What is a nation? Is a nation the geographical boundaries that define its borders? Is a nation something that comes about because of its past? Do we call something a nation because of the soil and natural resources that are present in a piece of land? According to the Oxford dictionary, a nation is defined as “A large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory”. The definition might be enough when we look at nations in general, but if we were to look at India or even the state of Nagaland, does that definition suffice?
The Idea of Nagaland
India is home to many different languages, cultures with varied history and states with their own potpourri of languages, food and origin stories. In spite of that, we call it a nation. A lot of the cultures and inhabitants of the people of different states are unique and do not actually have any shared history. Yet, all these people, cultures and languages are being brought under one umbrella called India. Taking these different characteristics of the different states, PM Modi has been aggressively promoting the idea of India internationally. It seems to have made a difference because in 2015, India's nation brand value has increased 32 per cent to $2.14 trillion, compared with $1.62 trillion last year according to a report by London-based Brand Finance. The USA still tops the list by a huge amount of $19.7 trillion followed by a distant China at $6.3 trillion. This is important. We are basically talking about “Soft power” – a word first coined in 1980 by Joseph Nye of Harvard University. It means the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion. In today’s world, it isn’t always going to be the country with the bigger army that wins wars, it’s the country with the bigger story.