Motherland, Fatherland, Homeland:
One’s country of origin or native country is referred to as fatherland, or motherland, or simply as homeland. Whether one personifies one’s country (State: territory, population and sovereignty) as the fatherland or as the motherland depends upon the land’s tradition, history, culture, and socio-political evolution of the society in that country, and personal preference of a citizen.
In a globalized and globalizing world, at the same time, nationalistic attachments and patriotic preferences are manifesting. Usage of motherland or fatherland can sound nationalistic and politically- or socially correct or incorrect but it is a reality.
One’s emphasis on one’s country as motherland or fatherland can stress or emphasize or convey one’s patriotism.
Motherland, or mother country, is a country regarded as a place of origin, also as of an idea or a movement. Some reason that when countries are addressed as motherland they are usually peasant or agrarian societies which predominantly depend upon on agriculture for sustenance.
Fatherland is the native land or the country of one’s ancestors or one’s father or forefathers’ country. USA has many citizens whose fatherlands could be Estonia or Eritrea, Iran or India, Zimbabwe or Zanzibar. Some reason that when countries are addressed as fatherland they are usually militaristic, war-prone either historically or in its evolution as a state (country).
Sahil Aggarwal wrote in The Times of India’s website: “Groups that refer to their native country as a fatherland associate it primarily with paternal concepts. Motherland is a term that may refer to a mother country, the origin of a colonial power or an ethnic group or immigrant. Motherland is otherwise a synonym for fatherland, though perhaps carrying different psychological associations. It especially has the connotation of one’s country of birth and growing up, with the country being respectfully viewed as a benign mother nurturing its citizens as her children.”
Some countries personify their lands in the masculine form: Germany (Vaterland), Netherlands (Vaderland), Czech (Otcina), Estonia (Isamaa)
Many countries personify their lands in the feminine form: India
Motherland: Matushka Rosa, Bharat Mata, Mater Terra, Mutter Erde
“The people of some countries have historically personified their country in feminine ways. To them, their home country is (in translation) the motherland. For example, a common personification of Russia is Mother Russia (Matushka Rosa). During the movement for Indian independence of the late 1800s, the concept of Bharat Mata (or Mother India) emerged. Both of these personifications have been linked to ancient mother goddesses,” says dictionary.com. “Indeed, languages and cultures have long personified the earth (and creative forces more generally) as female. English has Mother Earth (recorded since the 1500s), with antecedents in the Latin Mater Terra and German Mutter Erde. Mother goddesses abound in world culture.” In France, motherland is terre mere.
Mikhail Zoschenko refers to Russia (USSR) as the fatherland in his short story ‘A Merry Adventure’: “The author himself doesn’t know what’s most significant, most, so to speak, magnificent in our lives—what, generally speaking, makes existence worthwhile.
“Maybe it’s service to the fatherland. Maybe it’s service to the people and all that sort of tempestuous ideology. Maybe that’s it. Yes, that’s probably it. But in the private realm, in the everyday scheme of things, there are, apart from these lofty ideas, other, humbler little notions. And it is these, in large part, that make our lives interesting and attractive.” –Mikhail Zoshchenko
The usage of one’s country as homeland in the place of fatherland or motherland is the youngest compared to fatherland and motherland. Homeland clearly connotes one’s land as opposed to foreign or other lands. Homeland has a neutral connotation instead of saying motherland or fatherland.
USA has a department that calls as ‘Homeland security’ not fatherland or motherland security.
MOTHERLAND as a reference:
One can also attribute personally, or a geographically entity, as one’s motherland or fatherland: my motherland is…or, my fatherland is…An advertisement issued by CHINA FOCUS produced by Beijing Review says about Macao headlined as Rightful Return: Macao transforms itself since rejoining the motherland 20 years ago: “When Kou Kam Fal was a university student in Macao, he had to work part-time to pay for his tuition as his family couldn’t afford his education. That was before 1999 when the island in south China was a Portuguese colony, wrested away in the 16th century. But since the return of Macao to the motherland in 1999 and extensive reforms, a different story has been unfolding.”