I work and I earn.
I earn enough and pay taxes.
Lots of taxes.
I employ people.
I develop skills.
I pay them.
And pay taxes.
Taxes that are for the development of my country.
I pay for rent.
I pay for equipment, I pay for services.
I pay more taxes.
I earn loads of money and make an equal load of positive changes.
Yet, I am forced to stand up for the National Anthem, every time I watch a movie (also taxed) to prove that I am a ‘patriot’.
If the National Anthem is not played during the movie, it will not make me ‘less of a patriot’ – just as it doesn’t make me ‘more patriotic’ even when it is played! The point here is not about me having to delay taking my recliner seat up because I need to stand up for the National Anthem (on second thought, that too) – but it is more about me having to prove that I am a patriot with all these silly laws cropping up every now and then. The whole attitude around these laws undermines everything else that I may be doing for my country.
When did patriotism come down to obeying and/or agreeing with the government? If you adhere to their views, their vision and support their prophecy – you are a ‘true patriot’ – otherwise, you are downright ‘anti-national’! Frankly, the ‘most patriotic’ thing people are doing today is talking about their mothers and sisters, in words that are best left unexpressed here, on twitter – and feeling immensely ‘nationalist’ about it. Bravo!
It doesn’t matter if you are bringing laurels to your country, or fighting for your country, or working hard for your country – suddenly all that matters is whether are you standing in the ATM queues without cribbing or not! Soldiers should not complain about the food they are getting, students should not protest against the injustice they are facing, people should not complain about the hardships caused by new laws being passed. And when you do, or even try to do, all or any of these ‘banned’ things, pat comes the reply – “Go to Pakistan!”
Just as an afterthought, I would like to question the whole concept of patriotism here. While patriotism is generally seen as a uniting emotion, I personally find it rather divisive! If patriotism is one side of the coin, xenophobia is the other. I don’t think we can talk about ‘World Peace’ at various conferences all over the world, while also promoting, encouraging and forcing ‘patriotism’ upon the citizens at the same time.
I think Leo Tolstoy, in his essay, “Patriotism or Peace?” sums up my point best, when he says – “Patriotism cannot be good. What produces war is the desire for an exclusive good for one’s own nation – that is called patriotism. And so to abolish war, it is necessary to abolish patriotism and to abolish patriotism, it is necessary first to become convinced that it is an evil”.