How is a nation different from other forms of collective belonging?
Nation is, to a great extent, an 'imagined community' held together by the collective beliefs, aspirations and imaginations of its members. It is based on certain assumptions like shared beliefs, common history, common territory, shared political ideals and common political identity that people construct about the collective whole with which they identify themselves. Unlike family its members are not linked with face-to-face relation. It is different from clans and other kinship groups as it is not based common descent. It is different from any lingual group as it is not based on a common language nor is it like a religious group as it does not share any common religion.
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 to national self-determination means seeking the right by cultural groups to govern themselves and determine their future
development as a nation.
The idea of national self-determination led to the formation of nation-state. As in case of Europe after First World-War, the countries
were formed on the basis of culture they shared. It helped these groups to determine their future development path and to govern
This idea is also a challenge to the formation of nation-state as it is impossible to have one culture in a nation-state. It is impossible
to ensure that each cultural group could achieve political independence and statehood. Examples for the same could be the mass
migrations that took place after the re-organisation of state boundaries in Europe to maintain cultural homogeneity.
“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.
Neither descent, nor language, nor religion or ethnicity can claim to be a common factor in nationalisms all over the world.
Illustrate with suitable examples the factors that lead to the emergence of nationalist feelings.
The factors that lead to the emergence of nationalist feelings are:
Shared beliefs - This refers to the collective identity and vision for the future of a group that aspires to have an independent political
Common history - The citizens of a nation-state share a common history.
Common territory - It shares a common land or territory on which the people have been living for a long period of time. Thus,
territory is an important component of unity.
For example, Indians identify themselves with the distinctive geographical features of the Indian subcontinent.
Shared political ideals - Citizens of a nation-state share a vision of the kind of state they want to build.
Common political identity - The citizens share a common political identity irrespective of their religious, linguistic groups.
For example, a Sikh from Punjab, a Muslim from Uttar Pradesh and a Hindu from Karnataka share a common political identity of
being Indian irrespective of their different religious and linguistic groups.
How is a democracy more effective than authoritarian governments in dealing with conflicting nationalist aspirations?
What do you think are the limitations of nationalism?
The limitations of nationalism can be cited as: