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Chapter 7- Nationalism Interview Questions Answers

Question 1 :
How is a nation different from other forms of collective belonging?

Answer 1 :

A nation is not only a collection of people and it differs from other groups found in society:

  1. A state is different from a family which is based on direct personal interaction of people living together and having knowledge of identity and character of others also.
  2. A nation is different from clans, tribes and kinship which ties of marriage and descent link members to each other so that even if we do not personally know all the members we can.
  3. But as a member of a nation, we may never come face to face, most of our fellow nationals nor need we share ties of descent with them.
Still the nation exists, are lived in and valued by its members.

Question 2 :
What do you understand by the right to national self-determination? How has this idea resulted in both formation of and challenges to nation-states?

Answer 2 :

Right of self-determination implies that every nation in the world should enjoy a right to determine its destiny in all walks of life without any undue interference from any other state.
Every national should be given a right to determine his own affairs in the way he likes. The right of self-determination implies that each state exercise the following rights:

  1. The basic right implies that each state has a right to exist independently without interference from other states and sovereignty of the state would be respected by all.
  2. Every state exercises the right to develop its own political, social, economic spheres as well as its own art, culture and literature and should have a right to adopt any language as the medium of expression.
  3. Each state exercises the right to preserve what it considers worth-preserving. Each tradition has some historical background and represents the soul of the nation.
To enjoy these rights, we may conclude the following reasons:

  1. These rights are essential for the coexistence of a democracy in action.
  2. This right promotes national unity among the various states which belong to different races, castes, religion and cultures.
  3. This right guarantees that minorities should not be absorbed in the majority whereas they should also be given the right to determine their culture and civilisation alongwith majority communities.
  4. This right provides more national security because the majority and minority both enjoy the right to determine their own affairs in the way they linked.
But, the right of self-determination results in the following challenges:

  1. It may hinder the smooth functioning of administration in multi-national states like India, USSR, because each section makes efforts to find out one’s own way.
  2. Sometimes, this right finds it difficult to frame a public opinion for the success of democracy because everyone would develop its own identity only.
  3. Sometimes, it brings inferior races at par the superior races, which hamper the growth of superior race also.
The right of self-determination resulted:

  1. Disintegration of states, i.e. Russia, Austria, Hungary.
  2. Resulted the unification of states like Germany and Italy.
  3. Resulted the states like Czechoslovakia and Finland.
  4. Hence, it can be concluded that the right of self-determination can also be used for both purpose of national integration and disintegration.

Question 3 :
“We have seen that nationalism can unite people as well as divide them, liberate them as well generate bitterness and conflict”. Illustrate your answer with examples.

Answer 3 :

Nationalism requires to be studied due to its important role in the world affairs:

  1. Nationalism has united the people and divided them also to liberate them from oppressive rule and has been the cause of conflict and wars.
  2. Nationalism has contributed to the drawing and re-drawing of the boundaries of states and empires.
  3. Nationalism has been a factor in the break of empires and states.
  4. Nationalism has gone through various processes/passes, i.e. it led to the unification of a number of small kingdoms into large nation states as Italy, Germany, etc.
  5. Even at present a large part of the world is divided into different nation-states and separatist struggles within existing states are common.
  6. Nationalism has also accompanied to the break up of empires like Austro-Hungarian (in the end of 1919 or 1920), break of colonial Britain, France, Dutch and Portuguese in Asia and Africa.

Question 4 :
Neither descent, nor language, nor religion or ethnicity can claim to be a common factor in nationalisms all over the world. Comment.

Answer 4 :

  1. It is commonly believed that nations are constituted by a group who share certain features as descent, or language or religion or ethnicity.
  2. But, there is in fact no common set of characteristics to be present in all nations.
  3. Many nations do not have common language, i.e. Canada includes English speaking and French speaking people and India also has a large number of languages to be spoken in different regions.
  4. Many nations do not have a common religion to unite them. And some is applicable to other characteristics, i.e. race or descent.
Hence, a nation is to a great extent an imagined community held together by the collective beliefs, aspirations and imaginations of its members.

Question 5 :
Illustrate with suitable examples the factors that lead to the emergence of nationalist feelings.

Answer 5 :

  1. A common motherland emerges the feelings of nationalism because people belonging to one place are mutually bound to love their motherland, i.e. The Jews stayed far away from motherland still it kept nationalism alive.
  2. Common culture refers for customs and traditions, ideas, art and literature, dress, food, etc. through which people start understanding one another to live in harmony and cooperation. Hence, it emerges nationalism.
  3. Common language also emerges nationalism as people understand and come nearer to each other by their expressions together to bind them. Through language, the people develop some habits as well as adopt some ways of life.
  4. Common religion also contribute to the emergence of nationality as the people remain under the command of a religious leader and the spirit of oneness is developed among all followers of religion.

Question 6 :
How is a democracy more effective than authoritarian government in dealing with conflicting nationalist aspirations?

Answer 6 :

  1. A democracy is the most acceptable form of government in the world whereas authoritarian governments are not liked and accepted now-a-days.
  2. A nation is strengthened on the acknowledgement and acceptance of obligations though fellow members which is easily possible in a democracy than in an authoritarian government.
  3. In a democracy, the government provide enough opportunities and favorable environment than authoritarian government as well as mutual respect and cooperation are the strongest test of loyalty towards the nation.
  4. To bind individuals together as a nation is a common language or common religion, i. e. common language makes it easier to communicate with each other and some religion shares some festivals, holidays and hold some symbols.
But it can pose a threat to the values to be cherished in a democracy:

  1. All major religions are diverse in nature to be evolved through a dialogue within a community and within each religion number of sets differ significantly in their interpretations. Hence, in a democratic society, if these differences are ignored, it creates an oppressive society.
  2. Even two societies are culturally diverse to have peoples from different languages and religions and to impose identity of one another will restrict the liberties of the persons who do not follow the same.
Hence, it can be concluded:

  1. Equal treatment and liberty for all would be limited.
  2. It is desirable to imagine the nation in political rather than cultural terms.
  3. Democracies need to emphasise and expect loyalty to a set of values to be enshrined in constitution only.

Question 7 :
What do you think are the limitations of nationalism?

Answer 7 :

  1. A territory creates a nation and inhabitants of that particular territory create nationalism but the world is divided into different nations and states, even though the process of re-ordering of state boundaries has not come to an end due to separatist struggles in the existing states.
  2. The people of new states acquired a new political identity based on membership of the nation alongwith the state loyalties and common languages.
  3. It is quite difficult to arrive at a precise and widely accepted definition of nationalism.
  4. The struggle for freedom from colonial rule by India and other former colonies were nationalist struggles with the desire to be independent of foreign control, i.e. Austro- Hungarian, Russian, French, Dutch, Portuguese empires, etc.
  5. The process of drawing state boundaries have also been confronted by nationalist demands including separate statehood.
  6. Even today, in many parts of the world, we witness nationalist struggles to threaten to divide the existing states, i.e. Tamils in Srilanka, Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, Basques in northern Spain, etc.
  7. Nationalism has also passed through many phases, i.e. Germany and Italy’s unification and consolidation.


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