The Beginning and End of my Patriotism
“Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons”
— Bertrand Russell
Yeah, there is an end to my patriotism. By ‘end’ I mean a limit to which I love my country; an extent of love; a border I have drawn to the patriotism as YOU define it.
When I was in school, I was patriotic by your definition. How could you not be when you are bombarded with the glorious history and the promising future of India? We used to begin the day by singing the national anthem, end it by singing ‘Vande Mataram.’ Even in times when we discussed the ‘present problems’ of India, we always reached a diplomatic and sugary conclusion. The debate used to make me feel elated that my generation will change things; that we will not fall prey to ‘brain drain’ and such crap.
Ta-daa! I grew up one fine day. My bubble was burst not when I left school but when I was in the ninth standard. I woke up from the dream that only old-fashioned adults are fanatics. My generation was worse and able of more fanatical things. My own school-mates were examples of how religion was more important an identity than nationality. I heard fanatical views of both religion- Hindu and Muslim. And I couldn’t take it in, both times. My generation is no different. Will you believe me when I say that the most important thing I was proud of [and still am, actually] about my country was its ‘unity in diversity’? Guess now it’s just a catchy phrase like ‘Incredible India’.
See, the difference in our love for our country is because I can’t love anything without reason. My love is not blind.
I do not agree when you say I’m not patriotic because I disapprove of too many things in my country. There are many things which I’m honestly embarrassed and ashamed about. What is not right will continue to be wrong even if you choose to sugar coat the truth or be indifferent to it. I agree that when I comment I should have the ability to change it and not be just a passive critic. I’m trying hard to make myself ‘able’ and comment only on topics I’m well-read in and have a ‘genuine opinion’ on, not just a ‘passing comment.’
I do not agree when you say you are patriotic because you support India during an India-Pakistan match. I appreciate the stand you take but according to me, sports, music, arts should be kept away from such ridiculous displays of patriotism. These forms are meant to unite people. Ability does not depend on someone’s nationality. When someone is a genius the whole world should celebrate it, respecting the person’s individuality and nationality.
I do not agree when you say I am not patriotic because my ideas are influenced greatly by the west or because I listen to too many English songs or appreciate many English movies and programs. My thinking is mine. My nationality will not define my concept of good and bad.
The present-day India bugs me. How can a country be ruled by uneducated politicians? How can people be carried away by regional/religious politics? Why do we need goons to protect our culture when it is ours to nourish and passed on with education? Why do we need moral policing? Why do politicians get away with unpatriotic comments? Why do you need a politician instead of an administrator? How can people be so unhygienic and disrespectful of public property? How can we be so uninspired to change things? How can we accept this as a way of life in India and be proud of it? How can people have a ‘chalta hai’ attitude if they love their country and witnessing its retreat into poverty?
The Indians who are successful are self-made, not country-made.
What are you proud of?
Is it the history or the future? Is it culture? Where is it? Do you know anything about your culture? Have you read anything about India more than the textbook mentions?
Is it the youth? What are we doing except being optimistic about the future and having ‘realistic’ ideas and opinions? Who will act and when? Look at your own college campus, how many of them have that fire and ability to be the change. How many want to be big in life, forget country, at least for themselves?
I can’t comprehend how this country still manages to run. I agree with Arvind Adiga in his book ‘The white tiger’ says, India is a rooster coop– over-crowded, stinky and ready to be butchered!
I know I am being very pessimistic and things will not change with the snap of one’s fingers. I’m angry. Cool me down. Tell me, what are you proud of? Let me know.
Bitter and saddened,
“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”
— Pablo Casals