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Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Building National Character” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Building National Character

One of the reasons for socio-economic maladies is the Indian people’s lack of national character. The majority of the deficiencies we find in the country today can be traced to this basic shortcoming. Bereft of this sterling quality, we have fallen short in taking the country towards progress and prosperity.

What is national character? It is. to put it simply, the capacity and the will to hold the interests of the nation supreme in every sphere. Whenever there is a clash between individual and national interests, it means individual concerns being subordinated to the greater good of the nation. Whenever a nation has made any progress, it has been due to this spirit of nationalism. Without such a spirit of nationalism no nation can advance either internally or externally.

Now the question arises as to why, during the period of just 50 years, many countries have succeeded in fostering a strong national spirit in their people, and now stand alongside developed countries like Singapore, Korea, Malaysia and Japan, etc. while India still lags far behind. There is one basic reason for this. Attempting to achieve the possible by means which are impossible. It is just that we have set off on the wrong track, and once on it, it is difficult to retrace our steps and get on to the right track.

After Independence, an “Indian Nation” had come into existence in the political and geographical sense. But, at the psychological level, the level of feelings and emotions, our position was still that of a nation in the making. For the desired national reconstruction to take place, our leaders proposed a recipe based on the concept of a common heritage with three main parts—religious unity, historical unity and cultural unity. Religious unity implied that all religions were essentially one. It was believed that if this concept could take root in people’s minds, it would produce a sense of unity all over the country. Historically, of course this assumption was wrong; there is a long, grim record of co-religionists fighting fiercely among themselves. For instance, in the war of Mahabharat, the warriors on both sides were of the Hindu religion. In the First and Second World Wars, the combatants on both sides were of the Christian faith. Babar had armed confrontations with his own co-religionists, finally inflicting decisive defeats on them, and so on.

The attempt to bring about religious unity in India has active support from the ruler right from the time of Akbar, who bolstered it politically, to present times, when intellectuals such as Dr. Bhagwan Das, a contemporary scholar of Jawaharlal Nehru, attempted to solve the problem with their encyclopedic knowledge of the subject.

It is an undeniable fact that there are differences between various religions. Given these differences, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the adherents of one religion to accept that the tenets and practices of another religion have an equal value. However, if the adherents of different religions see each other, first and foremost, as human beings, as members of the same human race, they can certainly accord each other equal respect. Through mutual respect many social benefits accrue which, would be rendered impossible in the wake of futile attempts at mutual recognition of religious beliefs.

How history comes into the picture? It is assumed that even where there are people of different persuasions, a common sense of history will produce a common sense of nationhood. And where this is seen to be lacking, it is advocated that such a sense should be inculcated. But this would again be an attempt to achieve the possible by means which are impossible. All countries be they as small as Singapore, or as large as the USA. are inhabited by varied races and ethnic groups. In this respect there are several different strands to their historical heritage. But in none of these countries has beer, any attempt to bulldoze people into sharing a common sense of history. Instead, there has been an acknowledgment of each citizen’s individuality. That is why, though imbued with different historical feelings, the various groups lead harmonious lives and are engaged in the common cause of nation-building.

The third point concerns the acceptance of a common culture. This is wholly impracticable. Culture inevitably evolves a long historical process. It can never be imposed upon a group through any external agency. After the Second World War, a movement was launched in the USA to produce a common culture throughout the country by a process of Americanization. A similar movement was launched in Canada, but in both countries, these initiatives were a failure. Ultimately both had to abandon the idea of uncultured and came to terms with multi-culture. In India, as elsewhere, this is the only possible solution. The truth is that only practicable basis of nationhood is patriotism.

Thus, the feeling on the part of the individual or group that their future is lined with one country and one country alone: that individual success is inextricably linked with the progress of the country, that the interests of the country must be held supreme, and that if sacrifices are required for the safety or advancement of the country, they must be willingly made. Without such feelings of patriotism as hereby defined, no country ran he successfully run.

If the task of constructing the nation is to be successfully accomplished, we must rid ourselves of obsession with such impracticable concepts as unity of religion, history and culture, and should forge ahead on the same lines as Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Britain, France and America. It is desirable to launch a movement for economic unity, based on economic justice for every individual or at least the bulk of the individuals and groups.

Our prime target should be the generation of patriotism in our country. And it should be a patriotism based not on the past, but on the present and the future. The only way to do this is to instill in each and every individual a deep-rooted love (or the country. Instead of wasting time on the impossible, we should concentrate on building the kind of national character to be found in developed countries. If we set ourselves seriously to such tasks as these, we should, within the span of one generation, be able to create for ourselves the ideal nation.

We can conclude with the thoughts of the English limit Walter Scott who. in one of his poems says that a person who has no love for his native land, his soul is dead. Loving one’s country should be expressed by doing our duties sincerely, working honestly, and participating in the development of the country in whatever way we can, maintaining peace, harmony and integrity. This is what building national character is all about.

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