Practice of Patriotism, Ethnocentrism, Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in India: An Interrogation

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Debal SinghaRoy


The central concern of this paper is to examine intersectionalities between the ideals of cosmopolitanism, patriotism, ethnocentrism and nationalism in general, and their changing facets and interfaces in India. It argues that being a multiethnic and plural society, the civilisational ethos of India is conventionally founded on cosmopolitanism. The practice of patriotism and its accommodative principle of unity in diversity have provided the building blocks to this cosmopolitanism. During India’s independence struggle these ideals encountered the forces of modernism, ethnocentrism, communalism and ethno-nationalism. In contemporary India the forces of economic neoliberalism, developmental imbalances and persisting social and economic inequalities, post modernism, hyper modernism, populism, and cultural politics have become part of social reality. Notwithstanding the prevalence of the ideals of cosmopolitanism and civilisational interactive processes, these encounters have brought cumulative fluidity in the social, economic and political orientations in contemporary society, and have created further space for the influence of ethnocentrism and cultural politics as a means to remain rooted in society.

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