When we look into nations and nationalism, we should separate physical characteristics which unify nations from spiritual ones which guide nations. Here we cannot ignore the factors like culture tradition language religion, common economic interest racial unity and conflict and war.
The first root of nationalism is human nature. It means a man possesses certain biological needs like food, shelter and defense etc. To gain these needs, human beings depend upon one another. For this purpose, they cooperate, assist and even compete. Every human being needs mutual association with his fellow beings in groups for his self-preservation and to achieve common interest and objectives among human beings. A group of men are naturally attached to a territorial clan where they inhabit. Due to natural needs they develop love of group or country or patriotism. So human nature is clear root of nationalism.
Geographical proximity is a fundamental root of nationalism. Geographical unity contributes to the development of nationalism to a great extant. It greatly influences nationalism through their effect on transportation and communication of goods. people, armies and ideologies. Geographical unity provides a common climate, shapes their values, ideas and attitude. But geographical unity is not the sole factor in development of nations. For example, united India geographically a unit could not develop a nation as Pakistan came into being on the slogan that there are two nations in India. Similarly, East and West Pakistan developed as a nation though they were not geographically united. Similarly, Indonesia is comprised of several Islands.
Religion or creed of life is also a basic root of nationalism. It is a spiritual association among the people having the same creed, religion that naturally compel them to have unification, love and devotion to one another. In this connection we have the examples of Pakistan and India. That came into being on the basis of respective creed, dogma and religion.
A common language is very important cause of proximity and nationalistic feelings. Padelford and Lincline say that, “Language and literature are important stimulants to nationalism, although nations do develop without having common language.”
R.Munir Says, “Through language people communicate with one another and pass ideas, values, objectives and traditions from one generation to the next.” East Pakistan became Bangladesh on the condition of Bangali language. Most of liberation and separatist movements are in full swing in almost all the states on the basis of language issue. A common language is a leading factor of unification because it facilitates the determination as well as cultivation of ideas and feelings and promotes the development of national literature, traditions and customs. But it is not correct that without common language a nation does not develop. Examples of India and Pakistan are sufficient in this regard.
Common Economic Interests
Another most important factor of nationalism is common economic interest. Today is the era of economic and thinking in economic terms has become an important phenomenon of present time. The common economic interest unites the different groups together. In many ways economic factor plays a great role in the development of nationalism.
Common Culture and Traditions
John S. Mill rotates common historical traditions of prime importance; while Hayes considers common culture and traditions second to language. Every nation has its common heroes who become the symbols of the past and unifying force for present.
With the growth of democracy individual loyalty was transferred from them to the collective nation. Thus the growth of popular sovereignty served to promote nationalism.
Social Disintegration and Individual Insecurity
According to Prof. Hans J. Morgenthau, the 19th and 20th centuries saw the emancipation of the individual from the ties of tradition, especially in the form of religion, of the increased rationalization of life and work and of cyclical economic crises.
Race is another important factor that has contributed towards the development of nationalism. Alfred Zimmern, Burgess and Leacock have laid greater emphasis on racial unity as the root of nationalism. It implies that the group of people inhabiting in a definite territory must have a common origin. The racial myths fortify the claim of nationhood. However, it may be noted that racial unity is important and not essential. There are several states in that various races inhabit i.e. India and Pakistan. Ramsay Munir in this connection says, “There is no nation in the world that is not of mixed races and there has never been a race that has succeeded in including all its members with in a single national unity.”
Conflict and War
War and aggression also play a considerable part in shaping nationalism Padelford and Lincolen says that, “War and the threat of invasion have nearly everywhere been factors in fashioning national sentiments and in framing new nation.