Meaning of Nationalism
The ideology of modern state is called nationalism. It is the most powerful object of contemporary politics. Nationalism was first practiced by Greeks who considered that non Greeks are inferior to Greeks. In simple words nationalism can be explained as; “The attachment or feeling of attachment of one towards one’s nation and state.
Every person has a natural tendency to like and love his blood relatives, family members. tribe’s men, fellow beings and nation respectively. First of all, he has emotional attachment with his family members and offers all sacrifices for the protection and development of his family then his hot attachment with his clan and tribe. It is nationalism and it is due to Nationalism that people protect one another’s interests and rights. It saves social existence from disintegration but on contrary protects and strengthens society.
Definitions of Nationalism
It is hard to define nationalism as several Scholars have defined nationalism in different ways. Following are some definitions of nationalism.
“Nationalism is a condition of mind, feeling or sentiment of a group of people, living in well-defined geographical area, speaking a common language, possessing a literature in that the aspirations of the nation have been expressed, attached to common customs and in some cases having a common religion. It is a product of political, economical, social and intellectual factors at a certain stage in history”. Prof Synder
“Nationalism consists of modern emotional fusion and exaggeration of two very phenomena nationality and patriotism. J.H. Hays
“Nationalism is first and foremost state of mind and an act of consciousness. that manifests an independent nation-state.” Han Kohn.
A nation includes a certain defined unit of territory and a common origin and a hope that the nation will have a great and glorious future usually in territorial expansion.” B.Shafer
Thus from the above definitions we can conclude that Nationalism is a feeling that makes the political and cultural values of the nation or a phenomena of consciousness and feeling among a group of people.
Characteristics of Nationalism
The Royal institute of International Relations pointed out the following characteristics of nationalism in its report published in 1930.
- One Nation. An idea of a common government always implies in a nation. It may he the reality of past or present or just an ambition of the future.
- Group Feelings. There is sense of belonging together among the people of a nation.
- Distinction. There is distinctiveness in a nation that separates it from other nation as language, religion, race and national character.
- Defined Territory. There is defined territory large or small.
- Common Interest: Existence of same common interest shared by all is also one of the most important features of nationalism.
- General Picture of State. A general picture of state in the mind of every individual.
Tools and Symbols of Nationalism
The most important instruments and symbols of nationalism are: Flag. School. Press, Radio and Television etc.
- Flag: The first and most important instrument of nationalism is flag. According to Organski, “Flag makes excellent national symbols for they can be carried into battlefield and thus share in the glory of victory.”
- School: The nationalistic propaganda is found in most of the school and college textbooks. Charles Marirras writes, “When honest efforts are made to secure objectivity in history text book writing, they meet with stiff resistance from powerful interest groups in most national communities. Under the guise of patriotism, such groups exert pressure upon ministers of education, boards and teachers in order to prevent a balanced treatment of the relations with other countries.”
- Press: Through newspaper the people are educated and the feeling of patriotism is provided through generals. books and newspapers etc.
- Radio: It also plays great role in nationalistic propaganda. The people are informed through Radio. The patriotic songs and lectures are providing through Radio to the whole world.
- Television: The essays, lectures, songs and news about state to provide and inspired nationalism to the people for they make to give sacrifice for the sake of the state.
Following are some examples of nationalism
- When nation comes closer for a certain cause
- Waves national flag
- Singing anthem passionately
- Supporting your national team in tournament, Olympics etc
Origin and Growth of Nationalism
J.H.Hays has described five successive stages of nationalism i.e. humanitarian, Jacobian, traditional, liberal and integral. “The first three fall in 18th century and liberal nationalism took place in 19th century while integral is primarily growth of 20th century. The last stage is characterized by the policies of totalitarian states.
Prof. Synder has discussed four stages i.e.
- integrative (1815-1871)
- disruptive (1871-1890)
- Aggressive (1890-98) and
- Contemporary since (1945 onward)
I i have discussed the origin and growhth in detail
Types of Nationalism
Please read full article on types of nationalism
- Liberal nationalism
- Aggressive nationalism
- Totalitarian nationalism
- Integral nationalism