On Nation – alism!
As Europe has been facing quite a bit of crisis because of the migration issue, the entire world has seemingly started re-assessing the concept of nation.
Once, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin said: “A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” (Marxism and the National & Colonial Question) In other words, a population can be called nation only if all these characteristics are present in them.
Although the people of eastern Indian province of West Bengal and neighbouring Bangladesh or the residents of Norway and Denmark speak similar languages, we can’t consider them as a nation as they don’t have other characteristics of a nation. It is to be noted that people of West Bengal and Bangladesh speak Bengali, while speakers of the three largest Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) can read each other’s languages without great difficulty.
It is to be noted that political power has always controlled languages throughout the globe. The ruling class usually informs users of different languages about its own choice and preference. That’s why Hindi has become indispensable in the northern part of India and the languages of powerless people, like Kumayuni or Bundelkhandi, struggle to survive. Of course, there are few exceptions.
The people experience the advantages and disadvantages of using a language in their everyday lives. If they are unfamiliar with a language or feel that its grammar and spellings are complicated, then the language becomes alienated. Sanskrit, the mother of almost all the Indian languages, dies slowly because of this. Ultimately, realities determine the fate of all languages and the realities are largely controlled by power!
Many believe that nation is a by-product of modern capitalist system! In the feudal system, people used to live in separate smaller groups mainly because of the absence of communication facilities. However, capitalism crushed the feudal society and united the population only to create the market. According to Vladimir Lenin, “Nations are an inevitable product, an inevitable form, in the bourgeois epoch of social development.” (The Teachings of Karl Marx)
It is said that capitalism requires raw materials, labour force at cheap price and a market to sell the products (produced by it) for its own development. And then, imperialism emerges. According to Lenin, it’s the “highest level of capitalism”. He explained that the capitalist states became imperialist states in an attempt to create colonies. As one of the main characteristics of capitalism is unequal development, the imperialist nations exploit, oppress and torture other nations. And when the oppressed nations declare a war against imperialism, the state comes forward to suppress them.
Again, the capitalist system triggers clashes between various nations. It becomes necessary for the imperialist powers to encourage different ethnic groups to clash against each other in an attempt to weaken them and to carry on with their exploitation.
It is evident in history that migrants, who boost the economy of a nation with their labour and sincerity, are not known to pose a serious threat to the national security, initially. However, some business tycoons and corrupt politicians project these people as traitors only to hide their contemptible activities.
If this is so – it is high time that people realised this fact…..
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