India has been a nationalistic country (of various degrees) for centuries. Although India was ruled by multiple kings in ancient times, the whole subcontinent was always referred to as a single entity by the name of Bharatvarsha, Hindustan, Indians among other names. The diversity of multiple cultures, languages, religions thrived in India like nowhere else in the world. Battles were fought over the rest of the world (especially Western and Central Asia) for the supremacy of one religion over others. The conversion of people of other faiths was (still is) one of the key aspects of Abrahamic religions.
In the process, many ancient traditions, cultures became extinct (Pagans). Many of these persecuted people took shelter in India (Parsis, Jews, Syrian Christians, etc.). The key difference between Bharat (India) and other nations was the Dharmic “religions” (actual Hindi or Sanskrit translation of religion doesn’t exist but I am using the term to explain things in today’s context). Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc.) don’t rely on a single book as the ultimate source of God’s revelations. Neither do they say that their path is the best path or that there is only one single path to God. Hell, many of the Dharmic philosophies don’t even bother with the existence of God (Vaisheshika school of thought practised materialism 1700 years before the European Renaissance). The multiplicity of paths is the underlining feature of Dharmic traditions.
That’s why Hindus worship a plethora of deities and Gods in every form possible (though the meaning of God in Dharmic traditions is very different than Abrahamic traditions). Maha Kali, Laxmi, Saraswati, Vishnu, Varaha, Matysa, Krishna, Jagannath, Shiva, Bramha, Hanuman, Ram, Durga, Vaishnav Devi, Indra, Agni, Surya, Cow, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Guru Nanak to Sai Baba, Moinuddin Chishti Dargah in Ajmer and Portuguese Churches in Goa. Yes, Hindus visit in large numbers mosques and churches and not only do they visit but they also pray and respect their traditions equally as theirs. It is hard to imagine Christians visiting and praying at Dwarkadheesh and very hard to imagine Muslims praying at Mata Vaishnav Devi. I have got no problem with that. I am just highlighting the underline difference between Dharmic and Abrahamic traditions. Dharmic traditions allow and embrace the multiplicity of paths, Abrahamic traditions don’t.
Why am I discussing Dharmic and Abrahamic religions? The reason is simple. To understand the Indian nationalism and clearly differentiate it from any other distorted definitions or understanding of nationalism you might have in your mind (there are always idiots who start comparing nationalistic emotions to Nazi Germany). Modern Indian Nationalism (shaped over a century after 1857 having its seeds in the Maratha empire) is deeply shaped by Dharmic philosophies. Swami Vivekanand was the key person who reignited the confidence of Indians in their cultures, traditions. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, etc. reformed the Indian society from the clutches of superstitions and unDharmic practices with the help of ancient Dharmic philosophies.
Rani Laxmibai, Khudi Ram Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Annie Besant, Lala Lajpat Rai, S. C. Bose, Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, Veer Savarkar, M. K. Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, etc. were all nationalists. They had vastly different political ideologies and religious beliefs. However, they all wanted a strong, united, free, independent India. Bhagat Singh was a true nationalist (despite being a communist) and he sacrificed his life for our nation. All the major nationalistic leaders always stressed on the concept of equality of religions. “Secularism” has always been a key aspect of Dharmic traditions and then Indian nationalism. Unfortunately, Britishers and enemies of Indian nationalism succeeded in dividing India.
Summarizing the essence of Indian nationalism in a few points:
- India’s unity, integrity and sovereignty is of utmost importance and anyone posing a danger to any one of these should be treated as an enemy of the nation (such ideas are reflected in our constitution where even preventive arrests are allowed in cases where any individuals or groups pose threat to India’s unity, integrity and sovereignty).
- Bharat Mata above one’s own religious beliefs meaning India comes first before my religion, family and society. Symbols of India such as the Indian flag, national anthem, national song (Vande Mataram), national emblem, etc. of utmost importance and significance.
- Owning, celebrating, respecting diverse Indian cultures, languages, beliefs, history, traditions and nationalistic heroes of the past and present (Chhatrapati Shivaji, S.C. Bose, Atal Bihari, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, etc.) while acknowledging, correcting our mistakes.
- Serving people of the country irrespective of their identity (religion, language, caste, etc.). All that matters is he/she is an Indian or his/her interests aren’t against India. The rest doesn’t matter.
- While Indian nationalism puts India first, it doesn’t do it at the cost of other nation’s personal interests and their people (unless that nation’s interests are against India).These points are arranged in order of their importance. If you still have any doubts what’s true Indian nationalism, all you have to do is follow what Indian soldiers believe, how they live, how they work. Indian soldiers are the epitome of the purest form of Indian nationalism.
With these nationalistic ideas in mind, now let us look at the enemies of Indian nationalism. In the end, I will explain why we need nationalism (this holds true for any other democratic country).
Disclaimer: In listing the enemies of Indian nationalism, my focus will be on the specific ideas of individuals or institutions. This doesn’t mean everyone associated with those individuals or institutions are also enemies of Indian nationalism. A similar analogy would be a critique of Jihad in Islam. That critique doesn’t imply every Muslim is a terrorist.
Enemies of Indian nationalism:
- The Left: This is true for almost all major democratic countries in the world. Be it the USA, the UK, any country in Europe or India (Japan and South Korea might be exceptions but I am not expert in their politics). The key aspect of Left-wing politics is dividing societies based on their identities, using unscientific literature and statistics and using the backwardness of a group as an excuse for activism. Left-wing politics sell rosy ideas and empathetic words like equality, equity, diversity, multiculturalism, human rights, religious freedom, women rights (feminism), LGBT rights, etc. Although our constitution has already provided such rights to every citizen of our country. But they always talk about a group of people facing discrimination in Indian society.
What they do is they cherry pick an incident, say the death of a person in a fight for a seat in the train (actual incident). Now, the died person turned out to be Muslim. Boom. Articles after articles, prime times, youtube videos are being dedicated to this news piece. They make sure that people know that a Muslim died in the hands of a Hindu. They use such isolated incidents to term India “intolerant” without any per capita statistical analysis of crime data (look at the rape per 100,000 people by country, India is way below in the list contrary to what media would portray: Rape statistics). Now when a Hindu dies in the hands of a Muslim. Nah, you might not recall even a single such incident reported in the mainstream media. But there are lots.
Political killings are common in Kerala and West Bengal but we don’t get to hear about them either. What’s the play of the left here? The Left wants to exploit the religious sentiments of Muslims, Christians or backwardness of Dalits and create a negative impression of India, especially in the minds of those groups. They will not succeed if they use the same trick with Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jews (all these groups are much smaller in numbers). The reason being these groups have collectively strong faith in India. It turns out that a large number of Muslims and Christians have faith in India and Dalits are joining army, police in large numbers. So the left are very desperate and in the process, you see horribly researched, misleading, propaganda articles in wire, scroll on a regular basis.
- Islamic institutions: (Only critiquing a section, doesn’t apply to every Islamic institution).
It is a well-known fact that mosques were used in large numbers during the persecution and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir. The minority religious institutions have a fundamental right in our constitution that is not even provided to Hindus. Minority communities can manage their institutions independent of the government. What happens is there are hardcore mullahs running a large number of such madrasas. Their heroes are Aurangzeb, Babur, Ghazni who had looted and attacked Indian culture. These madrasas and mosques try to control Muslim masses and create anti-India sentiments.
Many Islamic universities also do the same. Why they do it? The reason I have already discussed in the starting paragraphs. Islamic society is still highly conservative and secluded and most of the Imams don’t want Muslim populations to intermingle with other cultures and faiths. They also see nationalism as a competition for Islam. This again is very much true for Europe where a large population of Muslim migrants are failing to integrate with the society causing tensions. Fortunately, a large number of Indian Muslim populations are very much true Indian and believers of Indian nationalism. However, sections of Islamic institutions still remain a threat.
- Christian Missionaries: (Again only critiquing a section, doesn’t apply to every Christian institution).
The biggest aim of missionary is to convert as many people of other faiths as possible. They have been in this business since the mid-1800s. Missionaries tried to even convert Akbar during the Mughal rule! They have massive financial backings from the Western Churches. They are smarter in their approach and have developed a plethora of techniques. They deliver their messages in local languages, use local deities (only in the beginning) to gain the trust of the people and then try to convert as many as possible. Amongst their own community, they subvert the symbols of Indian nationalism and try to drive people away from their ancestral cultures.
If you visit Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, you will hardly find a temple of the local tribal deities of tribal communities. This is sharply in contrast to the western Christian and the atheist population who have largely become liberal and cool with other faiths and beliefs (not in entirety though: Christians Protest Peaceful Hare Krishna Parade!). So why missionaries see Indian nationalism as a threat? Because Indian nationalism uses symbols from India’s history and has some Dharmic influence. They also see Nationalism as competition for Christianity.
Both the Islamic and the Christian institutions have these apprehensions against Indian nationalism because both these faiths struggle with the multiplicity of faiths, beliefs and paths. Also, they see the influence of Dharmic culture in Indian nationalism (which is true and inevitable as Dharmic traditions are the bedrock of cultures and faiths of the subcontinent). Fortunately, again there is no shortage of Christian role models of Indian nationalism.
One key thing which these institutions miss is that religion and cultures aren’t the same. Indonesia’s Muslims are much closer in their cultures to Indian Hindus then they are to Saudi or even Pakistani Muslims. They own their cultures, traditions, history.
- Academia-Media: (Similar disclaimer as above)
By academia, I mean humanities, arts, literature, history. You get the idea. Arts-humanities academia and institutions are massively dominated by leftists, Marxists, communists. To add to that, their intolerance of views of other ideologies make the voices of other groups in these institutions tiny and insignificant. JNU, the human rights council, UNHRC, UNESCO, amnesty, Oxfam, etc. The list is very long.
I will list the example of “historians”. The Marxist historians such as R.S. Sharma, Romila Thapar, Bipan Chandra made a petition in the Supreme court saying that there was no Hindu temple at the Babri Masjid site. This was all before the archaeological survey. If they were truthful, unbiased, objective historians, they would have waited for archaeological study to give their opinions (archaeological study proved that there was a temple-like structure beneath the mosque). Indian history taught in NCERT books are so bad, incomplete and misleading. I mean they dedicate large chapters to Mughals but fail to mention the destruction of temples and persecution of people of other faiths by these Islamic rulers. And they summarize the Maratha rule in just 2 pages. You will hardly learn about Vijaynagar, Cholas, Pandyas, Cheras in details as required. Forget about Lalitaditya Muktapida, Ahoms. And then they employ their identity based Marxist analysis of history too.
What’s history? History is an interpretation of past texts, records, accounts, archaeological surveys to create a story that reflects our past societies, cultures, people and rulers. The interpreter here obviously plays a big part. Now, imagine the interpreters writing history with the same political ideologues. At the same time, dis-honouring other historians who don’t agree with their narrative. This is the state of the study of history in India. If you truly want to understand what Babur believed in, just read his own words or Babarnama (which will obviously glorify Babur but you might get an idea of his racist, bigoted views which no historian will tell you about). This kind of bias in academia is again reflected in gender-studies, group studies, caste studies, etc. And a lot of these studies are highly mediocre, unscientific and almost useless.
This, however, is the stronghold of the left and they use academia and media institutions to weaken Indian nationalism in every way possible. BBC, The Hindu, Quint, Wire, Scroll, NDTV, JNU are some of these institutions.
- Half-educated morons: And then, there are the so-called “liberals” with hardly any knowledge but an agenda to be on the opposite side of the Right. So, what they do? They oppose nationalism because for them, its the sign of liberalism, critical thinking and coolness. A lot of feminists, comedians, urban kids, west imitators fall in this category. Unfortunately, there is a market for morons also and sometimes morons rise to a position of power and many times, such positions are handed over to them (Rahul Gandhi). The situation is even worse in the USA where there is Antifa, crazy crybaby feminists, idiot celebrities and talk show hosts, insanity over the liberal-conservative divide. Many celebrities such as Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, J. K. Rowling fall in this category too. These celebrities might be very good in their professions but their political views and commentaries are downright moronic (Prakash Raj, Kamal Hassan).
- The Right: The right is usually associated with nationalist feelings. However, a certain section of the right tends to overuse the nationalistic arguments and sometimes undermine fair criticism of a person or an institution. For example, a person critiquing Narendra Modi’s policies termed “anti-national”. What it does is it undermines the weight of the word “anti-national”. Anti-nationals does exist in India (JNU students shouting slogans against India are anti-nationals, there is no doubt about that).
However, one must be careful in using the term as you might in the process distort the meaning of nationalism. Also, nationalism is independent of political ideologies. Nationalism is much bigger than any political ideology. It’s even stronger than religious beliefs for a true nationalist. A political party though can claim to be nationalist has no right to distort the meaning of true nationalism, I underlined in the opening paragraphs.
- Enemies of India: This is no brainer. Pakistan, many institutions of the west trying to control and undermine India, terrorists, Naxals, urban Naxals, separatist groups (insurgents in the North East), etc.
Why we need nationalism?
You might ask, we have been an independent nation for more than 71 years. Why we need nationalism now? For starters, one has to look no further than Europe right now. I would recommend “The strange death of Europe” by Douglas Murray on the subject. The anti-national, leftist policies of many European politicians have caused immense and irreparable damage to European societies. Rape per capita in Sweden is one of the highest in the world. Crimes are rampant in London. There are regular terrorist attacks, vast demographic transformations, the emergence of no-go zones. The shocking part is the cover-up by the media and politicians.
Rape cases make huge headlines in India. In the UK however, when a group of Pakistani origin Muslim men were convicted with raping hundreds of white British girls and children, the media tried to cover up the whole story and termed those rapists as Asians. Human rights and free speech were thrown out of the window and dissenters and nationalists such as Tommy Robinson were jailed, tortured, disowned for just speaking up. That is a very sad state of affairs. What actually happened is, after world war II, Europeans (especially Germans) lost their sense of nationalism and cultural pride and identity. Lack of nationalism is the biggest reason for the downfall of European societies, though people are realizing that now and nationalist sentiments are on the rise. Brexit, yellow vest movements are few such examples. On the other hand, nationalist European countries such as Russia, Hungary are doing fine amidst this migrant crisis (this requires a whole detailed essay and beyond the scope of the present article).
Loss of nationalism makes the culture, people and societies of that country highly vulnerable. In the name of humanity, and rosy words of politicians, academicians, journalists, nationals start compromising with things they shouldn’t (“Bharat tere tukde honge” is an uncompromisable statement). Rohingyas are given more importance than Kashmiri Pandits (largest number of Rohingya refugees in India are in Kashmir). A cartoon is more criticised than suicide-bombing by jihadists. The army is accused of rape, human rights violations without any proof (the Indian army has very high honour and ethics, more than any army in the world. If you watch their actions against stone-pelters, encounters in terrorists, go into the details of their operations, you’ll understand what I am talking about).
Chanting Bharat Mata, Vande Mataram suddenly becomes communal. Heroes like Shivaji Maharaj, S. C. Bose are undermined in our books. Thankfully, India’s unique form of nationalism (very different from Israeli, Russian, American nationalism) is deeply rooted in Indian society. From Arunachal to Gujarat, from Leh to Nicobar, India is full of true nationalists. With the internet revolution, nationalists are emerging in media as well which used to be the stronghold of left. Regional, Hindi, vernacular newspapers and news channels are nationalist in the majority (in contrast to the English media).
We have a nationalist leader as our PM. We have the most nationalist, patriotic army in the world. We have a large number of youths full of nationalist sentiments ready to serve the country. Indian nationalism bridges the divide between religion, caste, political beliefs, languages like no other beliefs in the world. It truly is a divine, inspiring, positive experience that has been and will be the biggest driver of the progress and strength of Indian society.
Originally published on my personal blog.