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PHILOSOPHY > THE MIND OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Nationalism v. Internationalism

 

Nationalism V. Internationalism

Indian Nationalism
I WANT the freedom of my country so that other countries may learn something from my free country, so that the resources of my country may be utilized for the benefit of mankind.

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.
(YI, 16-3-1921, p. 81)


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….
If I can say so without arrogance and with due humility, my message and methods are, indeed, in their essentials for the whole world and it gives me keen satisfaction to know that it has already received a wonderful response in the hearts of a large and daily-growing number of men and women in the West.
(YI, 17-9-1925, p.329)


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
My mission is not merely brotherhood of Indian humanity. My mission is not merely freedom of India, though today it undoubtedly engrosses practically the whole of my life and the whole of my time. But through realization of freedom of India I hope to realize and carry on the mission of the brotherhood of man. My patriotism is not an exclusive thing. It is all-embracing and I should reject that patriotism which sought to mount upon the distress or the exploitation of other nationalities. The conception of my patriotism is nothing if it is not always, in every case without exception, consistent with the broadest good of humanity at large. Not only that, but my religion and my patriotism derived from my religion embrace all life. I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl on earth, I want, if I want, if I don't give you a shock, to realize identity with even the crawling things upon earth, because we claim descent from the same God, and that being so, all life in whatever form it appears must be essentially one.
(YI, 4-4-1929, p. 107)


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.
(H, 17-11-1933, pp. 5-6)

Independence Vs Interdependence
Isolated independence is not the goal of the world States.It is voluntary interdependence.
(YI, 17-7-1924, p. 236)


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)

Social Inter-Relation
Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being. Without inter-relation with society, he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism. His social inter-dependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality. If man were so placed or could so place himself as to be absolutely above all dependence in this fellow-beings, he would become so proud and arrogant as to be a veritable burden and nuisance to the world. Dependence on society teaches him the lesson of humanity. That a man ought to be able to satisfy most of his essential needs himself is obvious; but it is no less obvious to me that, when self-sufficient even in respect of all the various operations from the growing of cotton too he spinning of the yarn. He has at some stage or other to take the aid of the members of his family. And if one may take help from one's own family, why not from one's neighbours? Or, otherwise, what is the significance of the great saying, ' The world is my family'? (YI, 21-3-1929, p. 93)


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)

The Individual
Individual liberty and interdependence are both essential for life in society. Only a Robinson Crusoe can afford to be all self-sufficient. When a man has done all he can for the satisfaction of has essential requirements, he will seek the co-operation of his neighbours for the rest. That will be true co-operation. (H, 31-3-1946, p.59)


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 God’s 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.
(H, 23-3-1947, p. 78)