Rudyard Kipling, the prophet of modern Imperialism, has a poem named ‘Sussex by the Sea in which he sings of the origin and cause of one’s love of one’s own land of birth. In spite of his imperialistic idealism, the poem gives a better idea of patriotism than most of his barrack room ballads in which he seems to lay aside the true reality of patriotism in his remarks about the lesser broads without the law’. In ‘Lossex’ he sings:
“God gave all men all earth to love, But since our hearts are small,
Ordained for each one spot should prove,
Beloved over all, That as he watched Creation’s birth,
So we in godlike mood, May of our love create our earth,
And see that it is good.”
These lines contain the truth about patriotism in its wider sense as well as its minor sense of local patriotism. But as is so of ten the case in the application of universal truths of human problems, it is the latter and less important side of patriotism that is causing much of the misunderstanding and the resultant complication between the different countries of the world. Patriotism in the literal sense of love for one’s own father and or mother land has narrowed down the limits of human sympathy and out look on mankind as a whole. Doctor Johnson said that politics is the last refuge of the scoundrel, and if he had substitute patriotism for politics, his legislative remark s characteristics of all his famous sayings would have applied more fittingly to the use (or abuse) of patriotism as it is preached and practiced in our world. How often do we not hear or misguided patriotism of the type exampled in such saying as My country right or wrong or the words of Machiavelli, I prefer my country to the salvation of my soul? For patriotism is dwindling into jingoism and chauvinistic nonsense as was proved in the last European war and is proving today again in the present war. The racial perversion of the German Dictator’s policy and the equally imperialistic aggression of the Italian Dictator are responsible for the cataclysmic upheaval that has descended upon our world today. It is no less apparent in some parts and parties of our own country to whom anything up-Indian is by itself an anathema and a taboo. It is to correct such misapprehensions of patriotism that endeavors should be made. For on that correction and co-ordination of the implications of patriotism depends the safety and security of modern civilization.
True patriotism and its implications
Real patriotism is both practical necessity as well as a human ideal worth striving to attain and materialize. For the very foundations of civilization and culture rest upon that local settlement of human communities in different geographical areas of the world which brought about the idea of a home and all that it implies in our human relations extending to social ties and obligations To the tribes of antiquity wandering after fresh pastures and hunting grounds it was not possible to have any ideal of a loyalty or attachment towards any particular territory or home. And it was with settlement on specific territory groups that the rudiments of civilization began; and having once settled in communities the attachment towards them grew into love and loyalty which bound them by invisible and visible ties woven round the hearth and the home and associations of early memories of childhood. Thus originated the idea of patriotism and this was further strengthened by the positive instinct which is so deep rooted in human nature that it is possible even in the twentieth century for a great novelist to write a whole saga on its results and reactions in its English version of civilization. In this way, an attachment to a particular territory and a human group arose out of a practical need of human nature in the old days. But throughout the course of human history this natural and legitimate loyalty to a group of human history this natural and legitimate loyalty to a group of human society has degenerated into narrow conception of rigid a loyalty to a state or a country or a race with the result that love of one’s own country has very often been interpreted of hatred of other’s countries. It was this perversion of patriotic loyalty that led a famous Nurse to pronounce that Patriotism is not enough. The difficulty of the problem of patriotism is rendered almost in soluble by the blending in its idea of noble and ignoble sentiments parading as patriotism whereas the real motive behind such a attitude is, as psychologists remind us, nothing short of personal aggression born of repressed, hatred and jealousies. The moral an arch-ism which this blend inevitably brings about it well-illustrated when war is declared between any two nations or groups of nations For in such cases we always witness the strange, paradoxical situation that makes each nation justly its aggression by an appeal not only to patriotism but to God himself who is invoked to kill his own children. Nothing more ironical could be ever witnessed. thing can never be true and false at one and the same time, as sim A plelogic tells us and yet the combatants in any war claim that could be so when they resort to the ignoble side of patriotism.
Dangers of abuse of patriotism
No political diplomacy has yet been able to solve this perversion of patriotism in human affairs. Socialism wish its insistence on the uncompromising attitude of state authority, democracy with its equally uncompromising insistence on individual freedom and its decision by majority, (for it is possible, as Bernard Shaw puts is that the majority may be one of fools)-none of the political ideals of our country is capable of shifting the idea of patriotism from its dross of personal aggression and narrow interests of social and racial groups. If patriotism is ever to assume its novel aspect which it undoubtedly possesses as its own, we need to revise our version of it as merely local and territorial loyalty to wards specific countries or nations or states. We have to spiritualise the idea of patriotism and make it conform to something like that citizenship of the world which Oliver Goldsmith long ago wrote about.
In a word ,we need to widen our outlook and deepen our sympathies towards the whole family of mankind and to regard this planet of our as an experimental ground, a replica of that kingdom of Heaven of which Socrates spoke at his tragic trial. Only by thus changing our outlook and readjusting our mental and moral conception could we ever hope to realise the destiny of man kind on this earth? For patriotism like charity, does begin at home but the home of our earthly existence is only a wider home of the human race which is our earth. Individual miniature of the loyalties and attachments do require ground for exercise and development, and it is only with such a purpose that we should regard our homes or countries. But let us not limit that loyalty and attachment to particular territorial units when conflicts arise bet ween us. In that alone lies the salvation of our race and that of our civilization.