PAGES

Saturday, June 25, 2016

THE PULL OF NATIONALISM!

For the ‘secular’ Indian left-illiberal and their fellow-travellers in the media, ‘nationalism’ is a four-letter word. They would cut the nose to spite the face. They make heroes of twerps to scoff at the BJP and its affiliates. This and BREXIT made me recall an anecdote from my early days as an employee. It has a major lesson for all!

The company I joined as a junior employee had a German national as a consultant, looking after training. His training programmes consisted primarily of instilling positive thinking in us. He even composed an anthem for the company, which the trainees were made to recite every morning at the commencement of the day’s session.

During those days, Britain was negotiating to enter the European Economic Community, sometimes also referred to as EU. The EEC had only six members at inception; then enlarged to nine and so on.

For some reason, during one of the sessions, the topic veered round to Britain’s application to join the EEC. The German consultant said, “They declared war on us but now they are begging to join the EEC.” Now everyone knows who declared the war on September 1, 1939. But it was the pull of the nationalism for the consultant!

The curious thing was, the consultant had to flee Germany just before the war, as he was a Jew! In fact he came to India as representative of Bayer and elected to stay back because Jews were persecuted in Germany during Hitler’s reign. And yet Germany meant more to him, even after forty years of exile. That is the true spirit of nationalism.

Some of you might have heard of him or met him. His name was H. Karstein. He measured an imposing 6’ 4” with matching physique. If there was one lesson we all learnt from him, it was his love of the fatherland or spirit of nationalism!