The term "nation" has often been used as a synonym for "country" "state", or ethnic group" and, consequently, this uncritical usage has resulted in fierce disagreements on what constitutes national identity. "Nationalism" sometimes has a disturbing connotation. Nationalist feeling is often attached to a refusal of openness towards other peoples, and even a feeling of hatred towards them. But nationalism differs from similar notions such as patriotism, which might lead some of us to think that nationalism engenders some violence. We may not know exactly what a nation is, but we know what nationalism means and it is crucial to distinguish the right type from the wrong one. This important discernment needs to be done by all citizens and it is in this context that the Association of Christian Philosophers of India has undertaken this task, keeping in mind the values and commitments that it shares with fellow Indians.
This book explores some of the ideological considerations underlying the terms "nation" and "nationalism". It examines aspects of nationalism by using a multidisciplinary approach and invites us to listen to new and old voices of Indian nationalism. By exploring the different facets that are involved in "Becoming a Nation" it also makes us realize the enormity of the project to be undertaken. These papers study the subject from a multicultural, multi-religious perspective while adopting a multi-disciplinary approach. No attempt has been made to form a synthesis of the various views presented: this celebrates the unity of positive purpose in the diversity of views which is fully in keeping with the spirit of the Indian nation.