Home / Columns / Nationalism, Democracy and Patriotism. Are these antagonise each other?

Nationalism, Democracy and Patriotism. Are these antagonise each other?

Dr. Khurshi Alam 3The civil -military establishments have divided the country in to two zones; Security “guaranteed zone”, is Punjab, the other three units are security “risk zone”

Bertrand Russel says; nationalism is the basic brick of internationalism; it is stronger because, it is more natural in character. If it is out side this frame; it is fascism. Internationalism is holding of nations together by mutual peaceful co-existence. And the positive inter-nations competition is a road to global progress.

Nehru says; the strength of Indian democracy lies in its diversity.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan) says; if it violates service to humanity; it is not nationalism but fascism; which, is a devilish philosophy. And adds; my nationalism is in the name of service to humanity; God.

I derive my logical strength from the philosophy of these three legends. Not necessarily; every one should agree with my views; this is the beauty of the rights of having freedom of expression, that is; “agree to disagree.”

Russel pleads healthy competition between nations, for global progress. He further adds; even if a little changes is needed in the boundaries demarcations; it should not be resisted, to bring it closer to natural division.

The death of a language; is not only the death of a community but is the death of natural wisdom of humankind

The recent negotiated split by the parliament of Czech and Slovak without resistance on either sides; is a shining example of the victory of logic and democratic values. Their present good neighbourly relations between the two; further strengthens my belief. On the other hand; resistance by a dominant ethnic community to maintain its hegemony in Yugoslavia over others, resulted in bloodshed and disintegration; this proves the ill effects of forceful imposition of the will on the others. A shear arrogance and Bonaparte attitude.

The unity in diversity in India is the mutual acceptance of each others. The degree of diversity is phenomenal in India; as compared to Pakistan. I distinctly remember; the most violent demonstrations by students and public in Southern States of India against Hindi; chanting the slogans; we are Indians, not Hindians’. Nehru immediately turned to the parliament, all major languages were declared official and national languages of the respective states by the house, including Urdu as well.

It is the strength of democratic institutions and acceptance of the ground realities that holds countries together; those having more than one nation; in spite of staggering diversity. Compare India with Pakistan; we lost more than half of the country due to our undemocratic, non-accommodative and intolerant attitude, to accept natural realities. Our politicians conspired with army to block the path of ballot by bullet; resulting in the fall of the triangle, where Dacca was situated, without firing a single bullet; one of the three biggest surrenders in history.

Undiluted democracy is nowhere in the world; nor we are looking for it. We realise that idealism is always at the throat of realism. We know about northern Ireland; in the cradle of democracy and the undemocratic and inhuman concept of Veto in UNO; the great house of humanity has been made irrelevant. When we political workers talk or write; we are always talking in relative terms not absoluteness. It is not a mathematical concept but a social science, we are not oblivious to the realities.

Religion is the basic ingredient of Ummah, not nation. Ummah derives its strength from divinity; while nation derives its strength from ancestry and culture

Democracy is by no means the best system; but a better system out of all existing systems. It empower the masses to delegate their power to a collective leadership, in the form of institutions. Its aim is to protect the individual as well as national rights and dignity. It ensures; that the people mandate is not marginalised or compromised in any way.

If more than one nation are residing in a single geographical entity, called a country, then it is an imperative to have a federal or confederal system; to satisfy every nation. The devolution of power is decided by collective leadership, aims at the roots, to broaden the base and to give the people feelings of participation through local governments; that should be elected before general elections. It is the only way to deter army. The broader the base and the thinner the supra structure, makes a stronger and efficient government. Nehru started his political life from local governments. Mr Regan said,” the fatter the government, the weaker is the public say.

In UK; Scots has their parliament, even the currency is separate, to stop the flight of the capital. Irish has their own parliament and now Welsh are demanding more devolution; on the pattern of the “city government of Barcelona” in Spain, completely autonomous, having their own language and a parliament; has even more power than Scottish parliament. Scottish nationalism has gained more momentum after the exploration of North Sea oil.

If the rulers are subjugating a nation in the name of democracy or religion; it is a rape of democracy

Though the nationalist Scottish party (SNP) is in power; two referendums were held for independence but could not succeed. Even there was a referendum on toothless monarchy of Britain. The city government of Monaco in France, Gibraltar in Portugal are other examples. The respective central government devolves power to these cities. Our 18th Amendment; is still taxing on the runway, and rarely takes off; when the sacred cow of Pakistan is hurt; which is a house to the HQs of the Radicals and rogue elements.

USA is a union of states working in the frame of federation except Dallas; which is a confederate. The tolerant societies don’t make mountain out of a mole but tailor democratic values according to their objective conditions and peacefully resolve their problems in the house.

Even in India, Indian held Kashmir; has more state autonomy than the rest of the states in India. “If they are denied the right of independence; why they should opt for Pakistan; says the late Justice Dr Javed Iqbal; son of Allama Iqba, in an interview?”

In spite of the devolution of power in UK; the Scots and Welsh do come on TV and vent their views freely; no one is called traitor or agent of France. The iron lid on genuine demands lead to emotions and sends people to mountains.

The Union Jack is not the flag of all four nations internally; every nation has its own flag and their teams take part in international events like Olympics; under their flag.

Patriotism; is a totally different concept. According to Oxford dictionary it is essentially a natural sentimental attachment to one’s ancestry, land, culture, habits, history and language. The Patriotism should not be confused with allegiance to the country. A person or a community could be patriot and at the same time having allegiance or no allegiance to a country where it resides; depending on feeling of fair-deal about its national and individual dignity. And state should be an honest broker to develop each nation uniformly, in every sense. Each nation has equal rights, in all other subjects lying with the federal government. The upper house holds the key; that no nation becomes the causality of the injustice. Do we have it? The long boots or Jinnah cap has the same mind set. So the system becomes irrelevant and invites military intervention and destability;

A country with multiple nations is just like a bouquet of flowers with different colours, smell and instincts, adding beauty, cultural richness and variety to the country, which is reflected to the outside world. Encroachment of one on the others, disturb the balance and results in anarchy.

The system has created anti- establishment revolutionaries. They are demanding national rights and the rulers are offering packages. Is it not an annoying joke?

It is like different pillars of a democratic state; independent of each other but still supplementing and facilitating each other. If there is any encroachment or antagonism with each other, state is bound to bog down. We do realise the strength of the heavy weights; described by Dr Tariq Ali; an adult spine fitted in an infant. A sick state is an international liability; the most recent example is the refusal of F-16 by USA and our inability to get them without subsidy. Are we destined to survive on subsidies?

According to Wiki dictionary, the language is put at the end; there is no such race or nation in the world, with no small communities in it. And it is enshrined in UNO charter that they should be given their due status and enjoy the same protection as enjoyed by the biggest linguistic community; like we were asked by UNO to protect the Kailash ethnicity and religious character; in Chitral. No community should be denied the right, to have education in their mother tongue and should have the right to promote their language and culture. It is the basic responsibility of a state to provide protection and security with freedom to its citizens to practice its faith and promote their culture in accordance to UN charter. Pakistan is signatory to it.

The death of a language; is not only the death of a community but is the death of natural wisdom of humankind; according to the journal of; The Young Scientist, University of Cambridge. There were more than 60,000 thousands languages before the era of colonialism and imperialism. Cultural imperialism started long before the economical imperialism and now roughly six thousands languages are left. There must be freedom of expression, religious and ethnic tolerance; enshrined in the constitution. Estonia is the recent example who stood up against the red army; once got independence; the socialist won the election. It tells us that with economical democracy, the cultural democracy is equally important.

Religion is the basic ingredient of Ummah, not nation. Ummah is the union of nations believing in a single faith. Ummah derives its strength from divinity; while nation derives its strength from ancestry and culture.

The above facts are evidence based proofs; that nationalism, democracy and patriotism is in no way contradictive to each other but rather facilitating and complementing each other. If the rulers are subjugating a nation in the name of democracy or religion; it is a rape of democracy.

It is an abundantly clear; that fault lies in the system of governance and the denial of hard realities on the ground. I don’t think that the present political and economical instability of Pakistan is irreparable. Human mind is a great engine to solve any problem, if those in power is ready to change their mind set.

We must get rid of the ideology of Pakistan. It is a word coined during Ayub era. The Allah- Abad Khutba, the speech of M.A.Jinnah; should be the preamble of our constitution.

A union of states of Pakistan; each nations has its own rights; protected and safeguarded in the constitution, is the only way out of the miss created by the rulers of the past, civil and military both.

The individual should be replaced by institution. And Geo-economical and Geo- strategic gains or losses should be shared by all. No state (province) should have the monopoly of all pillars of the state. A state with no historical, cultural, economical, religious exploitation; where the educational institutions are not producing radicals or rogues elements; but scientists in all fields.

All states are equal in status, their share may vary according to population or area. We have no objection if Pakistan is milking its geostrategic cow; but the milk and its by-products belongs to all.

The world has changed tremendously; the strength of a country does not lie in the stock pile of nuclear or conventional weapons. The state derives its strength and international respect from political and economical stability. It is unfair that all inland revenue and foreign loans and aid is invested in one nation and repayment is the collective responsibility of all. In my view; it is the duty of the state to inculcate the feelings of allegiance in its citizens and let the patriotism flourish in each nation, to provide a broad base to cultural and political stability.

The devolution of power to the roots, instead of corruption, is the key to the growth of democratic values. Law for all, accountability of all, security for all and cultural, social, economical prosperity for all. Hate for none and love for all. To me it is un-natural that in the name of religion, ideology of Pakistan; one should be allowed to exploit the others on any pretext.

After 67 years of exploitation; we are being bombarded by our media about three mega economic projects making a part of the country prosperous and we are asked to keep mum, so that the system is not derailed. If our fears are unfounded, then why so much secrecy and mystery around it; why not to be discussed in the house. Every resident of Pakistan has to know his share to get the feeling of citizenship of Pakistan. If I have to leave my sweet home to earn bread for my children; it does not matter for me whether I am in Karachi, Dubai, Riyadh or London.

There can be no investments in the country unless there is peace and security, Panama gate has revealed enough information’s. The establishment is carrying out proper war on terror in three provinces but cannot do it in ONE province; where the factories of radicalisation are situated. As for the three provinces are concerned the 18th amendment is still taxing on the runway when it comes to Punjab, it is in action. A system is good or bad is of least importance unless it delivers good or bad to all equally; without discrimination.

The civil -military establishments have divided the country in to two zones; Security “guaranteed zone”, is Punjab, the other three units are security “risk zone”. Was it not a fact that a Baloch P.M. was sent home; not to know about a secret pact with Saudi Arabia and the USA? The other PM was imported; who was US citizen but was hailing from security proof zone. Mr Rahman Malik calls Punjab the mainland and the others are hinterland in his view.

The blood of different nations should not be price tagged differently. No one should be introduced to the world as terrorist or Indian agent because the fault lies in the system. The system has created anti- establishment revolutionaries. They are demanding national rights and the rulers are offering packages. Is it not an annoying joke?

If in initial days; the rulers were doing stupidities, they were imported rulers. Now the present lot whether competent or not, but are the sons of the soil but have to change their mind set. I do realise we have a fledgling civil rule, the real democracy is yet to be born but some one, sometime, has to take the first step in right direction. Pakistan is the only country; where the local bodies election are held after general elections just to politicise and corrupt it. Nothing should bypass the parliament. APCs and individual relation must be stopped.

After all; when we have to prove that we are a union of nations in a shared country, sharing good or bad days in unity and not the midnight children or not residents but citizens.

Writer: Prof.(Dr) Khurshid Alam

The writer is a columnist with THE PASHTUN TIMES. He can be reached at



About The Pashtun Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Check Also

Censorship footprints in Pakistan and ‘The Lives of Others’ movie

In today’s Pakistan, essential freedoms are being curbed, both openly and covertly ...