Anuj Kapoor

Founder, Five Benches

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Do you value nationalism? Why? Will national identity get diluted in the future?

I believe that if we free our personal identities from nationality we can unleash wider and more vibrant models of society. I believe also that all institutions suffer from flaws and the nation state is no exception. Looking to the future and based on rapid developments in faster transport, wide and open access communication networks, i believe that national identity will get progressively diluted. Would you think
a. that is likely?
b. If it is, is it a good thing?

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    Oct 18 2011: Nope, I think Nationalism is a bad meme that was shaped during the romantic period, and later on abused by a lot of nationalist movements.

    I don't mind feeling collectively proud of something... that's a very normal human trait.

    But the idea: "one people, one flag, one nation" and the imposed conformity is not my cup of tea.
    Separation of nation and ideology (be it church, belief, creed, culture, maybe even language) is a necessity. Though one can and should not deny cultural elements are always present in laws of nations.

    But don't be mistaken: people will always rally under a leader, a flag, a sport-club or an ideology. Not a bad thing as such (creating a community and doing things together).
    But we should not restrict nor force people to belong to one group or the other. Let people free to decide their membership and level of involvement.
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      Oct 18 2011: Brilliant. Thats exactly right. I think while people do express themselves through and subscribe to different groups and belief systems, the national identity continues to occupy a larger space in interpreting one's or other people's identity. This can be a huge challenge to expressing one's individuality. Also, more than the school you went to or job you have, national identity seems to be one lens through which people view other's opinions. I see this eroding quite a bit in cities like London , Singapore and new york. and also a lot on social media where people tend to congregate on areas of interest more than on where one grew up. Thanks for your comment
  • Oct 28 2011: as per my view the nationalistic feeling can't be eradicated because it engraves and deeply rooted in our-self
    and tell me what are the advantages of dilution it ??????
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      Oct 28 2011: Hi, I agree that nationalistic feelings are deeply engrained in us. Is my identity however closer to say doctors if i am a doctor, are my interests better expressed by other aspects of my identity. If I am an activist speaking out against my governments policies, my interests may be better aligned with other activists more than my own contrymen/women.

      Also, there is the danger of stereo-typing a person because of their nationality. Which can be quite inhibiting to the individual. If their true personality is very different from what the stereotype associated with their nationality.
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    Oct 20 2011: I wonder if anyone else thinks nationalism is deeply engrained in geography. hard to conceive of a nation that is composed of territories spread over vast distances. Even during the clonal era, the colonisers never really perceived their colonies as another part of their own country, definitely not the population they had colonised.
  • Oct 20 2011: The advent of Statism is often touted as an alternative to nationalism but I find that it is not to my political tastses after a certain point once I passed 30 but what I retained is the value of secularism. Having grown up with family from all over the world, united in colonialism thru my British grandmother, I have found it difficult to be the child from the only branch of the immediate family that didn't go native somewhere else. It makes my sister and I the white devil children amongst the other cousins. Seriously, whiteness studies are usually nothing more than exercises in historical deconstruction that border on nihlism to me.
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      Oct 20 2011: interesting. secularism is a more open form of identity, but nationalism is something else neither entirely composed of religion or even race. thanks
      • Oct 20 2011: nationalism is a catch phrase I think. It covers culture more than it does civilization and I find that many things chalked up to secularism are Very religious in nature. Secularism is often it's own driving force, which gives it impact and depth that people associate with culture. Civic is a better word I think than secularism because it acknowledges a seperate sphere of influence that like TED events, is dedicated to non partisan views. It's the ideas that matter. I don't know that national identity gets diluted or that such a thing would be desirable across the board. I find that part of what makes society dynamic, is that not all of us are on the same page.
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    Oct 18 2011: As the product of two countries studying and living in a third, unrelated country, I could never bring myself to value nationalism. The only time that any sort of nationalistic feeling arises in me is when I feel that either country of mine is being unfairly criticized (fair criticism is otherwise encouraged). So nationalism only comes in a defensive manner, often ironically in response to the nationalist attitude of making all people of a country an exact copy of their government.

    I think nationalism is too often used as an excuse to rally up people around an idea without providing any sort of rational reason to embrace it.
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      Oct 18 2011: Agreed. i think this idea is easier understood if you have traveled and lived in different countries and experienced stereotypes and the limits it places on an individual. Thanks