Nationalism Class 11 Notes Political Science Chapter 17 - CBSE

Chapter : 17

What Are Nationalism ?

  • In common language nationalism is associated with patriotism, respecting the national flags, laying down life for the country and everything associated with the identity of the nation. The parade organised during the Republic day symbolises the ideal of nationalism which depicts the strength of the nation.
  • During the nineteenth century nationalism played a great role in the unification of the smaller states into large nation states.
  • The smaller states which shared common ethnicity, culture, religious practices, and many other features came together to form larger and powerful nation states. We can see the examples of Italy and Germany.
  • The larger nation states received the support of the people that led to the rise in its power that drove expansionism in Europe which ultimately culminated in the World War I.
  • It is a general acceptance that the people and groups residing in the nation share certain common features like descent, language, religion or ethnicity.
  • However, there are several distinctions that can be seen in the people residing in a nation. Like, for example many nations do not have common language like Canada.
  • We can see the example of India where different types of religious and cultural groups reside and hundreds of languages are spoken yet every citizen has the feeling of nationalism.
  • Nationalism acts as both, the unifying as well as the breaking force for several empires around the world. In the case of colonial nations it led to the disintegration of their empire.
  • During the twentieth century the countries held by the colonial nations like France, Britain, Portuguese started resisting the foreign rule and started nationalistic movements in their nations.
  • The political leaders of these colonised nations made efforts to imbibe the feeling of nationalism among the fellow citizens of the nation that led to the mass struggle against the colonial masters and finally led to the independence of the nation.
  • A nation is generally formed by the groups and states sharing common interests, beliefs and aspirations of its members. A nation comes into existence when large sections of people share some common interests associated with their security, existence, development and other things. For example, in India different sections of the people shared common interests against the exploitative rule of the British that led to the combined efforts of the people to gain independence. Nehru wrote in his book that ancient India was a land of diversity where people from different sections reside but with the feeling of unity.
  • Despite the political and economic challenges that the nation has faced over its hundreds of years of history
    it has been able to maintain its unity. Talking about the rich cultural past and the unity of ancient India he was trying to generate the feeling of nationalism among the Indians so that they can fight against the British.
  • The common past and the inhabitation of the people on a particular territory plays a significant role in the development of national identity. The people residing on the same territory develops a sense of collective being and shared mutual interest with each other.
  • The common political ideas shared by the people lays the foundation for the creation of a larger political
    community or a nation state.
  • The members of the political community are bound by the common sets of obligations in terms of rights and liberties granted to the people of the state. It also made the citizens realise the political rights of their fellow beings which is important for the survival of the nation state.
  • The majority of the prominent religions of the world are diverse and have accommodated themselves with the other religious identities and even with the different sects within their own religions.
  • A common religious identity possesses a threat for the diverse society and develop chances for the creation of an authoritative regime and oppressive society. Most of the nation states are culturally diverse and contain groups of people having diversity in language, customs, beliefs and many other things. Forcing a common culture can lead to the rise in tensions among the different groups of people.
  • During the nineteenth century the notion of one state and one culture started to gain prominence. After the
    World War I, the treaty of Versailles made efforts to redraw the boundaries of several states on the basis of their ethnicity. However, the idea of one culture one state could not be completely implemented.
  • There was large scale migration of people from one place to another for the implementation of the vision of
    one culture and one state. It led to the loss of the homes of large number of people. Several hundreds of people became victim of communal violence as well.
  • The governments all around the world have tried to make efforts to satisfy the requirements of different cultural and ethnic groups residing within its territories. However, in some cases they are successful and in some they are not.
  • The government should ensure equal rights and opportunities for all the groups living within the nation. In some cases they should grant regional autonomy to different ethnic groups. For example in India, many of the areas in the North East are autonomous and the local leaders exhibit control over them. This way the separatist tendencies get reduced.