Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Patriotism (A meek & feeble attempt at some sensational journalism)

In view of the recent applause-worthy display of greatness on the part of our Indian athletes in the CWG, I was propelled to think about and question my own patriotism. In a country where Sachin Tendulkar assumes the place of a demi-god it is clear how proud we are of our country's successes. However, this pride is wholly based on patriotism. What is patriotism? It means "great love for one's country". That definition makes me wonder where this love comes from. I think that patriotism is just a scam. It wouldn't come naturally to you. The same way we feel good about ourselves when we achieve success, is how we are induced to feel when our country does. Thus we strive to do things(or do we even bother?); win laurels for our nation. In the bargain, the government earns some goodwill but more importantly its ego of feeling like it's the best is massively appeased.

That explains why, in our schooling days itself we are influenced to feel patriotism every time we sing in chorus the national anthem; every time India wins a big cricket match(can't think of another example!). The concept of being against one's country is ridiculous! One thought that stems from negativity towards your homeland is considered to be wicked; your existence is looked upon as undeserving. Your country is supposed to be like a Mother. We are meant to feel proud to belong where we do. How can you not like your own land, right?

There's nothing wrong in being patriotic. It's great even. It just is hypocritical when we pretend(?) to show extreme pride in our country's achievements but not vote or do anything in our own capacity to be a worthy resident of society. Worse still, we shrivel up our noses in disgust when we happen to be passing slums which form a major part of our city life.

Patriotism has lost its honourable glossy sheen. Long gone are its glorious days when dying for your country was counted as one of the single most noble act. Stories of Bhagat Singh and Gandhi have lost its charm and have been reduced to marketing gimmicks for movie makers to oversell the great freedom fighting history of our country. Nowadays in theaters we are compelled to the obligation of abandoning our cozy recliner seats and steaming hot nachos and we giggle frivolously when we are to stand reluctantly for merely three minutes to pay our respects to the national anthem.

So ask yourself, are you really patriotic? Or is it a feeling only aroused when you see some positive feel-good news somewhere that extinguishes once the hype of the occasion dies down.
Do we only take pride in our achievements and not do anything to fix the real problems? Worse, do we even acknowledge these grave problems?
You want to contribute? Well then at least care to cast your vote to the lesser-corrupt politician if not stand for elections yourself!
Do your bit or don't call yourself a patriot.

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