NCERT Textbook - Nationalism Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 11

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Nationalism Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Chapter 7
Nationalism
Overview
This chapter will introduce and discuss the ideas of nationalism and nation. Our
concern will be not so much to understand why nationalism has arisen, or what
functions it serves; rather our concern would be to think carefully about nationalism
and assess its claims and aspirations. After studying this chapter you should be
able to:
o understand the concepts of nation and nationalism.
o acknowledge the strengths and limitations of nationalism.
o appreciate the need for ensuring a link between democracy and nationalism.
2020-21
Page 2


Chapter 7
Nationalism
Overview
This chapter will introduce and discuss the ideas of nationalism and nation. Our
concern will be not so much to understand why nationalism has arisen, or what
functions it serves; rather our concern would be to think carefully about nationalism
and assess its claims and aspirations. After studying this chapter you should be
able to:
o understand the concepts of nation and nationalism.
o acknowledge the strengths and limitations of nationalism.
o appreciate the need for ensuring a link between democracy and nationalism.
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
98
7.1 INTRODUCING NATIONALISM
If we were to take a quick poll of what people commonly understand
by the term nationalism we are likely to get responses which talk
about patriotism, national flags, sacrificing for the country, and the
like. The Republic Day parade in Delhi is a striking symbol of Indian
nationalism and it brings out the sense of power, strength, as well as
diversity which many associate with the Indian nation. But if we try
to go deeper we will find that it is difficult to arrive at a precise and
widely accepted definition of the term nationalism. This need not
mean that we should abandon the effort.  Nationalism needs to be
studied because it plays such an important role in world affairs.
During the last two centuries or more, nationalism has emerged
as one of the most compelling of political creeds which has helped to
shape history. It has inspired intense loyalties as well as deep hatreds.
It has united people as well as divided them, helped to liberate them
from oppressive rule as well as been the cause of conflict and
bitterness and wars. It has been a factor in the break up of empires
and states. Nationalist struggles have contributed to the drawing
and redrawing of the boundaries of states and empires. At present a
large part of the world is divided into different nation-states although
the process of re-ordering of state boundaries has not come to an
end and separatist struggles within existing states are common.
Nationalism has passed through many phases. For instance, in
the nineteenth century Europe, it led to the unification of a number
of small kingdoms into larger nation-states. The present day German
and Italian states were formed through such a process of unification
and consolidation. A large number of new states were also founded
in Latin America. Along with the consolidation of state boundaries,
local dialects and local loyalties were also gradually consolidated into
state loyalties and common languages. The people of the new states
acquired a new political identity which was based on membership of
the nation-state. We have seen a similar process of consolidation
taking place in our own country in the last century or more.
 But nationalism also accompanied and contributed to the break
up of large empires such as the Austro-Hungarian and Russian
2020-21
Page 3


Chapter 7
Nationalism
Overview
This chapter will introduce and discuss the ideas of nationalism and nation. Our
concern will be not so much to understand why nationalism has arisen, or what
functions it serves; rather our concern would be to think carefully about nationalism
and assess its claims and aspirations. After studying this chapter you should be
able to:
o understand the concepts of nation and nationalism.
o acknowledge the strengths and limitations of nationalism.
o appreciate the need for ensuring a link between democracy and nationalism.
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
98
7.1 INTRODUCING NATIONALISM
If we were to take a quick poll of what people commonly understand
by the term nationalism we are likely to get responses which talk
about patriotism, national flags, sacrificing for the country, and the
like. The Republic Day parade in Delhi is a striking symbol of Indian
nationalism and it brings out the sense of power, strength, as well as
diversity which many associate with the Indian nation. But if we try
to go deeper we will find that it is difficult to arrive at a precise and
widely accepted definition of the term nationalism. This need not
mean that we should abandon the effort.  Nationalism needs to be
studied because it plays such an important role in world affairs.
During the last two centuries or more, nationalism has emerged
as one of the most compelling of political creeds which has helped to
shape history. It has inspired intense loyalties as well as deep hatreds.
It has united people as well as divided them, helped to liberate them
from oppressive rule as well as been the cause of conflict and
bitterness and wars. It has been a factor in the break up of empires
and states. Nationalist struggles have contributed to the drawing
and redrawing of the boundaries of states and empires. At present a
large part of the world is divided into different nation-states although
the process of re-ordering of state boundaries has not come to an
end and separatist struggles within existing states are common.
Nationalism has passed through many phases. For instance, in
the nineteenth century Europe, it led to the unification of a number
of small kingdoms into larger nation-states. The present day German
and Italian states were formed through such a process of unification
and consolidation. A large number of new states were also founded
in Latin America. Along with the consolidation of state boundaries,
local dialects and local loyalties were also gradually consolidated into
state loyalties and common languages. The people of the new states
acquired a new political identity which was based on membership of
the nation-state. We have seen a similar process of consolidation
taking place in our own country in the last century or more.
 But nationalism also accompanied and contributed to the break
up of large empires such as the Austro-Hungarian and Russian
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
99
empires in the early twentieth century in Europe as well as the
break-up of the British, French, Dutch and Portuguese empires in
Asia and Africa. The struggle for freedom from colonial rule by India
and other former colonies were nationalist struggles, inspired by the
desire to establish nation-states which would be independent of
foreign control.
The process of redrawing state boundaries continues to take
place. Since 1960, even apparently stable nation-states have been
confronted by nationalist demands put forward by groups or regions
and these may include demands for separate statehood. Today, in
many parts of the world we witness nationalist struggles that
threaten to divide existing states. Such separatist movements have
developed among the Quebecois in Canada, the Basques in northern
Spain, the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, and the Tamils in Sri Lanka,
among others. The language of nationalism is also used by some
groups in India. Arab nationalism today may hope to unite Arab
countries in a pan Arab union but separatist movements like the
Basques or Kurds struggle to divide existing states.
We may all agree that nationalism is a powerful force in the
world even today. But it is more difficult to arrive at agreement
regarding the definition of terms like nation or nationalism. What
is a nation? Why do people form nations and to what do nations
aspire? Why are people ready to sacrifice and even die for their
nation? Why, and in what way, are claims to nationhood linked to
claims to statehood? Do nations have a right to statehood or national
self-determination? Or can the claims of nationalism be met without
conceding separate statehood? In this chapter we will explore some
of these issues.
In this age of globalisation, the world
is shrinking. We are living in a global
village. Nations are irrelevant.
That’s not the case. Nationalism is still
relevant.  You can see this when Indian
team goes out to play cricket. Or when
you discover that Indians living abroad
still watch Bollywood films.
99
2020-21
Page 4


Chapter 7
Nationalism
Overview
This chapter will introduce and discuss the ideas of nationalism and nation. Our
concern will be not so much to understand why nationalism has arisen, or what
functions it serves; rather our concern would be to think carefully about nationalism
and assess its claims and aspirations. After studying this chapter you should be
able to:
o understand the concepts of nation and nationalism.
o acknowledge the strengths and limitations of nationalism.
o appreciate the need for ensuring a link between democracy and nationalism.
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
98
7.1 INTRODUCING NATIONALISM
If we were to take a quick poll of what people commonly understand
by the term nationalism we are likely to get responses which talk
about patriotism, national flags, sacrificing for the country, and the
like. The Republic Day parade in Delhi is a striking symbol of Indian
nationalism and it brings out the sense of power, strength, as well as
diversity which many associate with the Indian nation. But if we try
to go deeper we will find that it is difficult to arrive at a precise and
widely accepted definition of the term nationalism. This need not
mean that we should abandon the effort.  Nationalism needs to be
studied because it plays such an important role in world affairs.
During the last two centuries or more, nationalism has emerged
as one of the most compelling of political creeds which has helped to
shape history. It has inspired intense loyalties as well as deep hatreds.
It has united people as well as divided them, helped to liberate them
from oppressive rule as well as been the cause of conflict and
bitterness and wars. It has been a factor in the break up of empires
and states. Nationalist struggles have contributed to the drawing
and redrawing of the boundaries of states and empires. At present a
large part of the world is divided into different nation-states although
the process of re-ordering of state boundaries has not come to an
end and separatist struggles within existing states are common.
Nationalism has passed through many phases. For instance, in
the nineteenth century Europe, it led to the unification of a number
of small kingdoms into larger nation-states. The present day German
and Italian states were formed through such a process of unification
and consolidation. A large number of new states were also founded
in Latin America. Along with the consolidation of state boundaries,
local dialects and local loyalties were also gradually consolidated into
state loyalties and common languages. The people of the new states
acquired a new political identity which was based on membership of
the nation-state. We have seen a similar process of consolidation
taking place in our own country in the last century or more.
 But nationalism also accompanied and contributed to the break
up of large empires such as the Austro-Hungarian and Russian
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
99
empires in the early twentieth century in Europe as well as the
break-up of the British, French, Dutch and Portuguese empires in
Asia and Africa. The struggle for freedom from colonial rule by India
and other former colonies were nationalist struggles, inspired by the
desire to establish nation-states which would be independent of
foreign control.
The process of redrawing state boundaries continues to take
place. Since 1960, even apparently stable nation-states have been
confronted by nationalist demands put forward by groups or regions
and these may include demands for separate statehood. Today, in
many parts of the world we witness nationalist struggles that
threaten to divide existing states. Such separatist movements have
developed among the Quebecois in Canada, the Basques in northern
Spain, the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, and the Tamils in Sri Lanka,
among others. The language of nationalism is also used by some
groups in India. Arab nationalism today may hope to unite Arab
countries in a pan Arab union but separatist movements like the
Basques or Kurds struggle to divide existing states.
We may all agree that nationalism is a powerful force in the
world even today. But it is more difficult to arrive at agreement
regarding the definition of terms like nation or nationalism. What
is a nation? Why do people form nations and to what do nations
aspire? Why are people ready to sacrifice and even die for their
nation? Why, and in what way, are claims to nationhood linked to
claims to statehood? Do nations have a right to statehood or national
self-determination? Or can the claims of nationalism be met without
conceding separate statehood? In this chapter we will explore some
of these issues.
In this age of globalisation, the world
is shrinking. We are living in a global
village. Nations are irrelevant.
That’s not the case. Nationalism is still
relevant.  You can see this when Indian
team goes out to play cricket. Or when
you discover that Indians living abroad
still watch Bollywood films.
99
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
100
7.2  NATIONS AND NATIONALISM
A nation is not any casual collection of people. At the same time it is
also different from other groups or communities found in human
society. It is different from the family which is based on face-to-face
relationships with each member having direct personal knowledge
of the identity and character of others. It is also different from tribes
and clans and other kinship groups in which ties of marriage and
descent link members to each other so that even if we do not
personally know all the members we can, if need be, trace the links
that bind them to us. But as a member of a nation we may never
come face to face with most of our fellow nationals nor need we
share ties of descent with them. Yet nations exist, are lived in and
valued by their members.
It is commonly believed that nations are constituted by a group
who share certain features such as descent, or language, or religion
or ethnicity. But there is in fact no common set of characteristics
which is present in all nations. Many nations do not have a common
language, Canada is an example here. Canada includes English
speaking as well as French speaking peoples. India also has a large
number of languages which are spoken
in different regions and by different
communities. Nor do many nations have
a common religion to unite them. The
same could be said of other
characteristics such as race or descent.
What then constitutes a nation? A
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 which people
make about the collective whole with
which they identify. Let us identify and
understand some of the assumptions
which people make about the nation.
Identify any patriotic
song in your language.
How is the nation
described in this song?
Identify and watch
any patriotic films
in your language. How
has nationalism been
portrayed and its
complexities worked
out in these films?
LET’S DO IT
Do
2020-21
Page 5


Chapter 7
Nationalism
Overview
This chapter will introduce and discuss the ideas of nationalism and nation. Our
concern will be not so much to understand why nationalism has arisen, or what
functions it serves; rather our concern would be to think carefully about nationalism
and assess its claims and aspirations. After studying this chapter you should be
able to:
o understand the concepts of nation and nationalism.
o acknowledge the strengths and limitations of nationalism.
o appreciate the need for ensuring a link between democracy and nationalism.
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
98
7.1 INTRODUCING NATIONALISM
If we were to take a quick poll of what people commonly understand
by the term nationalism we are likely to get responses which talk
about patriotism, national flags, sacrificing for the country, and the
like. The Republic Day parade in Delhi is a striking symbol of Indian
nationalism and it brings out the sense of power, strength, as well as
diversity which many associate with the Indian nation. But if we try
to go deeper we will find that it is difficult to arrive at a precise and
widely accepted definition of the term nationalism. This need not
mean that we should abandon the effort.  Nationalism needs to be
studied because it plays such an important role in world affairs.
During the last two centuries or more, nationalism has emerged
as one of the most compelling of political creeds which has helped to
shape history. It has inspired intense loyalties as well as deep hatreds.
It has united people as well as divided them, helped to liberate them
from oppressive rule as well as been the cause of conflict and
bitterness and wars. It has been a factor in the break up of empires
and states. Nationalist struggles have contributed to the drawing
and redrawing of the boundaries of states and empires. At present a
large part of the world is divided into different nation-states although
the process of re-ordering of state boundaries has not come to an
end and separatist struggles within existing states are common.
Nationalism has passed through many phases. For instance, in
the nineteenth century Europe, it led to the unification of a number
of small kingdoms into larger nation-states. The present day German
and Italian states were formed through such a process of unification
and consolidation. A large number of new states were also founded
in Latin America. Along with the consolidation of state boundaries,
local dialects and local loyalties were also gradually consolidated into
state loyalties and common languages. The people of the new states
acquired a new political identity which was based on membership of
the nation-state. We have seen a similar process of consolidation
taking place in our own country in the last century or more.
 But nationalism also accompanied and contributed to the break
up of large empires such as the Austro-Hungarian and Russian
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
99
empires in the early twentieth century in Europe as well as the
break-up of the British, French, Dutch and Portuguese empires in
Asia and Africa. The struggle for freedom from colonial rule by India
and other former colonies were nationalist struggles, inspired by the
desire to establish nation-states which would be independent of
foreign control.
The process of redrawing state boundaries continues to take
place. Since 1960, even apparently stable nation-states have been
confronted by nationalist demands put forward by groups or regions
and these may include demands for separate statehood. Today, in
many parts of the world we witness nationalist struggles that
threaten to divide existing states. Such separatist movements have
developed among the Quebecois in Canada, the Basques in northern
Spain, the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, and the Tamils in Sri Lanka,
among others. The language of nationalism is also used by some
groups in India. Arab nationalism today may hope to unite Arab
countries in a pan Arab union but separatist movements like the
Basques or Kurds struggle to divide existing states.
We may all agree that nationalism is a powerful force in the
world even today. But it is more difficult to arrive at agreement
regarding the definition of terms like nation or nationalism. What
is a nation? Why do people form nations and to what do nations
aspire? Why are people ready to sacrifice and even die for their
nation? Why, and in what way, are claims to nationhood linked to
claims to statehood? Do nations have a right to statehood or national
self-determination? Or can the claims of nationalism be met without
conceding separate statehood? In this chapter we will explore some
of these issues.
In this age of globalisation, the world
is shrinking. We are living in a global
village. Nations are irrelevant.
That’s not the case. Nationalism is still
relevant.  You can see this when Indian
team goes out to play cricket. Or when
you discover that Indians living abroad
still watch Bollywood films.
99
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
100
7.2  NATIONS AND NATIONALISM
A nation is not any casual collection of people. At the same time it is
also different from other groups or communities found in human
society. It is different from the family which is based on face-to-face
relationships with each member having direct personal knowledge
of the identity and character of others. It is also different from tribes
and clans and other kinship groups in which ties of marriage and
descent link members to each other so that even if we do not
personally know all the members we can, if need be, trace the links
that bind them to us. But as a member of a nation we may never
come face to face with most of our fellow nationals nor need we
share ties of descent with them. Yet nations exist, are lived in and
valued by their members.
It is commonly believed that nations are constituted by a group
who share certain features such as descent, or language, or religion
or ethnicity. But there is in fact no common set of characteristics
which is present in all nations. Many nations do not have a common
language, Canada is an example here. Canada includes English
speaking as well as French speaking peoples. India also has a large
number of languages which are spoken
in different regions and by different
communities. Nor do many nations have
a common religion to unite them. The
same could be said of other
characteristics such as race or descent.
What then constitutes a nation? A
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 which people
make about the collective whole with
which they identify. Let us identify and
understand some of the assumptions
which people make about the nation.
Identify any patriotic
song in your language.
How is the nation
described in this song?
Identify and watch
any patriotic films
in your language. How
has nationalism been
portrayed and its
complexities worked
out in these films?
LET’S DO IT
Do
2020-21
Nationalism
Nationalism
Political Theory
101
Shared Beliefs
First, a nation is constituted by belief. Nations are not like mountains,
rivers or buildings which we can see and feel. They are not things
which exist independent of the beliefs that people have about them.
To speak of a people as a nation is not to make a comment about
their physical characteristics or behaviour. Rather, it is to refer to the
collective identity and vision for the future of a group which aspires
to have an independent political existence. To this extent, nations
can be compared with a team. When we speak of a team, we mean a
set of people who work or play together and, more importantly,
conceive of themselves as a collective group. If they did not think of
themselves in this way they would cease to be a team and be simply
different individuals playing a game or undertaking a task. A nation
exists when its members believe that they belong together.
Why dont you cheer for our team?
Dont you have any nationalist spirit?
I am as much a nationalist as anyone
else. I cast my vote; I pay my taxes and I
respect the laws of our country. I am also
proud to belong to this country.
History
Second, people who see themselves as a nation also embody a sense
of continuing historical identity. That is, nations perceive themselves
as stretching back into the past as well as reaching into the future.
They articulate for themselves a sense of their own history by drawing
on collective memories, legends, historical records, to outline the
continuing identity of the nation. Thus nationalists in India invoked
its ancient civilisation and cultural heritage and other achievements
to claim that India has had a long and continuing history as a
civilisation and that this civilisational continuity and unity is the
basis of the Indian nation. Jawaharlal Nehru, for instance, wrote in
2020-21
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