Letter To Editor | Nationalism with Politics? 

IS it realistically possible for political parties in India to keep nationalism above politics? It is highly difficult given the fact that political nationalism is different and complex in a country like India which is well-known for its hostile political divide and for the deep-seated political antagonism. For years and years, the entire Indian political class seems increasingly complicit in enabling hate speech. And the ruling dispensation is being accused for polarizing the nation by inflaming communal divisions.

However, I feel that only ‘patriotism’, which is above ‘nationalism’, can unite people of a country, cutting across the barriers of class, caste and religion, and enable for a good democracy. When religion is used to construct national identity, it gets politicized into an ‘ideology,’ and such an ideology will harm the democratic virtues and weaken the nation. The rise of nationalism has the potency to turn into jingoism, which will imperil the nation's security in the long run, and if unabated, it will leave the country economically exploited and morally humiliated. In contrast, ‘patriotism’ is being proud of one’s own people or nation for its accomplishments, ready to cooperate with others towards doing good deeds. Patriotism breeds confidence, which comes from pure, innate and genuine feelings, and it spawns positive energy to nurture growth. ‘Patriotism’ is based on passion and affection, while nationalism is rooted in rivalry and resentment. Finally, ‘nationalism’ is militant by nature and ‘patriotism’ is based on peace.

Ranganathan Sivakumar 

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