NCERT Class 11 Political Science Political Theory Chapter 7: Nationalism

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Watch Video Lecture on YouTube: Political Theory: Nationalism | English | NCERT Class 11 Political Science Chapter 7

Political Theory: Nationalism | English | NCERT Class 11 Political Science Chapter 7

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  • Understand the concepts of nation and nationalism.

  • Acknowledge the strengths and limitations of nationalism.

  • Appreciate the need for ensuring a link between democracy and nationalism.


nation and nationalism

Nation and Nationalism

  • Patriotism (love for country and its good), national flags, sacrificing for the country

  • Republic Day parade in Delhi – sense of power, strength and diversity

  • Nationalism (love for country as its better than rest) united people and liberated them – inspired loyalties and heartedness

  • Liberate people from oppressive rule

  • Nationalist struggles have contributed to the drawing and redrawing of the boundaries

  • 19th Century Europe – unification of smaller kingdoms to larger ones; new states formed in Latin America

  • People of the new states acquired a new political identity which was based on membership of the nation-state

  • Also break up of large Russian empire, Austro-Hungarian empire & British, French, Dutch and Portuguese empires in Asia and Africa

  • Nationalist struggle threatens to divide world -Quebecois in Canada, the Basques in northern Spain, the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, and the Tamils in Sri Lanka,

  • Arab nationalism hopes to unite Arab countries in a pan Arab union

  • Globalisation, the world is shrinking. We are living in a global village. Nations are irrelevant

Nation and Nationalism

Nation and Nationalism

Nation and Nationalism

  • Nation is not casual collection of people – it’s not group, community or family, tribe, kinship

  • As a member of a nation we may never come face to face with most of our fellow nationals nor need we share ties of descent with them. Yet nations exist, are lived in and valued by their members

  • Nations are constituted by a group who share certain features such as descent, or language, or religion or ethnicity. But no common language in Canada

  • Nation is to a great extent an ‘imagined’ community, held together by the collective beliefs, aspirations and imaginations of its members

Pillars of Nation

Pillars of Nation

Pillars of Nation

Shared Beliefs

Shared Beliefs

  • Nations are not like mountains, rivers or buildings which we can see and feel. They are not things which exist independent of the beliefs.

  • Collective identity and vision for the future of a group which aspires to have an independent political existence

  • Team as collective group/identity

Pillars of History

Pillars of History

Continue Historical Identity

  • Stretching back into the past as well as reaching into the future

  • Collective memories, legends, historical records, to outline the continuing identity of the nation

  • JL Nehru in his book The Discovery of India, “Though outwardly there was diversity and infinite variety among the people, everywhere there was that tremendous impress of oneness, which held all of us together in ages past, whatever political fate or misfortune had befallen us”.

Pillars of Territory

Pillars of Territory

  • Sharing a common past and living together on a particular territory over a long period of time gives people a sense of their collective identity

  • The territory they occupied and the land on which they have lived has a special significance for them

  • Jews in spite of being dispersed and scattered in different parts of the world always claimed that their original homeland was in Palestine, the ‘promised land’

  • More than one set of people can claim the territory – it can cause conflicts

Shared Political Identify

Shared Political Identify

  • territory and shared historical identity play an important role in creating a sense of oneness, it is a shared vision of the future and the collective aspiration to have an independent political existence that distinguishes groups from nations

  • Kind of state they want to build - principles such as democracy, secularism and liberalism

Come Together and Are Willing to Live Together

  • Shared commitment to a set of political values and ideals that is the most desirable basis of a political community or a nation-state

  • Within it, members of political community are bound by a set of obligations – recognition of rights of each other as citizens

  • Nation is strengthened when its people acknowledge and accept their obligations to their fellow members

Common Political Identify

Common Political Identify

  • Observing the same festivals, seeking the same holidays, and holding the same symbols valuable can bring people together

  • Shared cultural identity, such as a common language, or common descent

  • all major religions in the world are internally diverse – evolved within community

  • As a result, there exists within each religion a number of sects who differ significantly in their interpretation of the religious texts and norms. If we ignore these differences and forge an identity on the basis of a common religion, we are likely to create a highly authoritative and oppressive society

  • most societies are culturally diverse – single religious or linguistic identity would lead to equal treatment and liberty for all – would be severely limited

  • democracies need to emphasize and expect loyalty to a set of values that may be enshrined in the Constitution of the country rather than adherence to a particular religion, race or language

National Self Determination

  • Nation seek right to govern themselves, seek future development

  • right to self-determination – acceptance and recognition by international community

  • Claims from people who lived for long time on a land or have sense of common identity

Culture of Group is Protected if Not Privileged

  • one culture - one state after WWI – led to mass migration across boundaries – expelled from home and communal violence started

  • Treaty of Versailles established a number of small, newly independent states, but it proved virtually impossible to satisfy all the demands for self-determination which were made at the time.

  • Even in this effort it was not possible to ensure that the newly created states contained only one ethnic community.

Challenge is to Accommodate Minorities as Equal Citizens

  • National liberation movements in Asia and Africa when they were struggling against colonial domination – provide dignity and recognition to colonized people

  • paradoxical situation of nation-states which themselves had achieved independence through struggle now acting against minorities within their own territories who claim the right to national self- determination

  • Solution: does not lie in creating new states but in making existing states more democratic and equal – live and co-exit, resolve problems

Nationalism and Pluralism

Nationalism and Pluralism

Nationalism and Pluralism

How Different Cultures Can Survive in Democratic Society

Indian constitution has an elaborate set of provisions for the protection of religious, linguistic and cultural minorities – constitutional protection - right to representation as a group in legislative bodies and other state institutions

National Identity Has to be Defined in an Inclusive Manner

  • granting groups recognition and protection would satisfy their aspirations, some groups may continue to demand separate statehood -

  • right to national self-determination was often understood to include the right to independent statehood for nationalities – if so, many are granted statehood then many small states will emerge and increase minority problems

  • In a democracy the political identity of citizen should encompass the different identities which people may have. It would be dangerous if intolerant and homogenizing forms of identity and nationalism are allowed to develop.


Basque is a hilly and prosperous region

Basque is a Hilly and Prosperous Region

  • Basque is a hilly and prosperous region in Spain. This region is recognised by the Spanish government as an ‘autonomous’ region within Spanish federation. Wanted separate country – as have own language, culture - systems of justice, administration and finance were governed by its own unique arrangements

  • Modern Basque Nationalist Movement - Spanish rulers tried to abolish this unique political administrative arrangement. In the twentieth century, the Spanish dictator Franco further cut down this autonomy.

  • These repressive measures have now been withdrawn. But the leaders of Basque movement continue to be suspicious of the motives of the Spanish government

Tagore’S Critic on Nationalism

Tagore’s Critic on Nationalism

Tagore’S Critic on Nationalism

Patriotism cannot be our final spiritual shelter; my efuge is humanity. I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds, and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live – Tagore

He Was Against Colonial Rule and Asserted India’S Right to Independence

Tagore made a distinction between opposing western imperialism and rejecting western civilization. While Indians should be rooted in their own culture and heritage, they should not resist learning freely and profitably from abroad.

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