Top 8 Elements that Promote the Feelings of Nationality


Top 8 Elements that Promote the Feelings of Nationality are as follows:

(1) Geographical Unity or Common Residence:

Common residence, common territory or Geographical unity is a basic factor which helps to promote the national feelings or the feelings of nationality. It is “very usual accomplishment of nationality but it is by no means either essential or universal”.


Most of the writers on Political Science have regarded Geographical unity or the common residence on a fixed territory as one of the basic elements of nationality. Indeed it appears to be essential for the promotion of national feelings and for the growth of nationality. But at the same time it is not essential for the continuance of national feelings.

A population having together and permanently settled on a fixed territory will naturally lead to the uniformity of culture and civilisation. On the contrary, a population living in a dispersed state is more likely to be disunited. Geographical unity helps the nation to make progress. Geographical disunity, on the contrary hinders the national advancement. Pakistan is a striking example. The two wings of Pakistan could not remain united and this geographical disunity led to the birth of a new nation known as Bangladesh.

The races and the people who do not inhabit a common territory for a long time and who are not geographically united, will not tend to have uniformity and culture and civilization. On the contrary, those races or those people who inhabit a common territory for a long period of time will naturally cherish the passion for patriotism which paves the way to national unity.

For example, tribes fail to cherish the feelings of nationality. They wander from one place to another and do not possess a common land to call it their motherland. On the other hand, those people who live together and permanently settle on a common territory start loving their motherland.


They worship their motherland and are always found ready to make every sacrifice for securing the safeguarding their territorial integrity. Love for motherland is a factory that helps a lot in promoting the feelings of nationality in us. A population living on a common territory naturally possesses the uniformity of culture and civilization. The uniformity of culture and civilization forms the basis of nationality. By living together people start sharing common language, common customs, common standard of living, common etiquettes, common joys and sorrows, common interests, common history and literature.

We have to admit this hard fact that for the growth and development of nationality, geographical unity or common residence on a common territory is essential. But if a particular race fails to safeguard its freedom by living in a common territory, it is advisable for that race to disperse in various states so that the unity of its nationality may be kept intact. For example, in ancient times the Jews had to run away from their motherland-Palestine-when the Arabs attacked them. They dispersed in various countries of Europe but that went on keeping the spark of national feeling kindling in their hearts.

They continued to struggle for the freedom of their native-land and after the departure of the English in 1948 and after the partition of Palestine; they ultimately succeeded in organising their independent state, known as Israel.

Similarly, before the First World War, a part of Poland was under the authority of U.S.S.R. and a part of Austro-Hungary was under the authority of German Empire. But the Poles continued to keep the spark of national feeling kindling in their hearts and went on making efforts for liberating their home land from the foreign yoke and ultimately established themselves into a well-organised State.


After the First World War, the Poles ultimately succeeded in liberating their home land from the foreign yoke and in organising an independent people belonging to Slav race were living in different countries of Europe but they continued to fight for their unity and in the end became successful in organising for themselves an independent nation known as Yugoslavia.

There is so close an intimacy between nationality and country that many countries are named after their nationality or race. For example, Britain was named after the British, France was named after the French, Germany was named after the Germans, Poland was named after the Poles, Denmark after the Danes, Sweden after Swedes, Afghanistan after Afghans, Hindustan after Hindu and Turkey after the Turk, etc.

(2) Community of Race:

Racial unity is one of the most universal basis of nationality. It is the strongest bond of cohesion. People belonging to the same race are naturally more united than those who belong to different races. Burgess and Leacock regard racial unity as the only basis of nationality. Lord Bryce has also regarded it as one of the essential elements of nation. Professor Zimmern is of the opinion that every nationality enjoys the feelings of group institution which is primarily determined by racial unity and the purity of blood.


Though the community of race is one of the most important factors which promote the feelings of nationality, yet it is not absolutely essential element of nationality. “The community of race and community of language”, says Dr. Garner, “are undoubtedly the most important of these elements but it is necessary to recognise that neither is absolutely essential. The science of ethnology has revealed the difficulty of drawing the links which separate one race from another, since many existing races are mixed in character, that is why they have no common origin, but have been formed by a fusion of various races”.

The United States of America, Canada, Switzerland and England, etc., are the glaring examples which prove that there is no purity of blood. They are the mixture of Celts, Teutons, Danes and Saxons. There is a mixture of various races in the United States of America, Canada and Switzerland.

The same is the case with India, China, U.S.S.R. and other countries. Had the racial unity been only basis of nationality, the races, mentioned above, would not have succeeded in determining their nationalities. But now the term “community of race” has acquired another meaning: “The racial bond of nationality”, says Professor Gilchrist, “however, need not be so exact as the science of races demands. Belief in a common origin either real or fictitious is a bond of nationality”.

He further says that “race-unity is one of the strongest bonds not because of the ethnological signification of face, but because it implies the further unities of common language, common tradition and common culture”. “Scientifically speaking, says Professor Gilchrist, “a nationality cannot be regarded as a pure family descent”.


Sometimes it happens that despite racial unity, various nationalities come into existence. For example, the English, German, Dutch, Dane and Scandinavian belong to the same origin but their nationalities are different.

Thus, we arrive at this conclusion that it is better if a country is racially united for racial unity helps a lot in the development of national sentiment. For example, before the Second World War, Hitler united Germany and Mussolini united Italy on the racial basis. And if the country is not racially united, the development of its nationality is hindered.

But other factors which help in promoting national feelings are most powerful. People forget the diversity of their origin and develop a common sentiment of nationality. U.S.A., Canada, China, India and Switzerland, etc. are the glaring examples, which prove the theory of mixed races. The United States of America is racially very diverse but its nationality is one.

(3) Community of Language, Tradition and Culture:

No less important is the community of language, tradition and culture for promoting the national sentiment. Community of language, tradition and culture is closely related to the community of race. Language and race generally go together because “colour and quality of language determined the colour and quality of thought who use it”.

Common language helps a lot in uniting people. People, sharing the common language, also share common culture and literature. It is the unity of language that helps us in keeping contact with other countries. The diversity of language separates and divides us in the same manner as the rivers, mountains and oceans separated one country from the other in the olden times.

Muir is of the opinion that “there is nothing that will give unity to divergent races as the use of common tongue and in very many cases unity of language and community of ideas, which it brings, have proved the main building force in a nation”.

Sir Earnest Barker finds “the closest affinities between nation and language. Language is not the collection of mere words. Each word is charged with associations that touch feelings and evoke thoughts you cannot share their feelings and thoughts unless you can unlock their associations by having the key of language. You cannot enter the heart or the mind of a nation unless you know its speech. Conversely, once you have learnt that speech, you find that with it and by it you imbibe a deep and pervasive spiritual force”.

Fitchte, one of the chief apostles of German nationality, declared that “nationality was a spiritual thing, a manifestation of the mind of God, its chief bond of union being language”. Language, race and culture are related to one another.

It is the language that is related to the interests of the country and it is the language that gives expression to the interests of the country. Like language, culture also contributes a lot in building the nation. Language is the medium of expression.

It has developed with the help of common interests, experience and ideas and so it is closely associated with them. “Community of interests or ideals”, says Professor R.N. Gilchrist “is no bond of unity unless they can be understood and language is the vehicle of understanding”.

Similarly, cultural unity develops the sentiment of nationality. It is this cultural unity that separates a particular group of people from the rest of the world. According to Laski, “Nationality implies the sense of a special unity which marks off who share in it from the rest of mankind.

The unity is the outcome of a common history, of victories and traditions created by corporate effort. There grows up a sense of kinship which binds man into oneness. They recognise their likeness and emphasize their differences from other men. Their social heritage becomes distinctively their own as a man lends his own particular character to his house.

They come to have an art, a literature recognizably distinct from that of other ‘Nations. So England could have produced Shakespeare and Dickens, so we admit that there are qualities in Voltaire and Kant from which they typify the nationalism of France and Germany”.

The foregoing discussion makes it very clear that language and culture play a decisive role in building the nation. Common language and culture unite people into one nation. This is the reason why the victorious countries try to force their language and culture on the enslaved countries.

The victorious countries always try to make the common language quite ineffective. For example, the English in India and the French in Algeria tried to impose their own language and culture and tried to destroy the native culture and language so that the nation may not remain united.

(4) Common Religion:

Religion has played a vital role in developing the national sentiment and in consolidating a nation. In the past it had proved a cementing force for uniting the people in the one nation. According to Dr. Garner, “Community of religion was once regarded as a mark of nationality and in earlier times it played an important part in the process of national consolidation”. Religion, according to Professor Gilchrist is an important basis of nationality. During the Ancient and Medieval Ages, Politics was much influenced by religion.

It will not be wrong to say that political activities of a few countries were regulated by the religious instructions. It was religion that united people into one nation and taught them discipline and obedience and decided the course of their life. Discipline and obedience are the spirit of a nation. Religion and culture go together.

Culture and Language are the two pillars of national unity. And it is religion that provided the people of a particular country with a common language. Common religion and culture help a lot in promoting the feelings of nationality. For example, during the Sixth and Seventh Century, Islam united the Arabs into one nation.

It was this national unity that enabled the Arabs into one nation. It was this national unity that enabled the Arabs to conquer the vast territory ranging from Indus to Spain. During the middle Ages, a fierce battle was fought between the Muslims and Christians in Palestine for safeguarding the sanctity of religion. And people who were killed in the war became martyrs.

In India, cruel rulers like Aurangzeb and others tried to impose their own religion on the Hindus forcibly. Their tyranny in the name of religion resulted in the unity of Hindus, who united for safeguarding the sanctity of their religion, and overthrowing the Mughal Empire.

The impact of religion on the political movements led by Marathas and Sikhs is quite explicit. There is no doubt this fact that common religion has always been helping in uniting the people of particular nation. But despite this unity, it is also true sometimes that the community of religion has succeeded in disuniting nations.

The national development is sometimes hindered by the religious differences, deep- rooted into the soil of a particular country. Professor Gilchrist seems to be right when he asserts the nationality may develop in spite of differences of sect. For example, there had been deep-rooted religious differences between the Hindus and Muslims and so they could not live together amicably. These religious differences resulted into the partition of India. Pakistan is the outcome of Mr. Jinnah’s Two- Nation Theory which found its refuge into the religious differences between the Hindus and Muslims.

Turkey was inhabited by both the Christians and Muslims but they nourished religious differences which led to the disunity. In 1815, Vienna Congress united Belgium and Holland into one state known as Netherlands but they could not remain united owing to their religious differences. The people of Belgium were Roman Catholic, whereas the people of Holland were Protestants. Consequently, they could not live together and were separated into two states in 1831. In Ireland, National Movement could not gather force owing to the religious differences between the Catholics and Protestants.

When the English had to quit Ireland, the Protestants, living in the northern part of Ireland could not remain united with the Catholics, living in the Southern part of Ireland. Consequently, they organised their separate state known as Ulster.

But in spite of these religious differences and differences of sects, nationality goes on developing. The Serbo- Croatian national movement in Yugoslavia is a glaring example. The Serbs are mainly Orthodox, the Croats are Roman Catholics. The language of Serbs and Croats is common, their religion and culture are common but their religious sects are quite distinct. But in spite of these sectarian differences the gulf between the two has been bridged over.

(5) Common Political Aspirations:

Common political aspirations are regarded these days more important than most other essential factors that promote the feelings of nationality. According to Durheim, “A nationality is a group of the group members who wish to live under the same laws and form a state”. Common political aspirations help more than any factor in promoting the feelings of nationality.

These days a nationality goes on developing in spite of the differences of language, caste, creed and culture. These differences are found among the people who share the common political laws and aspirations. People living under the foreign yoke, develop a sentiment of nationality.

They do so for securing their freedom and organising their own independent state. A nationality always remains the same if it enjoys the status of a nation or it aims at organising a separate independent state. It was this factor that promoted the feelings of nationality in the slave races of India, Europe and Africa because these slave races aimed at brings about the end of foreign empire and organising their separate sovereign state. For example, in India, people belonging to different races, and professing different faiths united themselves to rise against the English. It was this factor that promoted the feeling of nationality in India in I8S7 and afterwards.

Common political aspirations are visible in all the national movements. India could see this political unity only because of foreign yoke. After independence the feelings of nationality started losing force as the public attention began to be directed to the demands of provinces on linguistic basis. Regionalism also raised its head.

But on October 20, 1962, when China committed an aggression on India, the national feelings gathered force again and people showed a very rare type of political unity. Similar unity was seen at the time of war with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. After the aggression committed on Germany by Napoleon, the national feelings were promoted in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy.

The whole of Italy became united and unitedly rose in revolt against the Austrian Empire. The national sentiment gathered force in Greece and Bulgaria when people demanded freedom from the Turkish yoke. Dr. Gamer has very rightly observed, “Independent political union is the natural fruit of nationality where the population is sufficiently numerous and capable of maintaining a separate state existence and conversely political union has sometimes been the means of creating a genuine nationality out of heterogeneous race elements as for example Switzerland.

(6) Common History:

Common history is one of the factors promoting the sentiments of nationality, regards a common historical factor as “the one indispensable factor” in promoting the feelings of nationality. “A common historical tradition”, points out Muir, embraces a memory of suffering endured and victories won in common, expressed in song and legend,, in the dear names of personalities that seem to embody in themselves the character and ideals of the nation, in the names also of sacred places wherein the national memory in enshrined…. Here is the source of that paradox of nationality that it is only intensified by sufferings, like the giant Antaeus in the Greek fable, rises with redoubled strength every time it is beaten down into the bosom of its mother earth.

Heroic achievements, agonies heroically endured, these are the sublime food by which the spirit of nationhood is nourished; from these are born the sacred and imperishable traditions that make the soul of nations”.

A historical background serves as a good factor that helps a lot in the promotion of natural feelings. It is this historical background that presents the record of triumphs and achievements, common joy and sorrows, common sufferings and common political bondage, which promotes the sentiment of nationality and brings about a national awakening in the people.

For example, in India the sacrifices made by Bappa Rawal, Rana Hamir, Sangram Singh (Rana Sanga) Maharana Pratap always helped in keeping the candle of national feelings burning. The sacrifices of Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh and Banda Bairagi brought about national awakening amongst the Sikhs.

The heroic deeds of Shivajl (struggle against the Mughalsand the establishment of Swarajya) politically awakened the people of Maharashtra. The heroic deeds done in 1857 by the fighters of freedom, and later on the preaching the love of Motherland by Raja Ram Mohan Rai, Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekanand, brought about national awakening in India.

Even today, who can forget the names of Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Vir Savarkar, Bhai Parmanand and Rashfcihari Bose whose heroic struggle brought about national awakening in India.

Our national heroes have won their place in our hearts. This common historical sense will continue to awaken us politically. Sometimes the national heroes of one country prove enemy to the other country. For example, Napoleon was the national hero of France but he was the staunch enemy of Spain, Germany, England and Russia.

On the one hand, he conquered many countries and extended the territory of France but on the other, he provided a staunch enemy to those countries which he conquered and again which he fought. Similarly, Frederick, the Great and Hitler were the national heroes of Germany but they were the staunch enemies of the countries which they conquered.

The people of Scotland can never forget the heroic deeds of Robert Bruce, who fought against the English for the noble cause of his national glory. Ireland will never forget its national hero- Valera-who made all of his efforts for attaining the freedom of his country.

National literature keeps a record of the heroic deeds done by the national heroes and by so doing it gives inspiration to the coming generation. For example, the literary achievements of Chandra Bardai, Bhushan, Maithili Sharan Gupta, Jai Shankar Prashad, Ramadhari Singh Dinkar, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Bhartendu Harish Chandra, Bankim Chandra and Rabindra Nath Tagore have always brought about national awakening in India.

This is the reason why John Stuart Mill has regarded common history as one of the important factors that promote the sentiment of nationality. John Stuart Mill, referring to the causes which generate the feeling of nationality, said “Sometimes it is the effect of identity of race and descent. Community of language and community of religion greatly contribute to it.

Geographical limits are one of its causes. But the strongest of all is identity of political antecedent; the possession of national history and consequent community of recollections; collective pride and humiliation, pleasure and regret connected with the same incidents in the past. None of these circumstances, however, are either indispensable or necessarily sufficient by themselves”. He added, “however, that in general, the national feeling is proportionately weakened by the failure of any of the cause which contribute to it”.

(7) Common Interests:

Common interests prove very conducive to the development of nationality. They form one of the basis of nationality. “Common interests”, says Professor R.N. Gilchrist, “are rather aids towards strengthening union than fundamental agents of union. They have had their importance in conjunction with other elements more than by themselves. They have played their part in nationalities such as the Dutch and Belgian, but, were they sole determinants, Holland and Belgium would probably not exist at all.

They were obvious considerations in the Anglo-Scottish union in 1707, but they are quite discounted in Northern America where the material interests of the United States and Canada are very much the same. With the co-operation of other agents, we see it working in the British Dominions where distinct colonial nationalities in the Australians, South Africans, etc., are visible developing”.

Common interests like economic, social and political, act as a fillip in strengthening the ties of unity. For example, common economic interests brought about the “Zollverein”, (a Customs Union) which strengthened national bonds in Germany. In 18th century the different states of America united into one for securing economic interests.

All these states snapped their ties with Britain and declared themselves free. India had been inhabited by the people belonging to difference races, professing different faiths and speaking different languages. But all of them had common political and economic interests and so they united into one and fought against the English.

In 1707 the Union of Scotland and England came into being. The English and the Scotch united only because they had common interests. The people of Belgium and Holland shared the common interests. Therefore, their Union came into being but later on they snapped their ties owing to religious differences.

These glaring examples make it very clear that common economic interests are very conducive to the development of nationality. But this does not mean that they are indispensable. Had the common interests been the sole determinants, Belgium and Holland would not have separated. Likewise, the Hindus and Muslims shared the common interests but in spite of this India were partitioned in 1947 on the basis of Two-Nation Theory.

(8) Common Government and Common Administration:

Common governmental administration is also an important factor which helps in promoting the feeling of nationality. The Germans under Austrian domination felt a kind of unity. Before unification of governmental administration, Germany was controlled by Austria. Thus, the foreign control acted as a cementing force in Germany. The races under the common administration feel a special kind of unity or bondage.

For example, India had been under the British domination for a long period of time and, therefore, the people of different races, living in India felt a kind of unity. People belonging to different races, and enjoying different nationalities reached U.S.A. and settled down there.

But because afterwards they lived under common administration for a long period of time, they forgot their original nationalities and started calling themselves Americans instead of German Americans, French Americans or English Americans. The German, Italian and French live in Switzerland and because they live under common administration, they call themselves Swiss instead of the German or French.

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