Friday, March 02, 2007

What am I?

Via this blogsite, I came across a poll, where people of different countries were asked whether they considered themselves first as citizens of their country or as Muslims/Christians. Except for Indonesia, Muslims in most countries swore first allegiance to their faith. And, among countries dominated by Christians, America was where the most number of people (42%) considered themselves Christians first, citizens next. Though 48% of Americans polled did swear loyalty to the country first, the fact that such a high percentage (42%) of people had primary affiliation to their religion did cause some surprise, even concern.

In one of my posts, I had used the metaphor of a railway compartment- filled with people of different faiths, states, and food habits- to make a point about the amazing diversity in India and the fact that we take unique positions on different issues and find ourselves in different groups at different times.

Is your first loyalty to your nation, your language, your religion or your caste? Do I, for example, see myself first as an Indian or a Tamilian or a Hindu or a Brahmin? As we are divided in so many different ways, there could be a billion different answers if the same question is asked to each person in India. What is the collective identity we have in this melting pot?

Maybe, as the blogger suggests, nationalism itself is an outdated concept and needs to be abandoned in due course.


Anonymous said...

All categories, including nations, are , by their very nature, both inclusive and exclusive - 'us' and 'them'- maybe 'humanity' is the only sane, inclusive category for homo sapiens on Spaceship Earth, which ensures that we don't annihilate most of the species with our divisiveness.

Raj said...

dipali, I hope you are right. I haven't seen enough evidence yet.