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Nationalism Can't be Imposed, Attempts to Redefine it Unnecessary: Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee dwelled on the idea of India and said that territory, monarch, temporal and spiritual authority did not define nationalism in India.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:October 17, 2017, 5:19 PM IST
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Nationalism Can't be Imposed, Attempts to Redefine it Unnecessary: Pranab Mukherjee
A file photo of President Pranab Mukherjee. (PTI)
Aligarh: Indian nationalism is not like the concept of European nation states and attempts to redefine it are unnecessary, said former President of India Pranab Mukherjee at Aligarh Muslim University on Tuesday. Mukherjee was addressing the bi-centenary celebrations of the founder of Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

“There have been attempts from time-to-time to redefine definitions of nationalism. According to me, such attempts are unnecessary since our concepts of nationalism and national identity predate the modern-postmodern constructs of identity. The concept of nationalism in the context of European nation states is a new phenomenon in Indian civilization,” the former President said.

Mukherjee dwelled on the idea of India and said that territory, monarch, temporal and spiritual authority did not define nationalism in India. He added that nationalism could not be imposed by law or implemented by decree or be enforced by a dictum.

“What is India? The vast land of around 3.3 million kilometers, with people practicing seven religions every day, speaking 100 languages in daily life, bound by one Constitution, one flag, one identity. That is India,” Mukherjee said.

He also touched upon the modern structure of the government of India, saying that the British tried to enact the foundation of Indian statehood in their concept.

“Indian statehood is believed to have been in existence since long. This India civilization is society-oriented and not politically dominated,” he said.

Addressing the gathering, Mukherjee asked the students to take a cue from Khan’s scientific prowess and temperament. Referring to institutes like IITs, IIMs, NIITs and IISERs, he said the goal should not just be about acquiring a comfortable livelihood but to pursue research and make “India a knowledge society.”

Mukherjee also said that many of the Nobel laureates from India won the prestigious honour for doing research outside India. It’s always important to fall back on basic research, he said.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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