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Absurdity of national borders: How LBA will challenge the concept of national identity

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By Prachi Mishra

Recently Bangladesh and India sealed a historic land pact, ending the boundary dispute through exchange of territories. This agreement will allow people living in border enclaves to choose whether they want to live in India or in Bangladesh, with the option of being granted citizenship in the newly designated territories.

This land swap agreement deal has brought into focus the significance of national borders and their role in forming national identity of a citizen. It has raised several questions like how with a stroke of pen, a new territory is created, granting a new national identity to the citizens and how rigid are the identities thus formed.

National identity can be termed as one’s sense of belonging to a particular nation. It is something which differentiates a set of people belonging to one nation from the people of other nations.

However, this concept again raises a variety of questions – How is this sense of belonging created? Is national identity determined by the spatial demarcations? How stable are such identities? Does birth in a country determines one’s national identity? And most importantly do the individuals themselves have a role in the construction of their national identity?

In order to determine what forms a national identity, it’s necessary to talk about the concept of nation and what constitutes it. A nation can be referred to as a definite social space demarcated and bounded by territory. These definite boundaries create a sense of belonging to a particular space. However, these spaces are not that definite as we have seen in the historic partition of India or in the recent land swap deal.

When a nation is partitioned, borders are drawn between the two nation-states, separating one from the other. The border lines thus drawn, contribute only to problematize the situations and relations of a large number of people across it.

After the partition the refugees’ identities undergo a significant transformation, dictated by the changing landscape. A new national identity which is based on geographical grounds is imposed upon them.

Then, another factor which seems to be essential to create a sense of belonging is the law or the legal institutions of a nation. The people have some common legal institutions and a single code of rights and laws for all the members of the community. However one might question that the people, whose national identity is determined by these laws, are they involved in the making of such laws?

Other than the legal system, another factor which evokes a sense of belonging is the common civic culture. The common culture and religious practices are used to create a sense of belonging to a unified nation. Ethnicity is said to be one of the major influence in determining the national identity.

While talking about the concept of national identity one also needs to consider the effect of globalization in identity formation. In the modern world people migrate from one nation to territory, but do their national identity also changes?

One might question that when a new territorial boundary is etched, forming a new space, do the ethnicity and the adherence to specific set code of rights and laws also undergo a transformation? Can cultures be contained within boundaries demarcated by maps?

The geographical boundaries determine a demarcated territory of a state. However, these boundaries are dynamic and unstable; they change, shift and rearrange themselves as a result of multiple factors like politics, religion and language. So it won’t be erroneous to say that concepts like ‘nation’ and ‘national identity’ based on the geographical borders seem to be in flux rather than fixed.

 

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10 Media Outlets From India Selected For YouTube Funding

Other projects look at the sustainability of news organisations, including work on new business models and programmes to support a healthy news ecosystem

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10 Indian media outlets among 87 selected for YouTube funding. Pixabay

Ten media outlets from India have been selected for receiving YouTube innovation funding as part of the Google News Initiative (GNI) to help newsrooms and publishers strengthen their online video capabilities and experiment with new formats for video journalism.

These 10 news organisations – Asianet News Media and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Bharatiya Digital Party (BhaDiPa), FACTLY, Gaon Connection, India Today Group, Live Data Visualisation Pvt. Ltd., NDTV, NYOOOZ, ShepHertz and Video Volunteers — are among the 87 selected from 23 countries.

“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to supporting a strong future for news video,” Timothy Katz, Director of News Partnerships, YouTube, said in a blog post on Tuesday.

“Hailing from 23 countries around the world, they represent a diverse array of broadcasters, traditional and digital publishers, local media, agencies and creators, but all share a commitment to quality journalism and a spirit of innovation,” Katz added.

YouTube is rolling out a new service "YouTube Music" on May 22 to seperate the music and film components on the Google-owned video-sharing platform.
YouTube. Pixabay

As part of the launch of Google News Initiative in March, YouTube committed $25 million funding to support the future of news.

Many of the projects selected for the innovation funding are focused on expanding newsroom video operations and trying out new ways of reporting news through video — from reaching younger audiences online to exploring live and fact-checking formats.

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Other projects look at the sustainability of news organisations, including work on new business models and programmes to support a healthy news ecosystem.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing insights gained from the projects and giving newsrooms the opportunity to benefit from the learnings,” Katz added. (IANS)