NCERT Solutions for Class 11th: Ch 7 Nationalism Political Science Political Theory


Page No: 110

1. How is a nation different from other forms of collective belonging?


• A nation is not any casual collection of people. At the same time it is also different from other groups or communities found in human society.

• Nation is different from the family which is based on face-to-face relationships with each member having direct personal knowledge of the identity and character of others.

• Nation is also different from tribes and clans and other kinship groups in which ties of marriage and
descent link members to each other so that even if we do not personally know all the members we can, if need be, trace the links that bind them to us.

• In nation we may never come face to face with most of our fellow nationals nor need we share ties of descent with them but nations exist, are lived in and valued by their members.

2. What do you understand by the right to national self-determination? How has this idea resulted in both formation of and challenges to nation-states?


Right to national self-determination means nations seek the right to govern themselves and determine their future development. In making this claim a nation seeks recognition and acceptance by the international community of its status as a distinct political entity or state.

Most often these claims come from people who have lived together on a given land for a long period of time and who have a sense of common identity. In some cases such claims to self-determination are linked also to the desire to form a state in which the culture of the group is protected if not privileged.

In the world today, more and more people are beginning to realise that the solution does not lie in creating new states but in making existing states more democratic and equal. That is, in ensuring that people with different cultural and ethnic identities live and co-exist as partners and equal citizens within the country. This may be essential not only for resolving problems arising from new claims for self-determination but also for building a strong and united state.

3. “We have seen that nationalism can unite people as well as divide them, liberate them as well as generate bitterness and conflict”. Illustrate your answer with examples.


Nationalism as unifying factor:

• In the 19th century Europe, the spirit of Nationalism led to the unification of a number of small kingdoms into larger nation states.

• The present day German and Italian states were formed through such a process of unification and consolidation.

Nationalism as dividing factor:

• Nationalism is also responsible for the breakup of big empires such as Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires in the early 20th century.

• Nationalism was also mainly responsible for the break up of the British, French, Dutch and Portuguese empires in Asia and Africa.

4. Neither descent, nor language, nor religion or ethnicity can claim to be a common factor in nationalisms all over the world. Comment.


Neither descent, nor language, nor religion or ethnicity can claim to be a common factor in nationalisms all over the world. It is not possible to find purity of race in a single nationality. There is in fact no common set of characteristics which is present in all nations. Many nations do not have a common language. For example, Canada that includes English speaking as well as French speaking peoples. India also has a large number of languages which are spoken in different regions and by different communities. Nor do many nations have a common religion to unite them. The same could be said of other characteristics such as race or descent.

5. Illustrate with suitable examples the factors that lead to the emergence of nationalist feelings.


• Shared Beliefs: It is to refer to the collective identity and vision for the future of a group which aspires to have an independent political existence. A nation exists when its members believe that they belong together.

• History: People who see themselves as a nation also embody a sense of continuing historical identity. They articulate for themselves a sense of their own history by drawing on collective memories, legends, historical records, to outline the continuing identity of the nation.

• Territory: Sharing a common past and living together on a particular territory over a long period of time gives people a sense of their collective identity. It helps them to imagine themselves as one people.

• Shared Political Ideals: A shared vision of the future and the collective aspiration to have an independent political existence that distinguishes groups from nations. Members of a nation share a vision of the kind of state they want to build. They affirm among other things a set of values and principles such as democracy, secularism and liberalism.

• Common Political Identity: It is desirable to imagine the nation in political rather than cultural terms. Therefore, democracies need to emphasise and expect loyalty to a set of values that may be expressed in the Constitution of the country rather than adherence to a particular religion, race or language.

6. How is a democracy more effective than authoritarian governments in dealing with conflicting nationalist aspirations?


Democracy more effective than authoritarian governments in dealing with conflicting nationalist aspirations because:

• Authoritarian governments try to force their will on the people without listening to the citizens while a democratic government respects different opinion of people and look after the needs of the citizens and ensures that people with different cultural and ethnic identities live and co-exist as
partners and equal citizens within the country.

• A nation becomes strong when its people acknowledge and fulfill their duty to their fellow members which is easily possible in a democracy than in an authoritarian government.

• An authoritarian government will create an oppressive atmosphere where minority groups may not feels safe while democracy provide a passage through which minority groups can raise their demands and also share power.

7. What do you think are the limitations of nationalism?


Limitation of Nationalism:

• Nationalism is limited to a single cultural group therefore they fail to incorporate the broader vision of inclusiveness.

• It is not possible for every cultural group to create its own nation-state therefore every nation-state state has more than one cultural group and thus they often get involved in conflicts in order to fulfill their separate nationalist aspirations and principle which is based on a desire for homogenous identity.

• In a globalised world of today, the concept of nationalism is not evaluated completely as nationalist tendencies acquire a different meaning in an inter-connected world.

Notes of Ch 7 Nationalism

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