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The nation state and the religion

In modern world, these two concepts encompass a lot of mental space. The two somehow always make to the discussion tables from jingoistic prime time tv shows to living rooms of common citizens. Infact, the word citizen interpolates from the concept of nation state itself. The concept of a nation state is itself an aftermath of end of imperialistic era. It is true that even before colonial times people lived under governments of some kind whose frontiers of control used to be very fluid. Most of the times, governmental control was defined by populations rather than land areas. However in the post modern era, nation states are defying these traditional explanation and manyatimes take very rigid borders even to the extent images of a very dieties. The portrayal of India as a goddess which started appearing from the early years of twentieth century is an example in point. Brexit and Trump`s “Make America great again” very clearly expound this thought of thinking a country as a very clearly defined entity separate from its counterparts. Further, alluding the point is the assumption of every believer of nation states is that for somehow the best nation in world. In this context “mera bharat mahan”, “Pak sarzameen shadman” and again Trumps “make America great again” provide excellent examples. It is very natural to love ones country much like one`s love for his home but the assumption of one`s country superseding all others runs out of arguments. Paradoxically enough, we never boast of our homes being better than someone else`s. It is very clear from the post modern poltical scene that nation states provide for more than an administrative arrangement to its citizens. It instills a false sense of pride in its citizens so as to justify its control over them.

Religion on the other hand has existed from the very existence of humans themselves. The cave paintings of pre historic times in various parts of world imply some sort of faith in some deity from those very times. While research holds that the most earlier faiths were monolithic in nature Hinduism claims to be worlds oldest religion. At the same time, the Abrahamic faiths trace the origin of humanity on earth to the defiance of commandments by the very first human. Times have changed and sociologists believe that atheism is at its all time high in present times than any other point in human history. Yet, worlds majority population still believes in some form of supernatural power, call him God that is the cause of everything in the universe. It is true that every faith claims supremacy over every other faith but also demands observance of a very basic human and moral code from its believers to be a part of its supremacy. Whereas every nation state is guided by national interests, every religion is guided by moral interests. It speaks from the very core of every human that moral and humanitarian code needs to be followed while as national interest is thrust on the citizens eg invading a country to loot its oil reserves and safeguarding its energy requirements. It can be in national interest to make friends with enemies of ones enemy but never can be in the moral interest. Every citizen acknowledges the fallibility of its rule book as being written by some human at some point of time (and therefore the amendments) in contrast to every believer who believes in the infallibility of his religious script as being the word of God himself. Despite the higher grounds of religious belief over national beliefs, it has been found very acceptable to question and critique the religious beliefs whereas questioning the foundations of nation state or its integrity has been put out to be a unforgivable crime. Why should it be acceptable to utter non sense about religion whereas unacceptable to raise an anti national slogans?

Why should ones hurting religious sentiments of billions being given asylum whereas those hurting national sentiments of relatively very few be charged with sedition? Freedom of expression if unconditional should be allowed without making exceptions for the critique and questioning of nation state. It makes little sense to allow Charles Hebdos blasphemous cartoons whereas disallowing veil or to debate someones religious doctrines while charging others with sedition. This makes up from the double standards modern man has about religion and nation state. And this doesn’t come from nowhere. The very human nature is against the fictious boundaries of nation states and tend to question them wherever free thought is allowed. In order to let nation state exist and proceed, it has to continuously brainwash its citizens in a believing its separate existence and threat to same from other nation states. Television has played a large role in this motive of nation state. Time and again studies have shown that watching Television makes people dumber although at the very superficial level it is a source of information. However, the fact stands that it is source of selective information which only reinforces and concretes the already rigid beliefs about nation state and threat to it. Unlesss free thought is allowed in a country, both religious and national, it tends to cocoon itself trapping itself into its own bonding and making it unable to break its myopic vision. There boasts an allusion of progress and development whereas the spirit of freedom and consciousness slips away. In modern times where “alternative facts” and “post truth” are making a buzz, it isn’t needed to defend the nation state. That been done for quite long now. It is the truth that needs to be defended now.


Opinion by Sheikh Waseem
the blogger on twitter @sheikhwaseemgul