In the olden days, rulers, travelers, traders, explorers, preachers and hunters moved along the Earth from their usual geographic footprint. They were in search of better living, achieving something far more to fulfill their conquest. Some were covering more ground for their trade empire, widening their territory. Most importantly, introducing their culture, language, cuisine and other unique specialties to a whole new range of civilization.
All these were in their quest for self-actualization and writing their names in the history books as being among those who have been there, done that. As the world developed with the various revolutions from time to time, political leaders slowly but steadily projected themselves as the mainstream thought leaders.
They set upon themselves to bring a generational shift in the way the ruling class ran for office, assumed power and kept clinging to the chair. Some were democratic, some dictatorial.
Civil wars ensued when the electorate decided to raise their fist but nipped many in the bud. Insurgencies and conflicts further aggravated the social divide in the society and, in turn, at the national level as well. The economic instabilities in a nation’s polity that these man-made calamities brought about with a cyclic periodicity, disillusioned the lower strata to migrate to a better place and sometimes, across continents. So much so, that after a point, even the educated and the forward class began to sit up and join the movement across the seven seas.
We can be thankful for being made aware of the glorious cultures, cuisines and art forms that such rulers, traders and travelers brought with their migration in the olden days. The global diaspora bloomed with the acceptance of diversity as the end product of universal brotherhood (over nationalism).
Over the decades, the western influence in everything we do has had a deep imprint in our psyche, our daily habits and aspirations. In a way, it took a toll on nationalism and patriotism among various individuals.
This has been facilitated by the furtherance of trade policies, the stranglehold on foreign exchange, along with the emergence of technology and electronic media. Its acceleration by way of personal devices brings the information, distribution of news and other updates on current affairs that we yearn to live by, daily. Thereby, setting up a permanent position in our muscle memory.
As the world wide web indeed became worldwide, the new media ensured that capitalism took centre stage and manifested as the modern day adaptation of what the olden days showed us. In all this, humankind was left to fend for better living standards, lose interest in one’s own history, rich culture only to fight, rise and shine amidst all the inadequacies of political governance. The shaping of the mindset and encroaching upon our thought process came with a global bent and enslaved us with the positive greediness (and why not) for a far better livelihood and career opportunities on the other end of the rainbow.
Migrants and immigrants have helped shape a nation’s history, diversity and brought glory for decades now. Going abroad for higher studies and research has been a coveted pursuit and gives us a sense of pride.
How we monetise it is what drives our vision to succeed and achieve self-actualisation? If a desert terrain does not suit one’s chosen trade or profession, one has every right to search for a suitable alternative. This is similar for a person living by the seaside and wanting to move inland for obvious reasons.
Cut to present day: In all this, the advent of 4G technology and the emphasis on borderless WFH gave immense throttle to the “Look West” phenomenon. While most countries are still suffering from the pandemic and reeling from prior economic disasters, it still entices third world citizens to abandon their motherland and adopt the promised land.
All in the name of a safe haven which has less pollution, no corruption, smooth roads, no power cuts, superior medical facilities, higher civic sense and evolved governance. What they fail to recognise is all of these require human efforts. Which means every nation and its dutiful citizens work collectively towards it. Leaving the efforts midway or not being a participant, but being critical shows the selfishness of an individual, as first impressions.
One does need a certain amount of introspection for one’s family and livelihood first. There’s no harm or hypocrisy in it as personal grievances and safety come first. But, orphaning the very country that has given birth to our forefathers for greener pastures calls for a second thought.
Can ethnicity be weaned away or forgotten when one lands in a foreign land? Will thoughts of one’s native place be vanquished over time? Is the role of politics and democracy justified against the dint of human endeavour? These questions stem from the uneven migration to populate western countries for the bright future of one’s children and insulate one’s livelihood.
A country’s glorious heritage and tourism is left unexplored in the daily paucity of time and the rat race for sustenance. The custodianship of a country’s unique tradition is abandoned in the belief that there is someone else who will take care of it.
Read More on Nationalism in this blog.
The thought process of a minority of a developing nation fails to see why the western nations succeeded in the first place. If India did not have Mughal and British influence for centuries, it’s vedic culture would have been intact. But, Indians would not have had the opportunity to cherish the architecture, cultural embellishments, exposure to the delectable cuisines and so many advancements that were made possible due to it. Yes, we are fortunate indeed, but not at the cost of placing our ancient history in a blind spot.
Of course, there is a western minority which lauds our culture, espouses our religion, believes in our ancient scriptures, and accepts Sanskrit as the superior language. The same way, a majority of Indians (ones with lack of nationalism) convincingly believe that the West is best in everything.
A western brand, university, economy or vaccine is better, believable and easily superior. What must be driven across is that, ultimately, it is the people at the end of the day – men, women and children who work towards the glory of their respective nations, come what may. The same way a westerner diligently did, does and will keep doing what is best for one’s country to keep the top spot on various comparison charts and global indexes.
If a restaurant has a better tasting biryani than the rest, it’s a human effort in the form of a chef, whatever his/her ethnicity. Also, if a hospital has a better recovery rate than others, it’s the human efforts of the medical team including its nurses and janitors. Moreover, if a university has a superior placement rate, it’s the human efforts of the academicians and students to rank high.
If a company does well, it’s again the human efforts with superior execution which take the pride of place. Moreover, if an app and software are superior, again, it’s the human effort that does the wonders regardless of the nationality. Also, if a sports club wins or an athlete performs exceptionally, it’s the humans in the form of players that bring glory and medals for their nation.
The question then arises about the sufficient opportunity in one’s lifetime and level playing ground to endeavour. But why has it not occurred to us that we would be better at multitasking if we had two more hands or legs to juggle our work?
It is because we have accepted the human form as is, since it is the norm globally to have two hands and feet as normal humans. What makes us overcome is our will to tide over the challenge and look beyond the physical deficiencies. In hindsight, it may come across as a poor analogy for want of a better example.
External factors and belief in one’s destiny play a great role in shaping our mindset. We live only once as humans, and with increasingly busy lives, we have to seek our Garden of Eden with a loving family, blooming with prosperity and brimming with happiness.
It is only wise to abandon a sinking ship but it is divine to mend the hole and keep it afloat. This arises out of love and devotion towards one’s own nation. The toughest battles are kept reserved for the strongest soldiers.
The opening statements about the olden times are all human endeavours that kept pushing the boundaries in the lifespan they were blessed with. As technology advances, every move we make shapes our lives politically speaking, it is our own nation that needs us.
A westerner does not think of settling in India or migrating to Mongolia because his forefathers worked hard to keep their own nation great. It may not be humanly possible to experience a mass upheaval and ring in overnight change in a country’s fortunes, but then Rome was not built in a day either. Patriotism cannot be outsourced, nationalism cannot be borrowed and love for one’s country cannot be bought.
Nagesh grew up in Kolkata and was drawn into all things intellectual and worldly. Being a commerce graduate, he has a varied professional experience drawn from banking, sports marketing, taxation, business development and advertising over the years across cities. He’s also an avid quizzer, film buff and a news junkie to boot.
P.S. – Thought Habitat believes in nationalism and we invite individuals with patriotic perspective to write on niche subjects. Mr Nagesh Rajan is one of the few writers with a strong view of nationalism and he is involved in several patriotic activities. Let us promote Indian Nationalism and keep saying Jai Hind!