POSTED ONAPRIL 19, 2017 BY BIKRAMJIT SHPatriotism vs Nationalism. Know the difference. There is a rising tide of nationalism masquerading as patriotism. Laws and policies that induce fear and hatred of others are emerging. Politicians are elected in the name of patriotism. On the contrary, many of them are narrow nationalists. These ideals of narrow nationalism are encouraged onto the ignorant masses, making them believe the nationalist ideals are the true ideals of a patriot. We are rooting out into an environment which seems more troubling and uncertain, with communal insecurities and conflicts on the rise. So it is imperative that we understand the difference between patriotism and nationalism.Patriotism has a positive connotation as an innocent and genuine love for a country. Nationalism can have positive connotations also but can be associated with extremist movements and propaganda.Patriotism is fairly simple. The idea is, if your country is being attacked, you pick up arms to defend it. You, along with your countrymen, irrespective of caste, color or creed, feel inclusive and are united by the love of the land. Nationalism goes beyond protecting the land. It involves protecting a way of life. But culture is something that’s invisible and more complicated. Nationalists ponder on identity and figure out laws to protect elements of their culture. It may involve undermining the culture of others which causes a rise in hatred. We should all know that culture is something that should be understood, and not to be enforced upon.A patriot is proud of his/her country’s virtues and is eager to correct its flaws and deficiencies. They also acknowledge the virtues and legitimate patriotism of other countries. Nationalism is contemptuous of the virtues of other countries while denying the flaws of his own country. It proclaims to be the greatest land with grand culture and history.Nationalism is patriotism transformed into a sentiment of superiority and aggression towards other countries. It is a rather poisonous idea.Nationalism is more like a political belief, whereas patriotism has to do with genuine emotional attachment.A patriot tends to tolerate criticism and tries to do something to improve the current situation. A nationalist cannot tolerate criticism and considers it an insult.Patriotism is like self-esteem. It can show that a country supports itself and believes in its capabilities to grow. Nationalism can show that a country is paranoid or narcissistic.Narrow-minded nationalism can even render human rights redundant. They can put their ideologies before fundamental rights. Their arguments tend to be emotionally charged. For eg- organizations like RSS deliver irrational, easily disposable but highly emotionally charged arguments.This phenomenon is disseminating like wildfire in recent times. And it’s not just in India, but all over the world. Take a look at Donald Trump for eg, or Brexit, or the French presidential candidate who’s an extremist. It is up to us citizens to curb these atrocities. We should love and protect our own country but not at the expense of others. Let us learn to recognize our own humanity in the struggles of others. After all, the rainbow is beautiful because of its diverse colors.