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Romanticism as a Pillar of Nationalism

Fraaz Mahmud

Ideas change the world. This thing is historically proved that ideas are generated
through thinking process. If a country progresses, it means that the people of that country
produce ideas but if a country declines, it shows that the people’s thought processes are
stagnant. To develop the declining nationalism of a country, new ideas must be
introduced. If we look at our society, an extreme need of new ideas will be felt. To
change the worse condition of our nation, romanticism can be the best possible idea.
Romanticism is actually a complex, literary and intellectual movement that
originated in the second half of the 18th century in Western Europe . It was a revolt
against aristocratic, political and social norms of the age of enlightenment. It was also a
reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. The basic aims of romanticism are
as under:
1. A return to nature and belief in the goodness of humanity.
2. The rediscovery of the artist as an individual creator.
3. The development of nationalistic pride.
4. The exaltation of senses and emotions over reason and intellect.

Nationalism comprises of the people’s sense of belonging together as a nation. It

includes several feelings like loyalty to the nation, pride in its culture and history and a
desire for national independence. It provokes the people of a country to have a sense of
sacrifice for their country. All these characteristics shape the masses into a nation and
thus nationalism develops in a country.
In the third world countries, generally, and in our country particularly, nationalism
is declining rapidly. A general overview of our society clearly shows that there is no
sense of togetherness in the people. People are not loyal to the country. People are not
proud of their culture and history. Even they have no desire for national independence. In
short, all the characteristics of nationalism are lacking in our country. If we determine
romanticism as our guiding star, we can make progress like other developed countries.
As romanticism is a revolt against aristocratic, political and social norms of the
age of enlightenment, in the same way, in our country, aristocratic thinking is enriched in
the minds of landlords. They regard people as animals. They exploit them physically and
emotionally. They do not encourage them to get education so that they may not be able to
think about their future. So people spoil their lives while serving them. In our country,
people are politically harassed and bought. All these demerits weaken nationalism. To
avoid these demerits, romanticism gives an idea of revolt. If the people who are being
exploited get united and rebel against these aristocratic and political minds, they can get
their rights.
Loyalty to the nation and pride in its culture and history are the basic concerns of
nationalism but unfortunately, our nationalism lacks both of them. People of our country
are not loyal to it any more. Our young generation wants to study in foreign countries.
After getting higher education, most of the students want to serve foreign countries rather
than their own country. Even a lay man prefers foreign countries to work rather than his
own country. We do not respect our culture and history as well. Our bent towards other
cultures reflects through our marriage ceremonies and other social functions. This thing
shows that we do not value our history as well. We have actually forgotten our own
culture and basics. Romanticism guides us in this way as well. It stresses on the
nationalistic pride. In romanticism, people are always in the favor of their country. Their
identity is wholly affiliated to the nationalism of the country. People struggle for the
betterment of the country to make it a developed one. In this way, they feel a pride within
themselves for their country. So by following this characteristic of romanticism, one may
achieve the nationalistic pride.
In our society, people have become so materialistic that they have no time for
their families. They lead such a rushed life which drives them away from the natural
beauty. They harm others for their own benefits. This thing creates a sense of selfishness
in them which ultimately makes them insensitive. Here romanticism again serves as a
torch- bearer for us. It takes us away from the scientific rationalization of nature. It gives
us a break and makes us return to nature. Romanticism believes in the goodness of
humanity as well. It imparts a spirit of sacrifice in human beings. So by following this
rule of romanticism, one can get rid of selfishness and insensitivity.
In our society, people have eyes but cannot see. They have tongues but cannot
speak. People see bad things happening but remain silent. They do not show any urge to
speak against any cruelty. People remain silent because they have not got individual
rights. They remain busy to get livelihood. But romanticism gives insight to the blind and
a voice to the dumb. It encourages an individual to speak for his rights. So one can snatch
one’s rights by following this rule of romanticism and if a man fights for his rights, he
actually fights for the rights of the whole nation. So this thing strengthens nationalism on
a wide range.
Language is very much important in the progress of a country. In our country, we are
going away from our national language. We prefer other mediums of language instead of our
own. Due to this negligence towards our language, it is losing its vastness. Romanticism
gives a solution to this problem as well. Imagination is the main concern of romanticism and
through it, literature is produced. This literature brings new words and in this way, language
gets strength which ultimately strengthens the nationalism. Because stronger the language is,
the stronger the communication would be among the nations.
In our society, people are limited in their thoughts. They are not gifted with the
liberty to think in any way. Social and religious limitations have built a wall against human
imagination. In its reaction, such religious extremists are produced who regard suicide
bombing a fair act. Romanticism plays its role here as well. It stresses on imagination.
Through imagination, one can think and imagine whatever he wants. If there is imagination,
there would be no pent up feelings and if there are no pent up feelings, there will be no anger
and aggression about anything. And if there is no anger and disturbance, people will remain
calm and work for the power, progress and prosperity of their country and these are the key
points of nationalism.
Nationalism is developed in a country by new ideas. Romanticism is such a
comprehensive idea which can elevate the nationalism of a country. It makes the mob of people a
nation by awarding them with imagination and freedom. Freedom makes people independent and
imagination gives them the ways to make progress in life. So romanticism makes a healthy nation
which introduces a strong nationalism. In folding words, we can also make our country a
developed one and can have such a nationalism which is devoid of all social and political
demerits by following the principles of romanticism.