He’s not Anti-National. You are Anti-Conceptual

Country is a geographical idea.

State is a Political idea.

And nation? It’s a psychological idea.

What is a government then?

Well, it’s just a human interface through which State functions.

State is a lot of things put together. It decides the policies to be pursued, which are, in turn, to be pursued under certain guidelines.

These guidelines could be had from either a written Constitution or from a religious text or from traditional conventions, etc. But yes, the state works under certain constraints.

And State is, as they say, a vehicle to run a nation.

Nation, to say, is a feeling.

It ensembles the spirit of togetherness.

Nations come to be based on “we-feeling".

Thus, a lot of psychological aspect to it.

A lot of Nations were built on togetherness felt as a consequence of either common language or common ideas shared by the community.

Germany, for instance, was primarily built around German speaking populace in 1870s.

And USSR was built on commonality of ideas like Marxism/Communism in 1920s.

The underlying thought being that nations have a feeling of “some-connection” felt with each other. Even with strangers. That’s why they even call it “a nation of strangers”.

What are countries then?

A Country represents a geographical boundary.

A country might be made of several nations (like India or erstwhile USSR).

Or a nation might overstep several countries (for instance Kurdistan or Kashmir or Levant).

Because feelings of togetherness know no boundaries. Less so arbitrary, human-created ones called borders.

Nonetheless, why this gyaan on countries or states or nations.

This is to show that a routinely used term “Anti-National” is quite wrongly applied and inappropriately used a lot of times.

A lot of times, I disagree with the policy my government has drafted or is pursuing.

Even if I become a vociferous critic of the policy, I’d still not be Anti-National. (I’ll only be Anti-Government).

Even let’s assume that I don’t like the kind of state we have in our country. That I believe that the present structure of State or the source the State refers to for guidelines (the Constitution or the religious texts, etc.) is unjust and needs to be done away with, I’d now only be anti-state (and still not Anti-National).

Naxalites in India believe that Indian state is highly upper classist, upper casteist, majority religion driven and needs to be changed. Albeit through armed struggle. Because they believe that since the (Indian) State has legitimate monopoly over use of physical force and since it will exercise that monopoly over protesting people, Naxalites often find it legitimate to use physical force themselves to counter the (Indian) State.

This, I repeat, makes them anti-state (and not Anti-National). Because they want to create a different kind of State and not a different kind of country.

Because they still might feel the same “we-feeling” with the rest of the countrymen.

Thus, being Anti-National is a very strong emotion and a very rare thing.

Mostly people are anti-government.

A few graduate to the levels of anti-state.

Only a very very very few qualify for being Anti-Nationals. These are those believing that they hate the collectivity. That they dislike the idea of sharing the “we-feeling” with the ones they are sharing it with right now.

Thus, mind it, the person you are referring-to of being an Anti-National, might just be an anti-government chap. Or maybe not even that. As most of us, usually, selectively hate the government (on selective policies) and are, usually, apathetic to a lot of policies as they don’t exactly affect us.

So, be very careful next time you call someone an Anti-National.

Because that someone might not be.