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Nationalism Essay, Research Paper

One person or a group of people can take on a major role of the unification process that brings upon nationalism for their country. To get a better understanding of what nationalism is, one must learn the meaning of ?nationalism.? Nationalism is the devotion to the interests or culture of a particular nation. Nationalism is a striving force that can help a country thrive. There are also different ways that a country can achieve nationalism. Two different people/organizations with two different tactics were able to achieve a feel of nationalism among their country. The first group that will be discussed is the IRA, or the Irish Republican Army. Mohandas Gandhi started the second movement of nationalism, with his belief of ?passive resistance.? These two thoughts were opposite in how nationalism was attempted to be achieved.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA), was started on Easter in 1916, when a group of Irish militants refused to wait any longer for their independence from Britain. The small group launched a revolt against British rule. Although the Easter Rising was quickly suppressed, the execution of 15 rebel leaders stirred wider support for their cause. When Britain again failed to grant home rule in 1919, civil war erupted in Ireland. Members of the IRA carried on a guerrilla war against British forces and their supporters. Civilians were often caught in the crossfire. The constant battle for Irish independence continues today with its gory display of violence. The IRA?s goal was and still is today to achieve Irish nationalism by the abolition of the British political influence in Ireland, especially Northern Ireland.

Mohandas Gandhi came from a middle-class Hindu family. At the age of 19 he was sent to England to study law. After returning to India, he tried to set up his own law practice but soon joined an Indian law firm in South Africa. For 20 years, Gandhi fought laws that discriminated against Indians in South Africa. In his struggle against injustice, he adopted the weapon of nonviolent (passive) resistance. He called it satyagraha, or ?soul-force.? In 1914, Gandhi returned to India and joined the Congress Party. His ideas inspired Indians of all religious and ethnic backgrounds and he encouraged them to resist British rule. Above all, Gandhi preached the ancient tradition of ahimsa, nonviolence and reverence for all life. He applied this idea to fight the British rule. By using the power of love, he believed, people could convert even the worst wrongdoer to the right course of action.

Gandhi?s ?passive resistance? became more and more popular and he soon had many followers and he encouraged peaceful protests. People still followed Gandhi even though many of them were killed by the British government in the peaceful protests. Gandhi?s campaign of nonviolence and the self-sacrifice of his followers slowly forced Britain to agree to hand over some power to the Indians and to meet other demands of the Congress party.

These two different ways of achieving a feel of nationalism within their countries are different in how they are done, but they are not different in their entirety. They are both very similar but yet very dissimilar. The IRA and Gandhi?s ?passive resistance? movement are similar in that they both want to achieve nationalism by attaining their independence from the same country, Britain. They were also successful in gaining a large following for the struggle of freedom, but this is where their similarities end.

The IRA was and is a very violent group when getting their message across. They have killed thousands of Irish civilians in their ever-going quest for complete autonomous rule. Gandhi?s ?passive resistance? approach toward freedom through nationalism is a bit different because unlike the IRA, Gandhi preached of a very peaceful way of getting what the Indians wanted. Gandhi?s movement resulted in the loss of civilians but that number was minimal compared to that lost by the IRA. While Gandhi was alive he was able to achieve some freedoms from Britain faster than the IRA has. And due to Gandhi, India has received complete and total autonomy.

Nationalism is the key that unites people, and ideas of how nationalism can be achieved differs throughout the world as shown between Ireland and India.

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