Nationalism and Pluralism
Nationalism is a multidimensional concept oriented towards gaining and maintaining self-governance and full sovereignty over a territory of historical significance to the group (such as its homeland). therefore seeks to preserve the nation’s culture and often involves a sense of pride in the nation’s achievements.
Nationalism on the other hand accords a lot of importance to a homogenous \setup where love for one’s state should come before everything else. It gives lesser importance to the ideals of an individual if his stand is not in sync with the ideals of national interest. Therefore, nationalism can be both positive (Eg: the Indian freedom struggle) and negative. Freedom struggle can be negative if its excessiveness hurts its land’s own people:- genocide by Hitler in Germany.
On another hand pluralism as a philosophy is the recognition and affirmation of diversity to permit the peaceful co-existence of different cultures/ethnicities within a land. Thus against nationalism which focuses more on a “single identity” as a nation.
Pluralism built upon tolerance whereas nationalism may turn reactionary if there is a minority-majority faction resides. Pluralism as a theory was advocated by scholars like Laski and Mc Iver, the principle idea behind pluralism is that the state is no more than an association. Pluralists believe that man is multi-dimensional and not all of his needs can be fulfilled by the state therefore state is only a keystone of social architecture that has been propagated by man. Hence pluralists celebrate diversity and feel that the authority of the state should be limited.
Nationalism on the other hand accords a lot of importance to a homogenous setup where love for one’s state should come before everything else. It gives lesser importance to the ideals of an individual if his stand is not in sync with the ideals of national interest. Therefore, nationalism can be both positive (Eg: Indian freedom struggle) and negative (Eg: Excessive nationalism – Nazi Germany).
Tagore’s critique of Nationalism
Tagore was opposed to the ideals of nationalism because he deemed nationalism as a recurrent threat to humanity because of its propensity for the material. He felt that it trampled over the human spirit and upset man’s moral balance. However, he did support the national spirit.
Tagore’s criticism is very relevant today due to the new paradigm of emerging hypernationalism and protectionism. This can be seen in the recent Brexit, US protests against Trump, and other right-wing movements which are against the broader ideals of humanity and brotherhood.