’ Army is the only binding force of this nation’. This statement is often repeated ad nauseum on electronic and print media. The claim never analysed or challenged is accepted as a universal truth by all and the sundry. An attempt to analyse or challenge this axiom is seen as being unpatriotic.
It may be true in current socio-political scenario. However it implies instability, a nation with no internal cohesion, just at the brink of collapse where a persistent brute military force is needed to counter centrifugal forces from disintegrating its inner fabric.
According to Webster dictionary, a nation state is defined as’ a form of political organization in which a group of people who share the same history, traditions, or language live in a particular area under one government’
From this definition, it is obvious that a true binding force for a nation is/should be geographical boundaries, a government which is perceived to be legitimate and looking for the welfare of its subjects and last but not the least a common culture, history and heritage with which people are able to identify themselves. Only then they can realize themselves a part of a greater whole with common threads to unite them to shared ideals.
It is important that all sections of society must feel an emotional attachment to it and feel their personal interest in its survival. A deficiency in this regard can’t be compensated by increasing the military might and stoking the flames of jingoism. Such a strategy creates nations not only in a continuous state of conflict against themselves, but also a risk for peace and stability of the whole world.
It must be understood clearly that a stagnant economy, fractured judicial system, serious energy crisis, rapid expansion of youth population demanding jobs, miserable education system and last but not the least extremism and religious intolerance threatening the very existence of society are the real issues.
They demand a paradigm shift from a security state to a welfare state. This situation needs strengthening the civil institutions and a viable government seen alive to the situation.
What is/should be the role of creative artists and writers in this situation?
The creative people have to play an important role to highlight the real issues and educating the masses. Instead of romanticism with a supposed glory of the past, there is a need to focus on the issues and problems of common people. A humanitarian approach, one which discards the differences of religion, sect, race and language ought to be adopted with an aim to minimize mutual friction and bigotry.
A shared history and culture needs to be projected. Ours is multicultural and multi religious society, with its roots in one of the oldest civilization, Dravidian civilization which existed about 6,000 years ago.
An artificial creation of roots which claims a historical heritage in Middle East is not only against the very logic and definition of a nation; it has proved incapable of providing sufficient cohesive force. Instead it has alienated different sections of society and promoted jingoism. Instead of a pride in being sons of this soil, it has led to a search of heroes outside this area. That is why our history books seem full of eulogy for those who attacked and plundered this area. This is nothing but an attempt of creating heroes out of dacoits.
The tilt requires a correction of facts and enlightening the public and here creative artists and writers are important to play the role of torch bearers of knowledge, tolerance and promotion of harmony.
Martin Luther King, Jr. wished, ‘ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character’
This can’t be achieved till we are able to achieve the ideal, dreamed by George Bernard Shaw
“You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.”
A stage where patriotism should no longer remain the last refuge of a scoundrel