Nationalism and patriotism do not convey same meaning

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Dr. Ramchandra Guha delivering the Sir Syed Memorial Lecture-2014 at AMUALIGARH, February 12- “Nationalism and patriotism do not convey same meaning and two seminal figures of the 19th century Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan realized it. They loved and worked for their country without hating other nations. Nationalism thrives on hating others, which both opposed”, said eminent historian Professor Ram Chandra Guha while delivering the Sir Syed Memorial Lecture the Assembly Hall of the Zakir Husain Engineering College, Aligarh Muslim University.

Delivering a lecture on “Liberalism in the Age of Extremes”, Professor Guha said, “Sir Syed and Ram Mohan Roy were avowed enemy of intolerant extremism and they used modern education propagated by the British to take Indians out from the quagmire of ignorance. Both propagated liberal values and rational outlook with a view to opposing blind adherence to traditional values.

According to Professor Guha, national movement did contribute immensely to the cultivation of liberal values. Our national leaders rightly opposed colonial rule but not England. They pitched in for English language and modern education. By coming closer, India and England both have enriched their culture. This is evident today as the colonial rule was overturned but no hostility exists between India and England.

Describing Prof. Mohammad Habib’s lecture in Bombay as the outstanding work on liberalism, he said AMU always stood for values that bind India together. Professor Guha pointed out that liberalism has constantly been challenged by the extremists, which seem to have got upper hand recently. The rise of regional parties pose a challenge to liberalism. Prof. Ram Chandra Guha lamented that we have been living in the time of extreme. Liberalism is taking back seat and religious extremism has got widespread acceptance and orthodoxy in every religion is on the rise. He, however, stressed that one has to oppose this vehemently.

In his presidential address, Lt. Gen. Zameer Udin Shah, Vice Chancellor, highlighted the importance of liberal values and said compromise cannot be reckoned as weakness and it is inverted with the tremendous power of bringing people together. “My policies are directed towards the betterment of the University and if a decision is to be reversed, I have no regrets, as it is better to back out rather than lose the battle”, he concluded.

The lecture was organized by Sir Syed Academy and Professor Tariq Ahmad, Director, Sir Syed Academy delivered welcome address. Prof. Pervez Talib introduced the historian.

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