Today, we find it apt to remember Rabindranath Tagore, one of the greatest poet-philosophers this world has ever seen, who in his short work Nationalism, lays out his views on what India is, what India's strength is, what kind of a unity is good for India, and what kind not. Here's an extract from that work:
In my country, we have been seeking to find out something common to all the races, which will prove their real unity. No nation looking for a mere political or commercial basis of unity will find such a solution sufficient. Men of thought and power will discover the spiritual unity, will realize it and preach it.How wrong it is to assume that the whole of India is one race! How wrong it is to assume that there always existed a political unity in India! How wrong it is to believe Indians have had a sense of nationalism from time immemorial!
India has never had a real sense of nationalism. Even though from childhood I had been taught that the idolatry of Nation is almost better than reverence for God and humanity, I believe I have outgrown that teaching, and it is my conviction that my countrymen will gain truly their India by fighting against that education which teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity.
How wrong it is to impose a false sense of material unity at the cost of polluting the minds of "men of thought and power" and thereby destroying the discovery of a spiritual unity in India!
How wrong it is to walk around with the flawed thinking that the idolatry of a Bharatmata is almost "better than the reverence for God and humanity"! How wrong it is to refuse to see the diversity of India's languages! How wrong it is to impose an un-imposable material unity by way of forcing Hindi upon non-Hindi speakers of India! How wrong it is to make inhuman laws and policies related to education and employment, those which exclude most of India than include (because of a flawed understanding of India)! How wrong it is to believe that the limited India of the definition of a few is greater than the ideals of humanity - ideals which necessitate the eradication of poverty and hunger in the different linguistic peoples of India!
Yes, this too, shall pass on the way to India's glory.
It will not come to pass, of course, without the efforts of "men of thought and power". Today, let us take a vow to become those men and women - irrespective of our domiciles, backgrounds and affiliations. Let's take a vow to become those real men and women and outgrow the false education which teaches that there exists or must exist a material unity in India - at the cost of its spiritual unity! Let us make that promise today!