India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why citizenship?

Salman Rushdie ends an essay on multiculturalism by saying:
[T]he questions of core freedoms and primary loyalties can’t be ducked. No society, no matter how tolerant, can expect to thrive if its citizens don’t prize what their citizenship means — if, when asked what they stand for as Frenchmen, as Indians, as Americans, as Britons, they cannot give a clear reply.
I'm not comfortable with the way Rushdie phrases it. I think the basis of every society should be a respect for individual freedoms, that allows every person to live his or her life as he or she pleases, provided they don't infringe on anyone else's freedom to do so. As countries change, I think it is dangerous to hold on to a notion of what words like "French" or "Indian" or "American" mean, and to insist that everyone in those countries adhere to those notions. That opens the way for cultural nationalism. Our values, instead, should be based on basic human rights, on a respect of individual liberties.

I'd written about that here as well.
amit varma, 6:47 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

I recommend: