What are Gandhi’s views on nationalism and internationalism?

What are Gandhi’s views on nationalism and internationalism? How does he reconcile the two?

Mahatma Gandhi had a complex and nuanced view on nationalism and internationalism. On the one hand, he believed in the importance of nationalism as a means of uniting people around a common identity and achieving political independence. On the other hand, he recognized that excessive nationalism could lead to conflict and division, and that true freedom and justice could only be achieved through a commitment to internationalism.

Gandhi believed that nationalism was necessary to achieve India's independence from British colonial rule, and he encouraged Indians to take pride in their national identity and culture. However, he also cautioned against the dangers of excessive nationalism and warned that it could lead to intolerance, violence, and war.

At the same time, Gandhi believed in the importance of internationalism and saw it as a means of promoting peace, cooperation, and understanding between nations. He believed that all people were part of a common humanity and that we had a moral duty to help each other and work together for the common good.

Gandhi reconciled the two by advocating for a form of nationalism that was inclusive and respectful of other cultures and nations. He believed that true freedom could only be achieved through nonviolent means and that the struggle for justice was not limited to one country or one person. He encouraged Indians to work towards their independence while also supporting other struggles for freedom and justice around the world.

In summary, Gandhi saw nationalism and internationalism as complementary rather than opposed, and he believed that a healthy form of nationalism could be compatible with a commitment to internationalism and a broader sense of human solidarity.

Gandhi saw a very close link between nationalism and internationalism. His belief was that internationalism could grow only out of true nationalism. Service for one’s nation was not inconsistent with service for the world. One must be a nationalist. One could not serve humanity unless one knew to serve his own country. Nationalism was not evil. It was the narrowness, selfishness, and exclusiveness which were the curses of modern nations. It was indeed narrow nationalism that desired self-enrichment at the expense of the other nations.

India should follow a path different from that of other nations. Thus Gandhi’s concept of nationalism was not the customary exclusive concept. It was not intended to harm any other nation or individual. He asserted that his patriotism was not an exclusive thing. It was an all-embracing concept. He rejected that nationalism which sought to build on the destruction or the exploitation of other nationalities, as a dangerous phenomenon. His concept of patriotism was worth nothing as it was consistent with the general good of mankind as a whole. Thus right nationalism could not become a danger to other nations and it would not harm any other nation.

He believed that nationalism and internationalism were indeed complementary. True nationalism would never be a hindrance to the service of humanity as a whole. Each nation ought to extend its services to its neighbors because God did not make these frontiers. One country should not think of enjoying its freedom at the expense of other countries. 

He asserted that people who lived in India should be proud to call themselves the sons and daughters of the same country and should be entitled to a perfect equality in the eyes of the law of the land. Religion, he pointed out was no test of one’s nationality but a personal matter between man and God. Viewed from the angle of nationality, the people of India are Indians first and Indians last, whatever may be their religious beliefs.

Gandhi believed that the goal of political independence was only a first step towards true freedom, which required the dismantling of systems of oppression and inequality both within India and on a global level. He saw internationalism as a way to build solidarity between oppressed peoples and to promote a shared vision of a world free from exploitation and domination.

One way that Gandhi reconciled nationalism and internationalism was through his philosophy of satyagraha, or nonviolent resistance. He believed that nonviolent resistance could be used to challenge oppressive systems and bring about social and political change both within and beyond national boundaries. Through satyagraha, Gandhi hoped to create a more just and peaceful world, where all people could live with dignity and respect.

In his later years, Gandhi became increasingly focused on building bridges between different cultures and religions, and he saw the pursuit of truth and nonviolence as a way to bring people together. He continued to advocate for the importance of nationalism as a means of fostering pride and self-respect, but he also emphasized the need to transcend national boundaries and work towards a shared vision of human liberation.

In summary, Gandhi's views on nationalism and internationalism were complex and nuanced, and he saw the two as complementary rather than opposed. He believed in the importance of nationalism as a means of achieving political independence and fostering a sense of identity and pride, but he also recognized the dangers of excessive nationalism and emphasized the need for a broader commitment to internationalism and human solidarity. Through his philosophy of satyagraha and his emphasis on nonviolent resistance and the pursuit of truth, Gandhi sought to reconcile nationalism and internationalism and to build a more just and peaceful world for all people.

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