Once again there was a time when the whole country stood united and cheered out India!! India!! in unison. And why not, we were playing against our arch rivals in a cricket match. It was the high time when each one of us showed how much love he has for his nation. But let me stop here and ask for a little introspection. Is this the definition of Patriotism for us? Why the Indian inside us emerges only when there is a terrorist attack on our nation, whenever we come out of a cinema hall after watching a patriotic movie or as in most of the cases, when India-Pakistan cricket match is going on.
Patriotism as we believe is a formality, a formality of saluting our national flag and 52 seconds of freezed stature during the national anthem. And in some cases, even that becomes too much for us. We prefer to limit the whole concept to our freedom fighters, army men and sports stars. But one does not need to be in the defense forces or represent India in sports to perform patriotic duty, but all of us, in our own little way can perform this duty every day.
Patriotism comes from the innate belonging to the idea of nation. It’s a feeling one experiences only if he is able to rise above the religion or caste. We felt the honored, glorified and proud when India won the world cup, celebrated it going berserk on the streets but we definitely forget it when we cast our vote in the elections, when we shamelessly throw garbage on the roads and yet so many times more.
When we talk about India, one major class of people can be easily forgotten. It is the economically and thus as a result socially impotent and backward class. It is rightly said – An empty stomach cannot blow the seditious sound of the war bugle. Thus one cannot expect them to play an important role in reforming patriotism. This situation should be unraveled in course of time and not suddenly. Only when family upbringing and school education have inculcated in the individual a knowledge of the cultural and economic and, above all, the political greatness of his own country- then, and only then, will it be possible for him to feel proud of being a citizen of such a country.
I can fight only for something I love. I can love only what I respect. And in order to respect a thing I must have at least some knowledge of it
On the other hand, we are the educated and a bit more favored section of our society. We know our glorious past, our freedom struggle and the sacrifice of the martyrs. We know our rights as well as our duties and steps that we must take to see Vision 2020 becoming a reality through our own eyes. But the truth is, we try to draw mileage from every loop hole in the society and engage ourselves in building heavens of comfort and luxury. We portray ourselves to be a puppet in the hands of the politicians, but in reality we find our own profit in every act provoked by them let it be corruption or reservation. After all, we are the ones who select these politicians.
The lines from Rang De Basanti do create a buzz. “No Country is Perfect, You’ve got to make it Perfect! The country will change, we will change it!”
Adlai E Stevenson has said, “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” Patriotism need not have a mass motive, it need not be national. Small things and actions persuaded with a notion of doing good to other countrymen is patriotism. Thus we need to give up the ignoble thinking that we have nurtured towards our society and surroundings. Having pride in our hearts for our country and performing the duties towards our nation and society will make us a true patriot. After all, if not you, Who? If not now, When?