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Explaining Nationalism
Explaining nationalism

Biographies of nationalist leaders very often report a ‘Pauline moment’: a conversion from indifference to fervent nationalism, on the model of the biblical account of Paul's sudden conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus. Thus for Mahatma Gandhi, founding father of Indian nationalism, consciousness of his membership of a disadvantaged group was sparked off when, as a non-white, he was removed from a train in Pietermaritzburg during a visit to South Africa in 1893. A 1799 tour of the Rhine, with its ruined fortifications, is said to have stimulated the anti-French sentiment of Ernst Moritz Arndt, one of the key figures in the early stages of German nationalism. Discovery of the indigenous language and culture has also pushed many others into ...

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