Nationality, Complex Identities & Multiple Belongings

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Rohini Hensman

by Dr. Rohini Hensman, Pravada/Polity, Colombo, December 2021


I am not arguing that the nation-state is on the verge of becoming defunct; this is far from being the case. Rather, I am arguing we should reject the notion that a unique and
homogeneous ‘nationality’ is a marker of our identity. Indeed, with climate change and
environmental degradation threatening our planet, the very survival of humankind may
depend on more and more people identifying as citizens of the world! This is why I hold onto my ambivalent national identity. My visa problems have to some degree been solved after I was granted an ‘Overseas Citizen of India’ card, which resembles a residence permit. Other rights are restricted, and it can be withdrawn at the whim of the authorities, but the lack of security is worth it. I am hoping that Polity will, among other things, develop the notion of complex identities and multiple belongings as it enters its fourth decade.

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