I happen to hear a talk by the eminent historian Ramchandra Guha. (If you have time, do watch that and forget my blog article). I was very impressed by the concept called constitutional patriotism used by him. He mentions about 4 values of our constitution, like democracy, equality (no caste or other differences),pluralism of all forms and desire for economic self-reliance. Based on these, he defines constitutional patriotism which is characterized by 5 features.
- Acknowledgement and appreciation of the pluralism existing in the country.
- Recognition that patriotism could be practiced at multiple levels. (I find this very significant today)
- Recognition that no state/religion/culture is perfect and flawless; thus there is no doubt on the necessity for porous boundaries and inter-connectedness.
- Ability to feel shame at the failures of our society, culture and traditions and a willingness to correct them. (No past glorification for political gains)
- Ability to root in our own culture with a readiness to learn from others (roots and wings)
Guha would say we have forgotten this understanding, which is stemming from the Indian way of nationalism and are trying to adapt the old european style of nationalism, (which he says was also accepted by Pakistan) and we are trying to accept it. It privileges one language, one religion and one enemy. France and England practiced it in the 19th century and we are trying to adapt it for our own now.
His comparison between the Indian style of nationalism (with constitutional patriotism) and Old European style of nationalism can teach many lessons, even in fields other than politics. The points could be adapted for applications in spirituality and religion.