Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Nationalism and Internationalism in The Modern World” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Nationalism and Internationalism in The Modern World” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Nationalism and Internationalism in The Modern World

The question has often been raised whether nationalism and internationalism are compatible with each other or not. There is no inconsistency if a person who loves his own country also loves his neighbours. The love of one’s own country does not demand the hatred of others. So, nationalism can help international peace and understanding. But narrow nationalism, the feeling of “My country, right or wrong” is bound to result in international conflicts.

Humanity has reached the very brink of disaster due to the two world wars fought from motives of narrow nationalism. Either the menace of nationalism should be checked so as to give place to large-hearted internationalism or humanity should gird up its loins to face the third world war. But a. third war will mean the annihilation of humanity. Victory or defeat, the final outcome will not be of much consequence to the conquerors. In view of the wholesale world-wide destruction resulting from atomic warfare, at the end of the third world war, the victor and the vanquished will be in the same graveyard.

With the decay of feudal society and the ambitious imperialism of Catholic Christianity, the force of nationalism began to make its head-way at the dawn bf modern age. The force of nationalism was very healthy and wholesome in as much as it proved to be the turning point in human history. It put the personality of the common man, his individuality and his liberty on the map of social and political equality. In fact nationalism rescued man from the abjectness of eternal moral servitude and political slavery. It gave the people of different countries a new science, new sense of unity and a new source of inspiration for advancing culture, civilisation and knowledge. The autonomy of the intellect was rendered possible only because the atmosphere of freedom and fraternity was created by nationalism. It introduced the spirit of healthy criticism, competition and rivalry. Thus, it has been a great spur to all individual and collective efforts since the days of the Tudors in England (sixteenth century). Every nation in Europe tried to develop its resources and its stature to the full. As a result there was great social, political, economic and scientific activity all over Europe. Some of the advanced and ambitious nations of Europe were successful even in building up empires. Thus, the European nations became very prosperous, affluent civilised and powerful.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the process of national development had crossed the limits of peaceful evolution. Competition and rivalry gave way to greed and jealousy. The spirit of self-discipline and self-confidence was transformed into the spirit of aggressive domination of the world. Nations became obsessed with complexes of superiority and inferiority. Some, like the Germans, were intoxicated with the might of their military organisation. Nationalism became explosive. The ideas of goodness, decency and “live and let live” disappeared from the minds of the nations. The scramble for empire-building began near about 1875 with the result that in 1914 the first world war was precipitated. Then it was realised that nationalism, had ceased to be the force for the good of humanity. Still the cupidity of the nations persisted even in the Councils of the League of Nations. The result was that the Second World War followed close upon the heels of the first and aggressive nationalism of Germany kept the world engulfed in flames of war right up to the middle of the twentieth century (1945). At the end of the Second World War, it was found to ruin humanity. So the United Nations Organisation was formed to inculcate internationalism in the mind of the world. Unfortunately, the evil of petty nationalism is not yet a spent force. If it discarded its  grab of racialism, it put on the new cloaks of economic theories of capitalism and communism. The issue now is whether internationalism is going to assert its sway over the minds of men or nationalism will continue to dominate them. In political science, it is the issue of sovereignty. Must sovereignty be identified with the nation-state or the world-state? That is the question.

Internationalism too has got a very long history. The earliest philosophy of internationalism was propounded by the great religions of the world. All over the world man is the brother of man. As such man should live in peace and harmony with his brother. But the narrow condition was that man should live under the aegis of the principle of religions. If there had been only one religion in the world, man would have lived in peace and harmony. But there were different religions, giving the same message but disputing the authority of one another. The result was that religion became a disrupting force instead of a unifying force. It was upon the ashes of religious world-community that nationalism built its own castles. Not until the middle of the twentieth century was it realised scientifically, economically, politically, culturally and socially that internationalism was absolutely essential if humanity was to exist in the world. Various attempts in various forums have been made to inculcate internationalism in the minds of men. The League of Nations and its predecessors sought to build up the edifice of internationalism on the foundation of political agreements of International law. But treaties and political agreements were treated as “scraps of paper”. International law had no sanction of force behind it. The results achieved by the League of Nations and its predecessors were, therefore, very meager, almost nil. The United Nations are trying to learn from the errors of the past and seeking to put internationalism on very firm grounds by changing International law with the notions of force.

In the Charter of the UNO, there is an article which envisages the building up of an international army for preserving peace in the world. There is another suggestion that combination of the ‘Big Five’ (Britain, Russia, America, China and France) should be enough for preserving peace of the world. There is yet another suggestion that there should be a single Federal Government all over the world with local autonomy in the countries. But according to Mahatma Gandhi, unless internationalism is put on a moral and spiritual basis and is implanted in the hearts of men directly and indirectly through social and educational channels, it will remain flimsy and fragile.

The idea of an international army sounds well enough but the insurmountable difficulties of building up such an army are so great that it cannot be of much practical worth in securing international peace and promoting spiritual and cultural internationalism. Nationalism is based upon the idea of sovereignty of nation-states. Unless the sovereignty of the nation-states is surrendered by each and every nation of the world to the cause of one-world government, the idea can never materialise. The question of national sovereignty is so bound up with deep human feelings and sentiments that unless the mind of man is given a new orientation, it is difficult to see how nationalism can change its psychology. So the building up of an international army also ultimately depends upon individual and collective sentiments. It is, therefore, more a problem of culture and education than that of government action. Even if it is assumed against the principle’ of ethnology, that an international army can be created by political mechanics, it is difficult to see how the police system of the world government will be able to keep people under long subjugation. In fact, it will create the problem of a police state, rather of a military state on a world-wide scale. Such government, even if it is established and run successfully will not be democratic because democracy essentially implies the rule of the people by the people and for the people.

As regards the development of internationalism through the UNO, it must depend upon harmony among the ‘Big Five’. But the `Big Five’, as we all know, are at loggerheads with one another. Thus, it does not appear that the UNO has any bright chances of success, of cultivating, in peaceful manner, genuine internationalism among the people of the world. It appears that it is going to fail even more miserably than its predecessor, the League of Nations.

The Gandhian way of establishing internationalism by power of love, truth and non-violence is ideally the best. It will transform the minds of men through culture and education. Internationalism will have permanent roots in the heart of the individual. But unfortunately the ideals and the competitive civilisation of the West offer the toughest hurdles to the progress of the Gandhian ideals. The Gandhian ideology is in the weak hands of Indian nation. That India has made rapid and long strides in the international councils is true, still she has not attained stature high enough to keep international tempers under control.

Nationalism, therefore, is a curse to humanity. Undoubtedly, it has rendered a very great service to modern civilisation but now it has lost its utility. It has become a diabolical force. It must, therefore, be checked with all speed and in every manner possible. It must be made to accommodate itself to internationalism or better still to transform itself into internationalism. The process of transformation, whether evolutionary or revolutionary, must be brought about immediately.


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