empires.
- Nationalism has been a factor in the break of empires and states.
- Nationalism has gone through various processes/passes, i.e. it led to the unification of a number of small kingdoms into large nation states as Italy, Germany, etc.
- Even at present a large part of the world is divided into different nation-states and separatist struggles within existing states are common.
- Nationalism has also accompanied to the break up of empires like Austro-Hungarian (in the end of 1919 or 1920), break of colonial Britain, France, Dutch and Portuguese in Asia and Africa.
Neither descent, nor language, nor religion or ethnicity can claim to be a common factor in nationalisms all over the world. Comment.
- It is commonly believed that nations are constituted by a group who share certain features as descent, or language or religion or ethnicity.
- But, there is in fact no common set of characteristics to be present in all nations.
- Many nations do not have common language, i.e. Canada includes English speaking and French speaking people and India also has a large number of languages to be spoken in different regions.
- Many nations do not have a common religion to unite them. And some is applicable to other characteristics, i.e. race or descent.
Hence, a nation is to a great extent an imagined community held together by the collective beliefs, aspirations and imaginations of its members.
Illustrate with suitable examples the factors that lead to the emergence of nationalist feelings.
- A common motherland emerges the feelings of nationalism because people belonging to one place are mutually bound to love their motherland, i.e. The Jews stayed far away from motherland still it kept nationalism alive.
- Common culture refers for customs and traditions, ideas, art and literature, dress, food, etc. through which people start understanding one another to live in harmony and cooperation. Hence, it emerges nationalism.
- Common language also emerges nationalism as people understand and come nearer to each other by their expressions together to bind them. Through language, the people develop some habits as well as adopt some ways of life.
- Common religion also contribute to the emergence of nationality as the people remain under the command of a religious leader and the spirit of oneness is developed among all followers of religion.
How is a democracy more effective than authoritarian government in dealing with conflicting nationalist aspirations?
- A democracy is the most acceptable form of government in the world whereas authoritarian governments are not liked and accepted now-a-days.
- A nation is strengthened on the acknowledgement and acceptance of obligations though fellow members which is easily possible in a democracy than in an authoritarian government.
- In a democracy, the government provide enough opportunities and favorable environment than authoritarian government as well as mutual respect and cooperation are the strongest test of loyalty towards the nation.
- To bind individuals together as a nation is a common language or common religion, i. e. common language makes it easier to communicate with each other and some religion shares some festivals, holidays and hold some symbols.
But it can pose a threat to the values to be cherished in a democracy:
- All major religions are diverse in nature to be evolved through a dialogue within a community and within each religion number of sets differ significantly in their interpretations. Hence, in a democratic society, if these differences are ignored, it creates an oppressive society.
- Even two societies are culturally diverse to have peoples from different languages and religions and to impose identity of one another will restrict the liberties of the persons who do not follow the same.
Hence, it can be concluded:
- Equal treatment and liberty for all would be limited.
- It is desirable to imagine the nation in political rather than cultural terms.
- Democracies need to emphasise and expect loyalty to a set of values to be enshrined in constitution only.
What do you think are the limitations of nationalism?
- A territory creates a nation and inhabitants of that particular territory create nationalism but the world is divided into different nations and states, even though the process of re-ordering of state boundaries has not come to an end due to separatist struggles in the existing states.
- The people of new states acquired a new political identity based on membership of the nation alongwith the state loyalties and common languages.
- It is quite difficult to arrive at a precise and widely accepted definition of nationalism.
- The struggle for freedom from colonial rule by India and other former colonies were nationalist struggles with the desire to be independent of foreign control, i.e. Austro- Hungarian, Russian, French, Dutch, Portuguese empires, etc.
- The process of drawing state boundaries have also been confronted by nationalist demands including separate statehood.
- Even today, in many parts of the world, we witness nationalist struggles to threaten to divide the existing states, i.e. Tamils in Srilanka, Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, Basques in northern Spain, etc.
- Nationalism has also passed through many phases, i.e. Germany and Italy’s unification and consolidation.
Extra Questions Solved
Very Short Answer Type Questions
A nation is an imagined community held together by the collective beliefs, aspirations and imaginations of its members.
What makes a citizen to be nationalist?
- To cast a vote.
- To pay taxes on time.
- To respect the laws of country.
- To feed pride in belongingness with country.
What assumptions, do the people make about a nation?
- Common history
- Shared beliefs
- Shared political ideals.
- Common political identity
- Particular territory.
What is Basque?
Basque is a hilly and prosperous region in Spain to be recognized as an autonomous region within Spanish federation and nationalist leaders want to make it a separate country.
Mention the idea of Rabindranath Tagore about colonial rule and freedom of the country?
Rabindranath Tagore was against colonial rule and supported India’s right to independence as he realised that there was no place for upholding of dignity of human relationship to be cherished in the British civilization.
Why did Rabindranath Tagore prefer humanity than patriotism?
He said that patriotism could not be out final spiritual shelter. He declared that he would not buy glass in the price of diamonds and he would never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as he lived.
What is a state?
State is a group of people having sovereignty, living in a fixed territory under the control of an organised government.
What do you mean by sub-nationalism?
There are states like India and Switzerland where the people of many nationalities live together for last so many centuries, i.e. before independence there was Muslim, sub nationalism in India. The sense of sub nationalism does not create any hindrance to the national integration.
Is United Nations a state?
United Nations is not a state because it does not possess all the four elements like population, fixed territory, government and sovereignty. It is an international organisation of the several sovereign states at international front.
May we call Pakistan a state?
Yes, because Pakistan enjoys all the four elements essential to be a state, i.e. population, fixed territory, government and sovereignty. Pakistan enjoys the right to enter into agreements with other states of the world.
May we Uttar Pradesh a country?
No, because Uttar Pradesh is one of the units of states of India and its people are the citizens of India and its government is bound by the decisions of control government of India.
Prove from the contemporary world situation that the process of redrawing state boundaries is continued even since after the beginning of seventh decade of 20th century.
- Since 1960, even stable nations have been confronted by nationalist demands put forward by regions to include demands for separate statehood.
- Even today, many nationalist struggle threaten to divide existing states, i.e. Quebecots in Canada, the Basques in northern Spain, the Tamils in Sri Lanka, Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, etc.
- Some linguistic groups also develop nationalism, i.e. Arab nationalism today may hope to unite Arab countries in a pan Arab Union.
What is the importance of nation building in India?
- Before independece, India was divided into various administrative units.
- All these administrative units were brought together with strong nationalism.
- India is a country known for her characteristic of unity in diversity.
- Still the people have a sense of pride in the culture.
Short Answer Type Questions
What do you mean by states? Why is it necessary?
State is a community of persons who permanently occupy a definite portion of organised government to which the great body of inhabitants render habitual obedience.
A state is necessary because:
- For the security of one’s life and property.
- For the development of individuals.
- To remove hindrances in the life of citizens.
- To perform certain duties.
What are the main elements of nationalism?
Nationalism is a desire for having a region for free and independent development of one’s
culture along with the following elements:
- To share common beliefs and to strengthen the feelings of patriotism, love for country and sentiments to sacrifice for a nation.
- A common history helps the people to embody a sense of continuing historical identity in the form of nationalism.
- A definite territory of a nation also protect and safeguard the nationalism.
- Common political identity also strengthen nationalism and, end the values which create a threat for democratic set up because nationalism requires a shared political ideals along with a written constitution.
What are the main elements of the state?
A state has four essential elements and it cannot exist, if any one of them is lacking:
- Population is the primary element of state, no state can exist if no human beings are there.
- A fixed territory is also an element and a state cannot be imagined without it.
- Through the Government, the will of the state is formulated, expressed and enforced, hence, it is an essential element.
- The sovereignty refers to supreme power of the state and the most important element.
What are the main differences between the state and nation?
- The state has four essential elements, i.e. population, territory, government and sovereignty whereas a nation is an association organised through cultural and spiritual feelings and it comes into existence with the consciousness of uniting the people into oneness either through common language or culture, conventions, etc.
- A state have a fixed territory whereas a nation is connected with the feelings of unity, i.e. the members of an association may be limited to a small territory or to be spread all over the world.
- Idea of oneness or unity is essential for a nation only but it is not essential for a state which should be politically organised.
- A state enjoys the sovereignty to be essential whereas a nation attempts at attaining freedom and get sovereignty to become a state.
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 101-102) given below carefully and answer the questions that follow:
People who see themselves as a nation also embody a sense of continuing historical identity. That is, nations perceive themselves as stretching back into the past as well as reaching into the future. They articulate for themselves a sense of their own history by drawing on collective memories, legends, historical records, to outline the continuing identity of the nation. Thus nationalists in India invoked its ancient civilization and cultural heritage and other achievements to claim that India has had a long and continuing history as a civilization and that this civilisational continuity and unity is the basis of the Indian nation. Jawaharlal Nehru, tor instance, wrote in his book The Discovery of India, “Though outwardly there was diversity and infinite variety among the people, everywhere there was that tremendous impress of oneness, which held all of us together in ages past, whatever political fate or misfortune had befallen us”.
1. How do people articulate a sense of their own history?
2. What is known as the basis of unity of India?
3. Who wrote ‘Discovery of India’?
1. By drawing on collective memories, legends, historical records and to outline the continuing identity of the nation.
2. The nationalists in India involved its ancient civilization and cultural heritage, to have a long and continuing history as a civilisation alongwith continuity and unity.
3. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 107) given below carefully and answer the questions that follow
The kinds of group rights which have been granted in different countries include constitutional protection for the language, cultures and religion, of minority groups and their members. In some cases identified communities also have the right to representation as a group in legislative bodies and other state institutions. Such rights may be justified on the grounds that they provide equal treatment and protection of the law for members of these groups as well as protection for the cultural identity of the group. Different groups need to be granted recognition as a part of the national community. This means that the national identity has to be defined in an inclusive manner which can recognise the importance and unique contribution of all the cultural communities within the state.
1. What different rights have been given to different groups?
2. Can the rights of identified communities be justified?
3. What do you mean to grant recognition as a part of national community?
1. Constitutional protection for the language, cultures, religions along with minority groups and their rights.
2. Yes, on the grounds of equal treatment and protection of the law for members of the groups and protection for cultural identity.
3. That the national identity has to be defined in an inclusive manner to recognize the importance and unique contribution of cultural communities within the states.
Long Answer Type Questions
What is nationalism? Mention its merits and demerits also.
Nationalism is a desire for having separate region for free and independent development of one’s culture, race, language, etc.
Merits of Nationalism:
- Nationalism makes an individual to feel that the nation is above all and raises the standard of thinking and behaving of individuals about nation.
- Nationalism asserts independent living and thinking among the citizens of country.
- Nationalism creates a sense to make country free from colonial rule or from those who rule over the nation from outside (foreigners, etc.)
- Nationalism gives an opportunity to each nation for development of its culture and develop a sense of pride towards the culture and heritage of a nation.
- Nationalism makes a country self-sufficient to meet the basic necessities of a nation during a crisis.
- Nationalism creates healthy rivals at international level to get better standard of living, social life, etc.
Demerits of nationalism:
- Nationalism has resulted in the World War I and II due to greed of people to expand their own nationalism beyond territories.
- In nationalism, each fact is exaggerated, i.e. national achievements are given wide publicity to pose a major problem.
- Nationalism misuses the authority which creates a larger gap between the rich and the poor by making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
- Nationalism can be used against slave countries by capitalist countries.