Nationalism is the sense of solidarity that we feel with our own country- in most cases, the country we were born in. It is the feeling of pride that we feel when we see our country excel in international events, and when our country makes progress in and contributes to various areas of activity. Nationalism is instilled in us from a very young age; we are exposed to the national anthem, the national flag, and national areas of importance and pride. In this article, let us see what nationalism really means, and how important it is to human existence.
The most important effect of nationalism is of course its ability to inspire patriotism in people. It instills in a person the feeling of solidarity with their country, and the zeal to make sacrifices for their country, should the need arise. It is this feeling of nationalism that inspired hundreds of freedom fighters to stand up for the rights of their country and fellow countrymen in the face of oppression by external forces. It is this sense of nationalism and national pride that leads people to defend their country’s honor, dominate other nations, and protect their own borders. Historically, men and women have laid down their lives selflessly for the sake of their country; in Vietnam, for instance, common people united to fight the much bigger force that was the United States of America.
Brings unity in diversity
Nationalism brings people together. In this age of globalization, most countries are multicultural, with people of a variety of creeds, faiths, and color living in the same place. Such diversity can be free of discord only when they are brought together by the spirit of nationalism. For instance, India is a multicultural country, with many different races, colors, faiths, and languages residing within. Yet, during the colonial era, people from all across the country rose up as one to fight for the independence of their country from the British Raj. It is this spirit of nationalism, that we all belong to the same country despite being very different from one another, is what keeps the various cultures from warring with each other.
The sense of nationalism is what drives people to be independent, free from the influences or domination of other cultures. The nationalistic spirit keeps people working hard for their own country, resisting changes that are forcefully brought into effect by external influences. People try to be self sufficient and use goods and services that are provided and produced indigenously, thus helping them to make something that can be used for the purpose of some of the others. This helps in driving the progress of the nation, and it becomes more self sufficient in terms of economy and manpower. This, in turn, helps to keep the brightest minds in the country, who can do their bit to make the country a batter place to live in.
Instills national pride
The sense of nationalism makes people feel proud of their national heritage, and drives them to work at perpetuating their heritage. When someone is proud of their national heritage, they will take steps to preserve and help it grow. This includes maintaining of the national monuments, and also preservation of and contribution to the language, literature, and the arts. Nationalism thus helps in the growth of a country’s culture. Steps are taken to ensure that the monuments are protected from decay, thus providing employment to hundreds of people, and attracting tourists from all over the world.
Drives progress and betterment
Nationalism helps in making the country a better place to live in altogether. A sense of national pride impels the citizens to treat their country well. A patriotic person is always eager to make sure that no one from outside the country is ever able to point an accusing finger at their homeland. Therefore, a patriotic person will do their bit to keep the country clean and ordered. They will behave civilly to other people, both their fellow countrymen and foreign tourists, so that no one gets a negative impression of their own nation. When a nationalistic person is in a position of power, they will do their best to use their authority not for their own personal gains, but for the betterment of the nation as a whole.
Nationalism is the desire to identify yourself as part of a certain nation. Even in this global village, it is good to have a sense of home in order to avoid alienation. And this is what we are exposed to all our lives. Even displaced persons are reported to miss their country- the place they were evicted from or were forced to live by external forces, even if it is clear that their stay there was never a pleasant one. It is through this sense of nationalism that we are able to grow roots and create an identity.