Sunday, June 25, 2006

The article definitely raises some interesting points, earlier i probably would have dismissed this article, now i think it is well worth a think over

Think it over

Patriot or Nationalist: What are you?
By M.S.N. Menon

Do we Hindus know the difference between patriotism and nationalism? More often, we do not. We ask in surprise: “What is the difference?”

Let me illustrate: Tagore was a nationalist. Jinnah was a patriot. Nehru was a nationalist. Iqbal was a patriot. To Tagore, India was a “living mother”. So she was to Vivekananda. But to Jinnah, she could be no “mother” of any kind.

Tagore wanted to be born in India “again and again.” That would be blasphemy in Islam. “With all her poverty, misery and wretchedness,” Tagore says, “I love India most.” Why? Because “it has been the haunt of our gods, the hermitage of our rishis, the nourishing mother of our forefathers.” Jinnah would have been horrified at these thoughts.

Yes, we Hindus have a special relation with India —with everything Indian. Which explains why we were nationalists ready to make the greatest sacrifices to liberate the country from foreign invaders. The minorities in this country may be good patriots, but they certainly have no “special” relation with India.

And we Hindus are bound together by an inner unity. This was not geographical unity or political unity, but cultural unity, says Nehru. Which is why it could not be broken up in a thousand years by foreign invaders. Hindu nationalism grew out of this seed-bed.

And this cultural unity was set by none other than Shankara, the greatest philosopher of Hinduism. In his brief but strenuous life, he demonstrated what constituted the culture of India and the cultural boundary of India.

Geographically, India is more or less of a unity. Politically, she has often been split, “but right from the beginning, culturally,” says Nehru, “she has been one because she had the same background, the same traditions, the same religion, the same heroes and heroines, the same old mythologies, the same learned language (Sanskrit), the same places of worship spread out all over the country. To the average Indian, the whole of India was a kind of punya bhoomi, a holy land.” Thus, says Nehru, the agnostic. According to him, “there arose a common Indian consciousness, which triumphed over and partly ignored the political division of the country.”

In choosing the four corners of India for this mutts—for his order of Sanyasins—Shankara set the cultural boundary of India. The political boundary of the Hindus had waxed and waned, but never the cultural boundary.

rest of article here:


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