I am a nationalist because, I am a contextual being. The term context attained wider denotations and deeper connotations in the ecological frames of thought. Though, ecology is a new term for the euro-centric modes of thinking, it has been the part and parcel of the Indian thought from the very beginning because, the Indian rishis could see the role of a piece of dust in the origin and development of the universe. The context in ecology includes the geological, geographical factors along with the organic and inorganic manifestations and their behavioral patterns based on the social, political, economic, literary, artistic, religious, intellectual, emotional, theories and practices. The development of Eco philosophy paved the way for the perception of man as an integral part of the universe and aired the view that to consider man as a separate entity competent to play the role of the master of universe is a foolish notion. The contexts of humans may be changing from place to place and time to time. Hence, a person who lives in Europe may not be able to understand the spiritual content of the Himalaya mountains as it is experienced by an Indian. The river Ganga is more than a flowing waterbody to an Indian, but the river Thames need not be spiritual entity for the British. Therefore, the words nation and nationality have been defined in terms with the context everywhere. Hence, there must be divergent perceptions regarding the nationality of the people living in different places in the world amidst the similarities shared by all, irrespective of contextual variations.
The term nation has often been defined as a large body of people, associated with a particular territory. The people of that territory are conscious of its unity based on cultural context, language, history, ethnicity, and a mode of governance. The governance need not be a government of the choice of the majority people of the territory. The minority groups can form governments with or without the consent of the majority in a nation. The colonial governments, formed by the colonial masters and the invaders, who overpowered the territories by force, did not enjoy the consent of the majority, but could form the governments and rule the territories for centuries, in the Indian context. The Islamist invaders conquered and ruled India for six hundred years and the Christian-centric Europeans established their rule for two hundred years. The Islamicists and the Europeans did not share or subscribe the Indian nationality but they could form governments in Indian territories. The colonial masters and the Islamic invaders, who form governments in foreign countries, including India, ritualistically ridiculed the nationality of the natives.
There can be nations predominantly based on religious beliefs as, in the case of Vatican City, where the regime follows theocratic mode of governance, endorsing the authority of the state religion. The religious nationality of Vatican has been extended to the all parts of the world, where the people belonging to the catholic faith reside. The members of the Catholic community all over the world are proud of their Christian-Catholic nationality, despite their deep-rooted faith in the ethnic nationality of the country in which they live. Most of the states in the Arabian Peninsula share the unconditional faith in the revelations of prophet Mohammed and propagate the Islamic religion as the last resort of man on earth. The regimes in the Islamic Arabian countries are both theocratic and monarchic. They follow theocracy because, they try to rule the state, for and on behalf of the almighty Allah and strictly in accordance with the will and pleasure Allah as revealed to the prophet Mohammed. Hence, they could not permit other religions to establish their shrines in the land of Allah because, they believe that all religions other than Islam, commit blasphemy in one way or other. Blasphemy, according to their faith, is a crime against God which deserves capital punishment. So, the Islamic theocratic monarchy, by nature, is incapable to believe that universe is a multitude.
Though, they share the common religious beliefs, the Arab countries adopt different norms for the formation of nations based on the ethnic differences and the clannish traditions which do not permit them to accommodate a person belonging to other clans. However, whatever be the ethnic differences and the clannish traditions, those who share the Islamic religion lay their faith in the unalterable fundamental principles of Islam. The Muslims all over the world believe that Mohammed is the last prophet and the messenger of God. The almighty Allah, revealed his words through the angel Gabriel to Mohammed as the chosen prophet by God. Mohammed collected and preserved the words of God in text named Quran, the last word of God on earth for man. The Quran contains the aphorisms of the ultimate truth and all other religious texts have been invalidated after the revelation of Quran. Hence, they commonly share that, Quran is the only one authentic religious text on earth, Allah is the only one God, Islam is the only true religion, all other religious faiths are untrue and commit the sin of blasphemy for one reason or other. They also believe that all human beings have to face the last judgement in the trial court of the almighty God. These beliefs constitute the basic tenets of the Arabian Islamic nationality. The Muslims all over the world share the same Arabian nationality over and above their ethnic nationality.
The word nation is originated in Latin language and it means that of a place of birth of something. In the context of the euro-centric political philosophy, birth of place means the birth of place of the human beings excluding all other creations. As, the primacy has been given to man because they believe that man should be the measure all things, they cannot accept the fact that, a place is a space-time entity consisting of organic and inorganic manifestations in their macro and micro forms, of a particular territory surrounded by specific boundaries. Since, the territory is a place providing shelter to all manifestations then, it is not logically correct to define the term nation in anthropocentric point of view because, the word nation includes non-humans also. So, it is not appropriate to define the term nation as a place exclusively meant for a body of human beings, naturally born, and brought up, in a particular territory. Moreover, the human beings cannot live in an exclusive place as, they can live only as an inclusive part of the communion of phenomena in a piece of land. The communion of all phenomena which exist in a particular place, as it has already been explained is known as the context in which a man lives.
Each phenomenon plays specific roles, well-known and not easily known, to maintain the context. Any phenomenon, which fails to play the destined role in the context can create imbalance in the context as a whole because, every phenomenon in the nature is connected to one another, both internally and externally. They altogether function as an indivisible and integrated whole and it is known as the context in ecology. Therefore, the term context, in ecology means the inclusive whole consisting of geographical features, geological factors, the biotic and non-biotic creations, societal norms which regulates customs and rituals, socio-cultural and religious beliefs etc. which altogether functions as an indivisible whole. Hence, context, according to ecological interpretation, is a complex entity. The perfect balance, which is being kept in the action and interaction of all the phenomena, is the essence of ecological harmony. Hence, human beings cannot take a unilateral decision and play an exclusive role in determining the fate of the globe. They have to be more humble to realize that, they are not the masters of the earth despite, the euro-centric religion, science and philosophy believe that man is a super being on earth. So, they have to understand the role of a piece of dust in the formation of human life on earth. Therefore, the term nation is to be defined in the perspective of ecology.
The eco-dimensions of nations, which attained significance in the present context, forced the humans to find a definition which includes the concerns of earth, water, air, fire, and space and all the forms manifestations which exist in space and time as part and parcel of the definition of a nation. The term Nation, in the ecological context, needs an extensive definition to incorporate the multiple denotations of innumerable manifestations in micro and macro forms and to include multi-dimensional connotations of them in the context in which they exist. Therefore, the term nation is a complex entity and its meaning can be understood only within the context of a territory in which a man lives. Each river, mountain, the weather conditions, along with the flora, and fauna of a particular territory plays unique role in the formation life patterns of the people who live in a context. For example, the Hindu population in general, consider the Ganga, as a sacred river because, they believe that a bath in the Ganga is capable to liberate a Hindu from the circle of life and death, which is the ultimate end of life on earth. Hence, for a Hindu, the Ganga is more than a river because it plays spiritual role in his life. The river Thames need not play such a role in the life of the British. Therefore, the manifestations like the river Ganga, the Mountain Himalaya etc., along with the other manifestations of this territory, play vital roles in the formation of the concept- Indian Nation in the mind of an Indian. So, in the ecological sense, there is nothing wrong in considering the Indian Nation as a cultural entity more than an exclusive political entity.
There are persons who argue that it is meaningless to believe in the boundaries of nations because, the very concept of boundary is against the idea of universal humanity. They believe that men are identical everywhere and any effort to separate man from his fellow men based on any belief is a wrong action. Bio-physically, bio-chemically, sociologically, and culturally human beings are alike throughout the universe. So, there are certain common features shared by humans all over the world. Therefore, they argue that, the concept of humanity is universal and men are united by this concept. They allege that, the ideas of territories, the conceptual prisons created by the vested interested groups based on their irrational beliefs to bifurcate and keep men in different compartments. They are pleased to imagine of universal men who are not limited by any barriers in the world. Unfortunately, those universal citizens are also in need of pass ports issued by the designated authority of their nation, which is limited by boundaries and legal systems of the concerned nation, to travel from one country to another. Though, it is an interesting and fanciful imagination of romantic minds, logically and practically, it is not possible even to imagine of a territory that is free from boundaries.
There is nothing in the world, which can be experienced by the sense organs and mind, that is not limited by the boundaries of time and space. Every manifestation in the universe is limited by space and time. Though, it is interesting to imagine of something which free from the limitation of space and time, our sense organs and mind are incapable to provide such an experience. So, our experience of a nation is always limited by the space and time in which we live. A nation that is absolutely free from space-time limitation is only an abstract mental construct which has nothing to do with our practical life. The basic elements of the universe may be identical everywhere, but permutations and combinations of the basic elements must be changing in tune with the changing context. Naturally the air, fire, water, earth, space of a person living in Indian context may be different from the context of a person who lives in some part of Europe. The rhythm of my life must be changing with the changing context. My patterns of life, including my food habits would be different from a European and my socio-cultural habits also changing in tune with the context in which I live. As, I am limited by the cultural boundaries of my context, it is not logically valid to imagine that the other human beings are not limited by his/her cultural boundaries. Since, the continents are limited by geographical and cultural boundaries, then it is illogical to imagine of a nation, which is not limited by its own unique boundaries of geography and culture.
The boundaries of India, as a nation, are also limited by the geographical and cultural factors. The geographic boundaries of India can be seen from the map of the nation, but the cultural boundaries of the nation can be understood only by grasping the essence of the Vedic literature because, the Vedas are the primary source of the Indian life patterns. Veda Vyasa, who edited the Vedic literature, concluded that, the experience of non-duality is the sum and substance of Indian culture. Non-duality is a philosophic doctrine which believes that, man is a multitude and everything within the universe is the indivisible part of its existence. Naturally, nobody and no-thing in the universe can be an enemy to man and nothing should be excluded as a foreign entity. Hence, the doctrine of non-duality never believes in the bifurcation of human experience into binaries like, body-mind, good-bad, god-man, sinner-saint, individual-society etc. This is the basis of the belief that truth is absolute and it can be known by all in many ways in accordance with the merit and ability of the person concerned. If, something is absolute by nature, then it can be known and interpreted in many ways is the basic logical dictum of the philosophical system of non-duality. The absolute truth in India has been known and interpreted in many ways ranging from uncompromising materialism of Charvaka system to the absolute non-dualism of the Advaidins. Therefore, pluralism has been admitted as the basic structure of Indian culture.
This is the philosophic background which helped India to accommodate all religions and ideologies originated in different parts of the world. We could provide shelter to Zoroastrianism when, the followers of that religion were persecuted by the Muslim invaders in Iran in the 7th century C E. We can be proud of that India is the only country where the Jews were not persecuted and we provided safe shelters to them. We provided space for the religions which came over here as the invaders and we received them with tolerance. The Indian culture make us to believe that the universe is a multitude and the plurality should be admitted as a reality. Therefore, we believe that, by existence of something, it means the peaceful co-existence of one and many together. The monocentric philosophical doctrines and the theological systems are incapable to afford to admit pluralism of any sort. The euro-centric ideologies prompted the Europeans to establish colonies in Asia and Africa with a specific aim of plundering the wealth of the colonies prelude to the eradication of the native culture. The theological doctrines of Abrahamic religions are also notorious for their intolerance to the idea of pluralism. However, the Europe changed a lot, along with the process of democratization occurred there, after the renaissance movement, French revolution, enlightenment, scientific revolution etc. The idea of democracy forced the Europe to admit the right of the other to dissent with the authority and the majority. So, they could realize that being different is not a crime. The renaissance and the reformative movements were instrumental for the change of belief in the Roman catholic church. They hesitatingly admit that there can be many forms of Christianity instead of the only one form of Catholic church.
There are theological and political systems which do not believe in pluralism. The followers of these systems believe in the monolithic structure of thought and practice as the ‘only one’ valid way of life pattern. The Islam by nature is a monolithic religion because, it believes in one God, one text, one prophet, one mode of life pattern. Its theology propagates the idea that Islam is the only one true and valid religion and all other religions are invalid and untrue for one reason or the other. They believe that, all religions except Islam committed blasphemy in one way or other. Further, they believe and propagate that, being the true and valid religion God empowers Islam, to eradicate all untrue and invalid religions. They also think that they have the right to apply physical force those who refuse to replace their religion by Islam. So, they preach that, it is the duty of the true Muslim to convert non-Muslims to Islam by fair and foul means, as they admit that, jihad, the war in the name of God, is a valid form of religious ritual. They believe that the act of conversion is a war being done for and on behalf of God and the God will reward those who slay and get slain in the act of war of conversion for God. All those who engage in jihad would be ensured a berth in the heaven by God.
They further preach that, a true Muslim should dedicate oneself for the establishment of ‘Darul-Islam’, a pan Islamic world order because, in accordance with their belief, a Muslim can lead a true Islamic life only in a world that is being overwhelmed by the Islamic faith. Since, it is the primary duty of the Muslims to lead an Islamic life, they must work for the establishment of pan-Islamic kingdom. Since, a non-Muslim refuse to obey the commands of the ‘only one God’ to follow the true religious path then, he should be considered as an enemy to God and Islam. Naturally, they propagate that, a non-Muslim, whether he is a Hindu, a Jew, or a Christian, cannot be considered as a friend but as an enemy to Islam. Since, an enemy to Islam commits blasphemy and a person who commits blasphemy deserves capital punishment then, the non-Muslims should be killed then and there, wherever a Muslim happens to see them. Therefore, a non-Muslim should not be a brother to a Muslim as, the one who shares the Islamic faith alone is the natural brother to a Muslim. So, a Muslim who lives in a faraway foreign country is a natural brother to a Muslim than a non-Muslim who lives very near to him because, according to their faith, all Muslims share common faith, common law, common customs, common rituals and common mode of life all over the world. Therefore, a Muslim naturally thinks of a nationality based on religion which crosses over the geographical and cultural boundaries of a nation in which they live. In this sense, a Muslim believes in Islamic-internationalism which is free from national boundaries.
The communists also believe in internationalism rather than nationalism. The communist international, more popularly known as ‘Comintern’, was founded in1919, by Lenin, the then time chief executive of the communist party of USSR and the head of the revolutionary government. It was a movement intended to establish an international soviet kingdom as a transition stage to complete the abolition of state, as dreamt by Karl Marx, by overthrowing the bourgeoisie governments all over the world, through violent blood shed revolution, if necessary. Joseph Stalin dissolved the Comintern in 1943 to eliminate the ill-feelings of his allies in the world war 2 and to ensure their wholehearted cooperation in the war. Marxism, the basic philosophy of the communist party is based on a set of ideas which cannot be altered in any condition. According to the Marxist faith, the dialectical and historical materialism, the core idea of Marxism, is the only scientifically proven ideology and all other systems of thought are equally unscientific and untrue. All philosophical systems of the world, except Marxism, only tried to interpret the world unscientifically but Marxism is the only system of thought capable to change the world scientifically. Since, the application of the ideology is capable to change the world and the change in the world can be practically seen, as in the case of the application of the theories of physical science then, there is no doubt that Marxism attains the status of science.
The dialectical method, as it has been accepted by Marxism, believes in the mode of functioning of the ‘thesis, antitheses, and synthesis’ model. This mode of thought process was developed by Hegel and Marx adopted it as the logical model of his philosophy. The synthesis immediately turns to a thesis and automatically there would be an antithesis and the process goes to ultimate synthesis. There is no chance for a compromise between the thesis and the antithesis because thesis and antithesis are basically contradictories. Naturally, the thesis and antithesis would be in constant war. The basic issue of the Hegelian dialectics is that, it defines freedom as the necessity to obey the command of the absolute, not as the right of a person to make a choice of his free will. According to Marxist faith, man is a thesis and nature is an antithesis and the constant war between the two creates history. The theory of class war, which justifies the constant war between the classes in a class society, has been considered as the crux of Marxism. By class society it means of a society consisting of various economic groups. In accordance with the Marxist belief,the entire society is divided into two basic political classes namely, haves and have nots. These basic classes in a society have been formed on the basis of the economic interest of each class. The class of haves enjoys everything including wealth, power, position, fame etc. in society and they are determined to protect their economic interest by fair and foul means.
The class of have nots, on the contrary have nothing to possess except the slavery and the resultant chains. The have nots have been exploited constantly by the haves in a class society. In terms of quantity, the class of haves constitute lesser number of people while the class of have notes constitute the larger number. It also believes that the united force of the larger quantity of have nots can overthrow the lesser number of haves in the constant class war between the two classes which ends in the physical destruction of the haves. Therefore, it believes that, the history of human society is the history of class struggle which ultimately ends in the victory of the have nots all over the world. Hence, all the nations, except the USSR, would face their defeat and destruction in the class struggle to accept the victory of the communist states and ultimately there would be only one world order led by the single ideology. No doubt it would be a monolithic universe ruled by Marxism and there would be no other ideology than Marxism. They dreamt that the society, which emerges after the class war, would be classless society that would be free from all type of binaries. However, the unconditional faith in the Marxism could not save the communist kingdoms is the irony of the present history.
Further, they believe that the class character of haves and have nots does not permit them to compromise with the class enemies. Since, they engage in constant war then, either they would kill or be killed. Hence, the primary duty of the member of the class of have nots is to fight and finish the members of the class of haves. So, a person who belong to the class of the haves can never be the friend of the member of the class of the have nots. The member of the class of the have nots shares his comradery with another comrade who need not be his neighbor. Naturally, it is not the boundaries of the nation, which determines the friendship and enmity of the people in a class society. It is the class character and the class enmity determine the friends and foes. So, a person who lives very near to another person cannot be his friend unless both share the identical class interest. Therefore, an Indian communist gets his natural friend from USSR because the USSR man is a communist while, the next-door neighbor to him cannot be his comrade because as he is a non-communist. So, the communists argue that there is no meaning in the nation and national character and what is relevant is the class character. A communist cannot get free from war if he is not able to finish all non-communists from the face of earth through blood shed revolution. Naturally, a communist can lead a peaceful life on earth only after converting the whole world into the one communist international.
Then, it is logically correct, according to the faiths of both the Islamists and communists, to bat for internationalism, defeating the cause of national interest, to safeguard their ideological interest. It has been the habit of the Islamists and the communists to ridicule those who are proud of the tradition and heritage of their nation. They never hesitate to question the very idea of nation as they have little respect for the geographical boundaries and cultural heritage of a piece of land for the reasons already narrated. The Islamists believe in the religious internationality and the communists lay their faith in the communist internationalism. Both the Islamists and Communists cannot lay their faith in democracy because they are incapable to admit multitude. This is the specific logical reason for the existence of dictatorship of one form or other in Islamic and Communist countries. They theoretically enjoy dictatorship of their own choice because both Islam and Communism annihilate multitude. They accept pluralism in a democratic society only as tactical policy until they achieve their goal of the establishment of monolithic kingdoms based on their ideologies.
There is another set of people, consisting of self-proclaimed liberal lefts, also champions for the cause of internationalism because, they want to establish a world of their ideology and that world is free all types of barriers. The Islamists and the Communists endorsed internationalism based on monolithic determinism of their ideologies. The liberal lefts, on the contrary, place their arguments for internationalism, based on the theory of romantic anarchy, which they endorse as an escape route to protect themselves from the disillusionment originated from the disintegration of the Communist empire. The so-called liberal lefts are neither left nor liberal by taste and habit because, the figure of speech liberal left is an oxymoron. It is a fact that, a left by nature, is incapable to accept liberalism because, a left, by tradition, subscribes Marxian philosophy which cannot endorse liberalism. The liberals, on the contrary, do not subscribe monolithic Marxism because, they know that Marxism annihilates multitude which, the liberals consider as the crux of their belief. So, one can be either a left or a liberal not a liberal and left at the same time.
The disintegration of the Communist empire was a rude shock to the romantic lefts, who enjoyed the armchair mode of communism in their personal life. They were campaigning for a new model of communism, all over the world, mixing Marxism and Liberalism together, to satisfy their romantic fancies, ignoring the inherent logical inconsistencies of both the systems of thought. The figure of speech, liberal left, which is an oxymoron because, a liberal cannot be a left and a left cannot be a liberal, has been coined by the left for their convenience to escape from the sins of Stalinist genocide without sacrificing Marxism. Moreover, the liberal lefts who, champion for the cause of humanism, ignored the fact that a theory, which believes in the class conflict and the physical annihilation of one class by the other, by means of violent revolution, cannot accept humanism because, humanism believes in peace, harmony, consensus, and co-existence rather than violence, conflict, war, and destruction. They use the illogical and impractical combination of Marxism, liberalism, and humanism, as a temporary shelter, to escape from the utter disillusionment generated in their mind after the disintegration of Communism. They used the pseudo theory of liberal leftism to fight for the cause of those who engaged in the act of destabilization of the nations.
At present, the liberal lefts who act as the advocates of the human right activists. They bat for the rights of Maoists who dedicate to finish the class enemy, fanatics determine to slay the enemy of their religion, terrorists to kill the innocent people in the street, and separatists to disintegrate the nation in an indirect manner. They use verbal jugglery, instead of arguments, to justify their cause. They forget the fact that right to life is the basic human right and the Maoists, terrorists, and separatists never believe in the right of the other to live if, they feel that the other is their enemy. Those who believe in the theory that, the other can be killed if one thinks that the other is an enemy, have no moral or legal right to claim the protection under the umbrella of humanism. The basic doctrine of humanism is the unalterable faith in non-violence, peace, harmony, and co-existence. The fanatics and terrorists never believe in non-violence, peace, and harmony. How a person who believes that he has got the right to kill the other if he thinks that the other is his enemy, can claim the protection from getting punished? Why those who argue for the accused, forget the human rights of the victim? How can the state ensure protection from punishment to such persons who dedicate to kill the other whenever they get a chance to do so? Can a state be permitted to provide protection to persons, who dedicate to kill the other and waiting for chances to do it, at the cost of the peace-loving citizens?
There are many reasons, for those who believe in Internationalism and oppose the very idea of nationalism, to justify their arguments. The Islamic theology and the Marxist political philosophy advocates Internationalism because, their ideology, logically, never permit them to accept the idea of a nation as a distinct entity. Both the Islamic and Marxian ideologies believe in the super-power of their ideology to survive over the contextual barriers of the nation. If, Islamist theology and Marxian philosophy survive over the universe as the two theories then, they would fight each other for the ultimate survival finishing the other, as it happens in the communist China at present. The communist China never permits Islam to keep their religious identity and act accordingly. Nation is a contextual entity. The context of a nation is not constituted of the human beings alone. It is not a dead entity but a living process constituted of the organic and inorganic manifestations belonging to a piece of land having specific geographical, geological, cultural, religious, literary values, artistic tastes, laws, regulations, customs, societal practices etc. to formulate the concept of a nation. Therefore, it is not possible to deny the national identity, logically and practically. As an Indian, in my case, I cannot be an internationalist denying my national identity and I am proud of being an Indian.
(The author is an academic, writer and orator)