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Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Problems With 'Radical Nationalism'

This post is a result of thoughts that have been accumulating in my (sceptic) mind for a very long time.I only was not getting the urge to hold them together but I think this is time I should write this article,valiantly on the very same day when they would be doing their best to resonate with their 'masters',on the exact day when the girl will be celebrating the indulgence of independence by buying his boy Cadbury goodies,by ensuring that we accept commercial dominance from the same imperialists who tormented us for more than 200 years,in the departure of whose name we celebrate our so called independence!
Let us begin with examining a few famous quotations.
“Nationalism teaches you take pride in things you haven't done and hate people you've never met.” - Doug Stanhope,American Stand Up Comedian
Now,I do not have an extra bit of reverence stored for Americans.In fact race,geographical boundaries would not even mean anything unless the person who is speaking is speaking something substantial.Here,Stanhope has said something truly mention-worthy.Well,first of all,what is nationalism,then?And how do you radicalise nationalism?Is their any libertarian nationalism?
Nationalism is nothing but an ideology that involves an individual identifying with, or becoming attached to, one's nation. Nationalism involves national identity, by contrast with the related concept of patriotism, which involves the social conditioning and personal behaviors that support a state's decisions and actions. Radical nationalism,would thus,etymologically,mean an ardent support to the ideology of patriotism and related philosophies.
Now,here comes the question.Is there any liberalism possible about nationalism?If so,why are you supposed to be liberal,or sceptic?One certainly should.Because often,people are fed in these concepts,being pre-acclaimed to be 'pure' while actually using it to divert them. Take,for example,nationalism is used by BJP,Shiv Sena and RSS to mean 'Hindu Nationalism',which is nothing but an unacceptable form of fundamentalism.
Then,what is India?A subcontinent in South-East Asia geographically divided by a boundary from other countries decided by....?Decided by those very imperialists who ruled over us!I wish this extent of scepticism is not accepted today because if it has to be,it will be anything but favourable.But what's truth can never be changed.

But there is no logic in skipping the other outcome possible.If there is nothing called nationalism and nothing called India,we are likely to be tricked by the same imperialists yet again,into being ardent individualists,aggressive consumerists.......exactly what is happening with Gen Y right now.Here,we establish the connection between nationalism and socialism,which despite its tendencies to give birth to autocracy deserves reverence,for this is the only form of nationalism that aligns with humanism,or is society oriented and not individual oriented. Adam Smith's theory of the coincidence of individual interests with national or societal interests is pretty much bogus when brought in context of the 21st century.
That is why you are still supposed to feel a chilling feel in your spine or a leap in your heart when you take the pledge towards your country or when they say 'Jai Hind' or when they call out the name of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh.

This however,fades out often when spoken of Dandi March or Gandhi.That the powers were vested in the hands of wrong individuals (as predicted by Tagore.A clear,simple example is Elar Char Adhyay,with which even if you do not fully agree,has got this message,which is unfortunately,very true.) is well-proved by the economic,social and 'national' condition of India today.That Gandhi perhaps knew about the whereabouts of Bose and that he concealed the fact has to be injurious to the intelligentsia,though I am not very sure how many people have been through the details of this controversy. That Gandhi never saw women as the other half of humanity and are far more capable of doing things than cooking food for their husbands and looking after their children,that he never cared about the workers population and favoured the industrialists is proven (and is even clearly mentioned in NCERT Text Books of Class IX and Class X) today.Moreover,it is not very clear what he meant by 
non-violence or 'ahimsa'.So,the terrorist states (like for example,USA or Israel) keep bombing your people and you maintain peace and claim you had wagged your tail all the time,put a finger on your lips and sit down to claim your much deserved bone?This is so ironical!

Before I am criticised of using an American anarchist way of interpreting things,without caring about great thinkers 'of my own country',let me try to examine a poem,this time from Rabindranath Tagore.


The last Sun of the century sets amidst the blood-red clouds of the West and the whirlwind of hatred.
The naked passion of self-love of Nations, in its drunken delirium of greed, is
dancing to the clash of steel and the howling verses of vengeance.
The hungry self of the Nation shall burst in a violence of fury from its own shameless feeding.
For it has made the world its food,
And licking it, crunching it, and swallowing it in big morsels,
It swells and swells
Till in the midst of its unholy feast descends the sudden heaven piercing its
heart of grossness.
The crimson glow of light on the horizon is not the light of thy dawn of peace,
my Motherland.
It is the glimmer of the funeral pyre burning to ashes the vast flesh, - the self-love of the Nation, - dead under its own excess.
Thy morning waits behind the patient dark of the East,
Meek and silent.
Keep watch, India.
Bring your offerings of worship for that sacred sunrise.
Let the first hymn of its welcome sound in your voice, and sing,
'Come, Peace, thou daughter of God's own great suffering.
Come with thy treasure of contentment, the sword of fortitude,
And meekness crowning thy forehead.'
Be not ashamed, my brothers, to stand before the proud and the powerful
With your white robe of simpleness.
Let your crown be of humility, your freedom the freedom of the soul.
Build God's throne daily upon the ample bareness of your poverty
And know that what is huge is not great and pride is not everlasting.

This in itself is one of the biggest proofs that Tagore explicitly rejected nationalism,at least the radical form of nationalism by the first decade of the twentieth century.Below,I have provided a detailed analysis of the same by University of Heidelberg.
It couldn't have been accepted by a great philosopher like him,either.This must be understood today that a lot is being done under the veil of so called nationalism.Leftists are always attacked with the title of being 'anti-nationalists',or 'internationalists' but there is nothing very wrong with that.I did not,however,compose this article from an anti-nationalist perspective but I think an internationalist approach is often far better than narrowing down your view only to your immediate surroundings.Tagore,however,cannot be fully agreed with the philosophy he has often reflected towards the revolutionaries of non-independent India.They did not steal jewellery for having rich food for themselves,which is what he has pointed out in 'Elar Char Adhyay' or 'Ghare Baire',known as 'The Home And The World' and nor did it become a game for them because when people have to give their own lives and take that very risk every moment,it no more remains a simple game that they want to indulge themselves in.)
As a personal experience,I have always been told why didn't I feel sad about people suffering in my own country and seem to be suffering more for Gaza Strip genocides.Well,I was suffering more because this is a mass-scale genocide.I could not,unfortunately or fortunately see the boundaries of 'my own country' when I saw innocent people being bombed and shot live in this world,in this Asia,on my own planet.
That never means that workers dying out of hunger in tea estates of West Bengal do not bother me,that only means harm,injustice to the world is supposed to bother you,that without something as trivial as geographical boundaries.

(Photograph shared by a friend.Not sure about the source.)

Rabindranath Tagore is often referred to as a ‘nationalist poet’ or a ‘nationalist leader’. This presents problems both historical and historiographical, since by the end of the first decade of the twentieth century Tagore had explicitly rejected nationalism. At the same time, Tagore’s legacy is further complicated by certain trends in Indian postcolonial historiography. Work emerging from the Subaltern Studies Collective has often put forward a more complex historical analysis, moving beyond a straightforward dichotomy between nationalism and 
In this version of Tagore’s place in India’s past, he is simultaneously both inside and outside: a Bengali intellectual deeply marked by his ‘cosmopolitanism’, ‘modernism’ and other derivative tropes of western bourgeois intellectual and cultural life. But in this mode of analysis, Tagore too often suffers from simplistic application of various Western classifications, for example as a ‘romantic modernist’ or ‘liberal humanist’. In fact Tagore, like Hegel, Tagore saw World History as the steady unfolding of an idea. The marked distinction was that, unlike Hegel, he placed India at the centre of that process. In this regard, Tagore developed an alternative conception of modernity which saw the ideas, politics and technology of the West as only one aspect of a developing historical process, rather than its core movement. This not only challenges the spatial dimensions of modernity but also challenges us to think more critically about ‘modernities’ and the kinds of categories we deploy to make sense of the ‘modern’ and ‘counter-modern’. In this respect, the Tagore-Gandhi debates become a crucial historical and textual source for an interpretation of Tagore’s thinking on nationalism. These debates centred on the freedom struggle and India’s stance towards the West; and towards Britain as the colonial power. They point towards a complicated engagement with the West, its position in the world, its relationship to India and the political and intellectual influences that it had in India.

Nationalism,often,as a matter of fact looks quite un-analysed or ill-analysed as well.If a man destroys the Red Sea with nuclear weapons and he is from India,"the neighbours will still laugh and cheer with each blast".They will not care what is happening to the only natural unit we live in today,the earth,the environment but they will look at the scientific strength (in what meaning I do not know) of their 'very own country' and feel so proud about the scientist,despite the fact that he was a shame to the civilisation as anyone is a shame to the civilisation when she/he crafts something as dirty,as filthy as ammunition.

Balkan topo en.jpg

The Balkan Peninsula

Not to forget what instigated the First World War,it must be kept in mind that it was the ultimate result of the hatred bourne into people by narrow nationalism.Each country was extremely jealous of the other,each country fought with each other,despite their small sizes and who were benefitted from so much blood?The imperialists.The colonialists.The exact colonialists who also ruled our country for over two centuries.The exact colonialists who still control the game of commercial imperialism.
People must,by now,understand these gaps in order to come up with the required solutions.
All of Adolf Hitler,Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco were so called nationalists (so called in the sense that they were more psychopathic than anything else) and claimed to do what they were doing for the sake of their countries.This was,not true as they were doing it for a certain class,for a certain race,for a certain group of people but this does not let you deny the fact that radical nationalism might often act as the transformation of state power leaning towards what has to be avoided from being established anywhere in the world : autocracy.

Summing it up,we cannot come to a conclusion of this topic through one article or a million articles.It is something,that again,like the definition of socialism or democracy,keeps evolving.We only need to find out what suits us best.We only need to look after the fact that we are not being blindfolded.Wishing you all the taste of freedom possible within the vast extent of 
un-freedom we face today (Philosophy Courtesy : Slavoj Žižek),on the 68th Independence Day of India,remembering those who gave up lives for giving us this freedom,much more than the Google-raved Gandhi's Dandi March.After all,this country is not of imperialists,it is of subject to common people,in terms of thought,in terms of the right to interpret,isn't it?The perception,however,is now solely yours.
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  1. Change the Jones Act to save Puerto Rico
    Press on the above link to hear an interview with Nelson A. Denis about the crisis in Puerto Rico.
    Since then, Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States. The Jones Act, in 1917, extended American Citizenship to Puerto Ricans against their will. The Jones Act is the piece of United States legislation that maintains Puerto Rico a colony of the United States government.
    This legislation is illegal under international law. It is, because in 1960, the United Nations (UN) determined that colonialism is a crime against humanity. The US has ignored 34 UN resolution asking it to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico.
    What the US government has done instead is to immediately move to set up the conditions necessary to kick off our island all Puerto Ricans. Once Puerto Ricans become a minority in Puerto Rico, as Nelson mentioned in this interview, the US government will then give statehood for Puerto Rico.
    Nelson says that Puerto Ricans need to understand that this is another Vieques. We need to march now to change the Jones Act. What that means is that we need to peacefully and permanently march now, before it is too late, for the decolonization of Puerto Rico.
    Nelson’s sense of urgency is because he knows that, those who have set us up to be kicked off our own island, don’t believe in JUSTICE FOR ALL!

    1. Hi José,
      Strange that I'd never even seen this comment in the past!
      I visited the blog and it is intellectually written,content is analysed well and has a left leaning democratic voice.It feels good to see such intellectually inclined blogs around.The comment was also very informative for me,I had no information about the issue with Puerto Rico prior to this.None of us are foolish enough to believe in so called justice for all initiated by capitalistic and imperialist attempts embraced by the States.
      In solidarity,Comrade.


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