A Sense of Belonging: My Personal Experience
There is frequent debate on nationalism and patriotism, their so called bad effect or malaise on a globalised society. Critics go on to say the world wars were fought, millions died, properties damaged and the civilisation was ravaged because of a narrow outlook springing out of nationalism.
In my opinion such a thinking is narrow by itself. Is it not true that light radiates from the sun, a point source in the space. Similarly, we too are sources of goodwill, love, fellow feeling, peace and brotherhood. When such feelings dry up, the result is disastrous.
I shall explain my point with a small example. In my class there were two sections. When we a play a game of football the players of each section play their best to gain supremacy. When our class clashes against another class, the players who fought against eah other the other day come together to give a great show. The bitterness of our two sections melts away. When our school plays a match against another school, all the players of our school are together. When our district schools play against another district, we, the contenders in a previous game, are together. And finally when our state plays against another state, all the state playes come together to make a team. It goes on and on... The sense of belonging starts from a small entity and slowly and steadily encompasses larger and larger entities and finally the nation. Recollect the statement of Leander Paes when he plays for India in Davis Cup matches, 'It gives me a different feeling when I play for my country. I get charged up.' And along with him millions who watch the match are also charged up.
To sum up, first I belonged to Section A of Class X, then to Class X, then to the School. Gradually the perimeter increases. I belong to the district, next to the state. Finally, I represent the country. My sense of belonging is slowly increasing, finally attaining a national outlook. There is no conflict in my mind. The player in me is getting larger and larger. The sense of team spirit is growing, too.
Can anyone find any malaise in such feelings? Then why nationalism is decried? Globalisation is a loose term. It speaks and deals more with economy than imbibing a sense of belonging. It is an indirect economic colonisation where richer nations wish to control the poorer parts on the globe.
Nationalism is against the interest of the concept of economic colonialism. If a country's government is working for the welfare of its people, it will not collude with the external players to loot the nation's wealth. Here comes a clash in interests. The foreign players wish to influence the local administration by bribing and showing a variety of favours. People who love their nation will not fall prey to such temptations.
However, in a country like ours where the policy makers unfortunately show a lack of commitment and bat for the outsiders these days, progress has been lopsided. The rich go away with cakes and the poor struggles in the dust. In the name of rationalism the age-old traditions are thrown into thin air. The sense of belonging is strangely missing.
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Dr. Kumarendra Mallick
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