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PHILOSOPHY > THE MIND OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Nationalism v. Internationalism
Nationalism V. Internationalism
Just as the cult of patriotism teaches us today that the individual has to die for the family, the family has to die for the village, the village for the district, the district for the province, and the province for the country, even so country has to be free in order that it may die, if necessary, for the benefit of the world. My love, therefore, of nationalism or my idea of nationalism is that my country may become free, that if need be the whole of the country may die, so that the human race may live. There is no room for race hatred there. Let that be our nationalism. (GIV, p. 171)
Our nationalism can be no peril to other nations in as much as we will exploit none, just as we will allow none to exploit us. Through Swaraj we will serve the whole world. (YI, 16-4-1931, p. 79)
For me patriotism is the same as humanity. I am patriotic because I am human and humane. If is not exclusive, I will not hurt England or Germany to serve India. Imperialism has no place in my scheme of life. The law of a patriot is not different from that of the patriarch. And a patriot is so much the less patriot if he is a Luke-warm humanitarian. There is no conflict between private and political law.
It is impossible for one to be internationalist without being a nationalist. Internationalism is possible only when nationalism becomes a fact, i.e., when peoples belonging to different countries have organized themselves and are able to act as one man. It is not nationalism that is evil, it is the narrowness, selfishness, exclusiveness which is the bane of modern nations which is evil. Each wants to profit at the expense of, and rise on the ruin of, the other. Indian nationalism has struck a different path. It wants to organize itself or to find full self-expression for the benefit and service of humanity at large God having cast my lot in the midst of the people of India, I should be untrue to my Maker if I failed to serve them. If I do not know how to serve them I shall never know how to serve humanity. And I cannot possibly go wrong so long as I do not harm other nations in the act of serving my county. (YI, 18-6-1925, p. 211)
India Embraces Humanity
I do want to think in terms of the whole world. My patriotism includes the gook of mankind in general. Therefore, my service of India includes the service of humanity . The whole scheme for the liberation of India is based upon the development of internal strength. It is a plan of self-purification. The peoples of the West, therefore, can best help the Indian movement by setting apart specialists to study the inwardness of it. Let the specialists come to India with an open mind and in a spirit of humility as befits a searcher after Truth
I believe in thought-power more than in the power of the word, whether written or spoken. And if the movement that I seek to represent has vitality in it and has divine blessing upon it, it will permeate the whole world without my physical presence in its different parts
With my limitations of which I am painfully conscious, I feel somehow that my experiment must be restricted to a fragment. What may be true of the fragment is likely to be true of the whole . I am pining for the assistance of the whole world. I see it coming . But I know that we shall have to deserve it before it comes upon us like a mighty flood, a flood that cleanses and invigorates. (ibid, p. 322)
Goal Of Brotherhood
I am a humble servant of India and, in trying to serve India, I serve humanity at large. I discovered in my early days that the service of India is not inconsistent with the service of humanity. As I grew older in years and, I hope, in wisdom, I saw that the discovery was well-made and, after nearly 50 years of public life, I am able to say today that my faith in the doctrine that the service of one's nation is not inconsistent with the service of the world has grown. It is a good doctrine. Its acceptance alone will ease the situation in the world and stop the mutual jealousies between nations inhabiting this globe of ours.
Independence Vs Interdependence
The better mind of the world desires today not absolutely independent states warring one against another, but a federation of friendly interdependent states. The consummation of that event may be far off. I want to make no grand claim for our country. But I see nothing grand or impossible about our expressing our readiness for universal interdependence rather than independence . I desire the ability to be totally independent without asserting the independence. Any scheme that I would frame, while Britain declares her goal about India to be complete equality within the Empire, would be that of alliance and not of independence without alliance. (YI, 26-12-1924, p. 425)
Let us not forget that it is man's social nature which distinguishes him from the brute creation. If it is his privilege to be independent, it is equality his duty to be interdependent. Only an arrogant man will claim to be independent of everybody else and be self-contained. (YI, 25-4-1929, p. 135)
Searching of self ennobles, searching of others debases. [We] should learn the art and virtue of corporate life, in which the circumference of co-operation is ever-widening till at last it encircles the whole human race. (H, 14-12-1947, p. 465)
There is not a single virtue which aims at, or is content with, the welfare of the individual alone. Conversely, there is not a single offence which does not, directly or indirectly, affect many others besides the actual offender. Hence, whether and individual is good or bad is not merely his own concern, but really the concern of the whole community, nay, of the whole world. (ER, p. 35)
Mankind is one, seeing that all are equally subject to the moral law. All men are equal in Gods eyes. There are, of course, differences of race and status and the like, but the higher the status of a man, the greater is his responsibility. (ibid, p. 57)
I do not believe that an individual may gain spiritually and those who surround him suffer. I believe in ADVAITA, I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him and, if one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent. (YI, 4-12-1924, p. 398)
The logical conclusion of self-sacrifice is that the individual sacrifices himself for the community, the community sacrifices himself itself for the district, the district for the province, the province for the nation, and the nation for the world. A drop torn from the ocean perishes without doing any good. If it remains a part of the ocean, it shares the glory of carrying on its bosom a fleet of mighty ships.