Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nations of a State and States of a Nation

Life has to get precedence over all other beliefs and laws of society. Death of Savita Halappanavar, in Ireland is unacceptable and intolerable under any circumstances.It raises strong questions about 'Statehood' and influence of religion and again brings forth the debate of Nation vs State. Savita did not die due to medical negligence but because of a less understood and open-to-interpretation law that bans abortion due to the religious reasons. How can a matured state allow that to happen?

We often use Nation and State as synonymous terms even though both are different. A society of men is said to constitute a Nation when they feel conscious of their common racial or cultural or sentimental solidarity among themselves. Contrastingly a State is a Political entity and bound by geography and law of land. A Nation doesn't have to be restricted to a single State and a state doesn't have to be restricted to a single nation. Often States are assimilation of multiple nations and nations are spread across multiple states. States with single Nation are called Mono-National and States with multiple nations and are called Poly-National.


Some States have traditionally been of a Poly-National character where as some of the others acquired this character over a period of time and yet there are some that want to staunchly protect their coveted Mono-National character. Rapidly changing demographics have started putting pressure on the Mono-National States and have put them in a dilemma. These States on one hand open their doors to foreign nationals and fill shortage of human resource with specific skills and at the same time try to ensure it in no way threatens their local electorate. Invariably, the foreign nationals arrive with their own cultural baggage. These baggages start weighing heavily upon the local culture and threaten continuity of culture in the existing form. To the chagrin of many purists this often ends up creating an accommodative and hybrid version of the local culture. Though, with vast human migration, changing demographics, shrinking world there are not many true blue 'Mono-National' States left.


 The more Poly-National a State gets, it would do good by functioning off a Constitution that is not strongly influenced by religious tenets. I am sure if a similar death, like that of Savita, would have happened to an Irish national, while equally condemnable, the news would have been restricted to the local media. However as we had a person of different nationality at the centre of such an event, the inadequacy of the Mono-Nation State's ability to move away from religious tenets or reluctance to accept the changing demographics comes to the fore. One would have thought that Church dominating the politics of land was a thing of Medieval ages, but looks like we were wrong.

Most of the rich Mono-National states had an issue of lack of sufficient college graduates with specific skills, this meant that to fill the gap they needed to import those skills from abroad where there was abundance of resources. Importing resources and hoping that they leave their culture back home is a rather Utopian dream. Hence flexibility and readiness to accept the changes is needed so that no more lives are lost. I think States are better off being Religiously neutral. This should also help one to understand and appreciate the complexity of running a poly-nation state like India.

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Nations of a State and States of a Nation

Life has to get precedence over all other beliefs and laws of society. Death of Savita Halappanavar, in Ireland is unacceptable and intolerable under any circumstances.It raises strong questions about 'Statehood' and influence of religion and again brings forth the debate of Nation vs State. Savita did not die due to medical negligence but because of a less understood and open-to-interpretation law that bans abortion due to the religious reasons. How can a matured state allow that to happen?

We often use Nation and State as synonymous terms even though both are different. A society of men is said to constitute a Nation when they feel conscious of their common racial or cultural or sentimental solidarity among themselves. Contrastingly a State is a Political entity and bound by geography and law of land. A Nation doesn't have to be restricted to a single State and a state doesn't have to be restricted to a single nation. Often States are assimilation of multiple nations and nations are spread across multiple states. States with single Nation are called Mono-National and States with multiple nations and are called Poly-National.


Some States have traditionally been of a Poly-National character where as some of the others acquired this character over a period of time and yet there are some that want to staunchly protect their coveted Mono-National character. Rapidly changing demographics have started putting pressure on the Mono-National States and have put them in a dilemma. These States on one hand open their doors to foreign nationals and fill shortage of human resource with specific skills and at the same time try to ensure it in no way threatens their local electorate. Invariably, the foreign nationals arrive with their own cultural baggage. These baggages start weighing heavily upon the local culture and threaten continuity of culture in the existing form. To the chagrin of many purists this often ends up creating an accommodative and hybrid version of the local culture. Though, with vast human migration, changing demographics, shrinking world there are not many true blue 'Mono-National' States left.


 The more Poly-National a State gets, it would do good by functioning off a Constitution that is not strongly influenced by religious tenets. I am sure if a similar death, like that of Savita, would have happened to an Irish national, while equally condemnable, the news would have been restricted to the local media. However as we had a person of different nationality at the centre of such an event, the inadequacy of the Mono-Nation State's ability to move away from religious tenets or reluctance to accept the changing demographics comes to the fore. One would have thought that Church dominating the politics of land was a thing of Medieval ages, but looks like we were wrong.

Most of the rich Mono-National states had an issue of lack of sufficient college graduates with specific skills, this meant that to fill the gap they needed to import those skills from abroad where there was abundance of resources. Importing resources and hoping that they leave their culture back home is a rather Utopian dream. Hence flexibility and readiness to accept the changes is needed so that no more lives are lost. I think States are better off being Religiously neutral. This should also help one to understand and appreciate the complexity of running a poly-nation state like India.

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