Difference between Patriotism and Nationalism: Patriotism vs Nationalism

By | 24.05.2016

The Difference Between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does , and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does ; the first attitudecreates a feeling of responsibility while the second a feeling of blindarrogance that leads to a war.

patriotism vs nationalism

These two words Patriotism and Nationalism have been bandied aroundboth by the government, the media and the people at large for some timenow. Add to that another word that may be related in some way and thatis ‘intolerance’. In fact perhaps it is the word intolerance that hasincited the other two words. And this is in spite of articles on the BJP website which claim ‘Hindu society has an unquestionable and proudhistory of tolerance for other faiths and respect for diversity ofspiritual experiences.’

What is the meaning of nationalism?

“Nationalism Definition. The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state areof primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination.” This was nationalism definition actually you can say or write anywhere. However there are many more words to say those lines.

Three words that were not common in our vocabulary for 68 yearsafter independence have become common in everyday parlance in almostevery discussion on the ‘state of the nation’ discussion.  You almoststumble over the words thinking they may mean much the same thing.  

For example when Aamir Khan spoke about intolerance six months ago in a public forum he was dubbed unpatriotic.  And he was severelyreprimanded by the Government in public, the first telling sign of which was to remove him unceremoniously as an ambassador for ‘IncredibleIndia’.  But when Kanhaiya Kumar was released from judicial custody thejudge used the words anti-national.

“The time is ripe that while giving some concession to thepetitioner on monetary aspect for purpose of furnishing the bond, he can be required to furnish an undertaking to the effect that he will notparticipate actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national. Apart from that, as president of JNU Students Union, he will make all efforts within his power to control anti-national activities in the campus. …”

And it is not only in India that these words are becoming important. In the race for the next President in the US, whenever people refer toDonald Trump people use the words ‘new American nationalism’.  Meaningthat the old American nationalism is over.  Or perhaps the much toutedAmerican Dream is now under threat, and a new American nationalism isrequired to save the American Dream.  It is no wonder that DonaldTrump’s campaign line is ‘ Make America Great Again’.  Suggesting it isnot great anymore. 

Difference between Patriotism and Nationalism

What if any are the difference between these two words patriotism and nationalism ?  Are they being used almost interchangeably?  Do theymean different things? 
If one looks at the dictionary meaning of the two words the meanings are as follows:
Patriotism means devotion to one’s own country and concern for its defence
Nationalism is devotion, especially excessive or undiscriminatingdevotion to the interests or culture of a particular nation-state.
Nationalism and patriotism both show the relationship of a citizentowards his or her nation. The two are often confused and frequentlybelieved to mean the same thing. However, there is a vast differencebetween nationalism and patriotism.

Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage.

This is understandable given the cultural leanings of the currentIndian government.  Again an article on the BJP website actually says’Hindus are at last free.’ Suggesting that they have been imprisoned for the last 68 years after independence. The cultural inflection comesfrom thoughts like these about Hinduism that are expressed in  publicforums.

Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs.
In his Notes on Nationalism George Orwell says ‘By “patriotism” I meandevotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which onebelieves to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on otherpeople. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily andculturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseperable from thedesire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to securemore power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation orother unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.’

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