Why I am not a nationalist

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
19 July 2013 11:43 IST

'I am nationalist. I'm patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So I'm a Hindu nationalist. So yes, you can say I'm a Hindu nationalist because I'm a born Hindu,' says Narendrabhai Modi.

Immediately Sudheendra Kulkarni tweets, "There can be NO #Hindu Nationalism. There is ONLY #Indian Nationalism. Former divides #India. Latter unites India."

Nationalism is a reference to a nation, not a religion. Therefore Hindu Nationalism is a meaningless term. It is definitely a divisive term as it implies there is an Islamic nationalism, a Sikh nationalism, a Catholic Nationalism and so on. So Sudheendra Kulkarni is definitely closer to truth than Narendra Modi.

And what is "born Hindu" ? Every body is born human. Hindu, Muslim, Christian are conditioning that a person acquires as he or she walks through life and through relationships. Life is indeed a movement in relationships. So "born Hindu" is meaningless too. It is in fact misguiding.

Come to think of it -- am I a nationalist ? Am I a patriot ? The answer that stares me back in my face is "NO". I am not a nationalist.

Why am I not a nationalist ?

Long years ago I made a promise to myself. A promise never to leave the side of truth. Not for all the fame and money in the world. Because truth always triumphs.

Truth is that which unites entire humanity. Truth is that which unites the consciousness of humanity with the consciousness of the cosmos. Truth is not specific to time, place, person or religion, caste, sex and race. Truth is something that unites not only everything in our universe but something that unites all universes or multiverses that we may or may not be aware of.

And does nationalism unite humanity ? No. Nationalism divides humanity. It divides humanity as Indians and Americans. It divides humanity as poor and rich. As brown and white. It thus divides humanity into multiple fragments and along multiple lines.

Our friend Narendra Modi picks up a small fragment and calls it truth. Sudheendra Kulkarni picks up a bigger fragment and calls it truth.

Fragmented truth is untruth. Fragmentation of truth is the basis of physical existence, the basis of material existence. Such fragment has limits. In a temporal sense these limits manifest as beginning and end - as birth and death. In a spatial sense these limits manifest as individuals, states, nations, continents, planets, stars, comets, black holes, galaxies, universes etc.

So why pick up a small fragment and spend your life like a frog in a well? And how does "Hindu nationalism" reconcile itself with "Vasudhaiva kutumbakam" ? Isn't there a contradiction ?


Fragmentation of truth leads to fragmentation of one's consciousness. Then there is a conflict between different fragments. And smaller the fragments greater and more intense the conflict. So the person's entire life is spent in conflict and strife.

If one has a choice between living in conflict and living in peace and happiness why should one live in conflict ?

So why should one opt for a fragmented consciousness that is in perpetual conflict with itself and with others around it ?

Thus we see that nationalism is conflict. Nationalism is a fragmented, violent existence. Nationalists and patriots are essentially violent people. Their violence causes a subversion and consequent weakening of an already beleaguered law and order system of ours.

Nationalism thus acts contrary to its very purpose and weakens our Nation and its constitution.

A glaring example of this is the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. "Patriots" and "Hindu nationalists" feel terror suspects and proven terrorists should be killed outright. They feel our system is too weak or too slow to bring them to justice. Even if the 19 year old ishrat jahan was not a terrorist, her killing together with the other 3 terrorists is explained as collateral damage. This approach subverts the system. It weakens our system and shakes the very foundations of our Nation.

The solution for a weak and slow system is Judicial reforms. Strengthening and speeding up the justice process, making it more transparent and more certain. Justice must be done and must be seen to be done, without exception.

Nationalism and patriotism in today's close knit world defy logic. They also defy the Principles of Existence.

Patriotism is another name for violence. "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind" quipped Albert Einstein. "Nationalism is power hunger temped by self deception" said George Orwell. "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious" said Oscar Wilde. "Patriot is a person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about " said Mark Twain. Killing Osama bin Laden is patriotic to the USA but it is violence. Similarly destroying the New York twin towers is patriotic to Osama but it is violence.

Violence can never unite humanity. Violence can only divide humanity. Nationalism and patriotism can only divide humanity along multiple lines -- and weaken India.

This is why I am not a nationalist.

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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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