Spirit of ‘Rashtriyatva’ was dominant in Bharat from ancient times. From the beginning of human history, Bhartiyas saw Bharat as a full-fledged ‘Rashtra’. It is often confused with the Western concept of nationalism. But this is factually or historically correct.
Nationalism in Europe
Rome was also a city state until it attained the status of an empire but breathed the spirit of international imperialism of a city-state and not of ‘Nation’.
Initial European history is marked with family as the only social unit which was subsequently replaced by scattered nomadic tribes. Tribalism based upon blood relationship formed the foundation during that period. Territorialism was evolved in course of a number of centuries in the Middle Ages. Synchronization of the two into nationalism is as recent as French Revolution. In case of Bharat such synchronization was already prevalent when history opened its eyes. In later period Greeks furnished the first organized leadership to Europe. But they do not constitute a ‘Nation’. They had their city states but nothing like a ‘Greek nation’. Rome was also a city state until it attained the status of an empire but breathed the spirit of international imperialism of a city-state and not of ‘Nation’. Under the Christian Church, all Christians belonged to one family. Growth of nationalism was inconceivable so long as the Church was influential. The first patriotic war fought by English was the’ War of Jenkin’s Ear’ in the Eighteenth century. Before that wars were either religious or dynastic.
Hindu Rashtra as old as Vedas
Nationalism in Europe is recent in origin and reactionary in character. Western nationalism is incapable of being as intense and sanctified as Bhartiya Rashtriyatva which is as ancient as the Himalayas. In Bharat, the motherland and the National society have been so very identified that it is impossible to think of the one without being reminded of the other. Consequently the sacred and tender emotions of the sons and daughters of the soil are naturally directed towards Bharat Mata. This is the unique feature of Bhartiya Rashtriyatva.
European Nationalism and Bhartiya Rashtriyatva
European nationalism is narrow, reactionary and anti-religion. Due to reactionary nature, it is incompatible with the ideal of internationalism. The content of Bhartiya Rashtriyatva is positive. Hindu nationalism is internationalistic in its tendencies and approach as it exhibited the spirit of Universalism. Also by virtue of its supremacy for centuries, the Church constituted the greatest challenge to any other concept that emerged as its rival. Loyalty of Bhartiya is not torn between Fatherland and Motherland. To him, Bharat is both because every particle of its earth is sacred to him.
Influenced by the Western education our intellectuals are tempted to gauge by the yardstick of the west. Due to this there is general misunderstanding about the precise meaning or import of the terms Rashtriyatva and Nationalism. There is such a marked difference between the two that the one cannot be treated as an equivalent of the other. Our concept of ‘Rashtra’ is unique and the West can boast of nothing similar or parallel to it.