Defining The New Era Patriotism – IIM Raipur

Time and again, various debates have taken place over the role of nationalist’s and patriots and people have claimed to be one or the other in different ways. While the terms nationalism and patriotism seem to connote love for one’s own nation, there is a significant difference b/w the two. Also, the two concepts have been misinterpreted and used to propagate their self-interest by various socio-political groups. Any which way, before we move further, let’s elucidate the two terms.

Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs. The sentiments are more inclined towards the idea of coexistence, with equal respect & regard for other countries. In patriotism, people all over the world are considered equal. Nationalism, on the other hand, is a feeling that one’s country is superior to another in all respects with a sentiment of superiority and aggression toward other countries. This is another tale, however, that many a time nationalism masquerades as patriotism. It’s analogous to justify interference in the ambit of caring. As quoted by George Orwell, “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”  Unlike, the nationalist, a patriot doesn’t blindly follow every decision taken by the government but logically questions it, keeping in mind the safety of people more than the false idea of keeping one’s nation powerful. For him, safety lies in peace and not war; if he’s on the winning side.

With Donald Trump having assumed the office of President, the sense of ‘nationalism’ is very clear in the tone of his addresses. He marketed himself as nothing but a patriot and people fell for it. He talked of ‘borders’ and portrayed as if he’s insinuating ‘people’.

Even the age-old example of Hitler and his acts classify as nationalism but sold to people by ingraining in their minds, the concept of patriotism. In short, prioritising nation over a job, friends, family, and your entire life. Such a demand is not being patriotic. It is being nationalistic.

Besides this distinction, another argument that is relevant here is; Can a few symbolic actions be considered a deciding factor as to who is a patriot and who is not? If we take the recent ruling of the supreme court making it mandatory to stand within closed doors of a cinema hall while the national anthem plays, is nothing but a mockery of a citizen’s patriotism. How does a mere act of willing or not willing to stand at a particular point in time, depicts how much love a person has for his country? Similarly, mandating the recital of the slogan “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” by the BJP leader Dilip Sanghvi was nothing more than an unnecessary display of ‘patriotism’. The rest  I’ll leave for you to decide. 




About the Author:

Monica Vaswani,


IIM Raipur