A “Community” One Can “Imagine”.


Kimberly Okesalako

The idea of nationalism and that of a nation is stemmed from the thought process of belonging to a certain category. We tend to stereotype ourselves depending on where we come from as some sort of label. A person would recognise another depending on which nation he comes from rather than his name. Who am I? And where do I belong? Are questions that we tend to ask ourselves. The idea of a nation revolves around the idea of religion, caste, gender, and many more.

A community, on the other hand, is something that has a sense of companionship on a large scale. People from within the same region would feel a pinch of belonging to someone from the same “area” as them. However, there are instances where people belonging to the same community have different ideas or even individuals who wish that they are not a part of that community. Then again what of those individuals who can say that they belong to two different communities? These are instances where the idea of an imagined community can come into place. Benedict says that Nationalism is a modern concept. I agree with this statement because, in my belief, nationalism is mainly about the sense of pride and belonging one has to the nation they belong to. This is a modern sense because the idea of nationalism was not there when countries were invading each other for more land. The question comes up where, now that India has gained independence from England and have become a nation as well as become a third world country, why are there individuals who still believe that the British rule in India was something great? Does that mean that there are Indians who have a sense of nationalism towards the British?

Imagining something does not mean that it exists but gives ground way for something to develop. A nation can be said had started from the idea that someone had. Liberation also plays a part because without wanting to be liberated from something, how does such an idea arise?  The nation being like a community can be seen on the grounds that a community has both similarities as well as differences within its individuals. No two people can be said has the exact same thinking. I feel that language and norms play an important factor among both communities and nations, in a way a community can be seen as the infant while a nation would be that infant in its childhood stage and as time passes and the nation develops, it goes through the different stages from adolescence to adulthood. For it to reach old age would be another argument entirely. Anderson believed that a nation or rather an imagined community rotates around the idea of being imagined, limited and sovereign.

For a nation to be sovereign, it centres its entire power body onto one individual in particular. That, however, can also be said for a community, this just goes to show that people will always depend on an authoritative figure. And yet when a situation that they don’t like arises, the come together to stand up against the authoritative body, “united”. Anderson also believed that the role of the press plays an important factor in this situation. This for one, I do agree with because, for some reason, the press has always had this hold over the people making them become dependent. We tend to rely on the press to tell us what is happening and at the same time what to do. During the capitalist period, the press was mainly owned by various ruling parties who used the press as their own personal PR. We can say that the people rely on the press to tell them what is wrong or right, what to do and what not to do. Anderson saw this as a limitation to the communities, which are nations. He saw an imagined community as not one that is not real but one that we aim to be. One that offers a sense of “comradeship” where people can say that they know one another face to face.

He sees this to why people would die for their country. But one has to ask when people do say so do they mean it actually or is it because that they have been pressured and thought that nationalism is great and being anti-nationalist is a crime so great that it would lead up to treason. I feel that the idea of a nation and nationalism is not something that a person generates on their own but by the fact that the community they belong to requires them to think so. No person in this day and age would like to feel as if they do not belong. In a way, it would feel like being excommunicated.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.