National Story Is Needed Like A National Flag to Connect People
Stories have important political implications. The Guardian notes that Donald Trump won the historical 2016 elections over Hilary Clinton due to the fact that he told a better story. And that might as well be true. Politicians feed us stories, understanding the primal human affinity to them – in order to win our votes. Stories stay in out memories, influence it as a subconscious level and permeate the very fabric of our lives. It is thus that stories are necessary, not just at personal or community levels but even at the national level. Today we will see why national story is needed like national flag to connect people.
National Story Is Needed Like National Flag to Connect People:
Stories create a sense of belonging
Ancient stories form a primal part of our sense of identity. They function as anchors, rooting us to a distinct geographical and cultural space. For instance, though the epics of India aren’t national stories, they form important parts of our identity. The roles of ‘Ram’ and ‘Sita’ act as gender roles which define ideal gender behaviour. And ‘Ram Rajya’ provides a blueprint for the way the state should be run. Even though these are not legal documents, they exert profound influence over individual lives.
It arouses patriotic sentiments and emotions
Stories have emotional connections to people, and are likely to arouse the empaths within even the most stone hearted people. A sensitive story that draws on people’s common pasts to create sentiments of love for the country is likely to rouse nationalistic emotions. It is thus that art can become a medium for the creation of certain specific sentiments. India has a national song and a national poet, so maybe it’s time for a national story.
Stories unite people of different races, castes and religions
Basically, stories stimulate the collective consciousness of people and make them feel connected. They offer a common ground for identity and institution for people of all races, genders, castes and creeds to interact and deliberate. In addition, they act is a unifying force for them, because a shared story is almost like an anchor you keep going back to. The stories we choose to make a part of our lives tell people about us, and when that story is similar to others, this elevates the feeling of oneness. Finally, stories leave space for interpretation, and varied interpretations of the same story make people feel unique yet part of a common space.
It informs people about history and geography
Additionally, stories, apart from having an emotional aspect, also have a practical aspect to them. They can be really good sources and archives of information. So, by imbuing a national story with elements of a shared past or nuggets of ancestral wisdom, it is possible to make them storehouses of knowledge. Now this can have several purposes. From informing and educating people of younger generations, to reminding older generations of past glory to keeping history alive, they are tremendously useful. Additionally, they can acquaint people to distinctive cultures as well. Just as our national anthem references all regions of the country – ‘Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha, Dravid, Utkal, Banga’, our national story could pay respect to various geographical subcultures of India.
Stories work through belief, and hence strengthen belief
The essence of stories is belief. That is the reason we believed in Santa Claus, and that is why we loved all fairy-tale. Stories operate on the principle of belief. If you believe in a story, it assumes great importance in your life. Although this aspect of stories must be treated with caution because it could lead to politicization of stories and agenda setting, it is still a valuable instrument. This is because it can create a sense of personal responsibility as well as cultivate feelings of national pride.