Nation and Nationalism 6 – Rise of sub nationalism

When did people start identifying (distancing) themselves by their language and locality? Why is this protective attitude of people rising phenomenally in the era of globalization?

Some people argue globalization kills human and cultural values but there are others who defend by arguing that it provides growth, development and social security. The entire world is witnessing the advantages of globalized and democratic liberal societies. But in this perspective of globalized world is it necessary for people to struggle for protectionist and self- boasting attitude ? By taking into account of the ideological ill effects of globalized societies and majoritarian concepts of democracy,  perhaps it seems necessary.

Tamil Nadu witnessed massive spontaneous public revolt in January to bring back Jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport, after it was banned. Since independence, there was never such a voluntary participation of people irrespective of gender and age in such a mammoth scale. One thing which made the international media to look at the shores of Marina is this was a leaderless revolt. There was no person to lead, everyone was a leader. They made the government and laws to bend their knees with in a period of ten days and showed the world the immense power of democracy.

So, when people feel insecure about their life, they will fight. When they feel they are cheated, they fight, when denied basic amenities and rights, they fight. When sidelined and ignored, they fight. Every person is not a Mahatma and everyone is not a Hitler. In this world of very few Mahatmas and few Hitlers and many more innocent hybrid varieties, globalization is playing hide and seek with citizens of the world in the form of empowerment as well as destruction.

Why did the British chose to go out of European Union, why did Americans vote for Donald Trump and why is Catalonia fighting to secede from Spain and finally why did AR Rahman and Atlee come up with a song like Aalaporaan Tamizhan?

Why do we need more songs like Aalaporaan Tamizhan ?

I find this song more relevant today when viewed through the lenses of above global events. This song should not be confined to Tamil Nadu, its relevance is on global scale. Tamilians are not the only great and successful people of India. There are others as well but why Tamilians alone are highlighting themselves is because they suffered. They suffered by partial treatment of their culture by the central powers. They felt humiliated and ignored when their language and culture is sidelined and majority is only being prioritized. And they slowly became aware of their suffering while  few others are still in oblivion. Karnataka and Kerala woke up but my homeland Andhra Pradesh is still high on weed.

Nationalism is an ambiguous concept in India. While it may sound lovely and inspiring in abstract way, the actual picture can be seen only when we drill it down to sub nationalism which takes form due to diverse cultures, languages and antagonistic caste system. Best example is the concept of Unity in Diversity which appears during cricket matches (particularly with Pakistan and Australia) and suddenly disappears briefly during IPL. It appears again and again during natural catastrophes and goes into hiding when a moment comes to share river waters. Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka’s proposal to have a unique state flag are the results of sub nationalism.

Sub nationalism is necessary to safeguard few things which face threat due to the gigantic shadow casted by nationalism. But it should not be encouraged at the cost of nationalism which is the heart of our Unity and strength.

The minute feelings of sub nationalism which made the latest song Aalaporaan Tamizhan to become such a massive hit even before the release of its movie Mersal is a beautiful thing to celebrate. However it looks more beautiful when it extends to pan India level.

When you say ‘I am an Indian’ it’s beautiful and patriotic, when you say ‘I am a Tamizhan (Malayali/Bengali/Gujarathi)’ it is astounding and when you say I am a globalized citizen it is terrific to hear. But sub nationalism is necessary and should be alive if you want to scream ‘I am a globalized Indian Tamizhan’.

One response to “Nation and Nationalism 6 – Rise of sub nationalism”

  1. […] Mersal (Tamil) : Except for the song Aazhaporaan Tamizhan… this movie is entire crap. A mixture of old Indian movie storylines. But still I want to acknowledge this film for giving such a anthem kind of song.. AR Rahman was at his best. Subnationalism in Mersal […]


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