By definition, patriotism is the “ideology of love, devotion and support to one’s country and a sense of alliance with other citizens who share the same values. Patriotism is a sense of belonging and pride that’s associated with one’s country.”
Our patriotic fervour is mostly dead or limited to cricket fields. It is probably the only thing that an Indian could die for and even there, if our team loses, many people resort to violence and processions. Can you think of any other instance where you could really feel the entire population of India coming together to back you up? I wish such protests were held for the innumerable social dilemmas our country is going through.
For today’s youth, India is reduced to being a mere launchpad for entry into the US, UK or other cash-rich countries. We feel that only a foreign label on our foreheads can show our true value to the entire world. This is a dangerous trend for we are losing our own identity in the process of trying to fit in the western crowd and culture.
The same Indians who claim to have a cleaner environment in their foreign abode are seen being careless back home. The same people become narrow-minded with respect to women, limiting their freedom to work, to dress and pretty much everything else. The same people are willing to pay more taxes without cribbing and settle for meagre jobs putting their ambitions on the back burner in the hope of better lives. How sad is it to the see that the vast majority of young India is willing to write off their youth and vigour to contribute making another country rich without a thought to give back anything to their own country. Let’s stop asking what is it that my country has given to me, rather let’s question ourselves – what have we given back to our country?
On top of this setback where young people are abandoning our country for greener opportunities without an ounce of pride in their origin, the social media provides further fodder by highlighting only the negatives of our country. Not a day passes without the media giving us news about – rape, casteism, murders, religious killing, corruption, poor politics, pathetic infrastructure, natural and manmade calamities, poverty etc. Since when has journalism reduced to mere sensationalism and spreading of negativity? I agree these are the realities we are living in, which needs our awareness and attention, but let’s not tag, that this is happening only in our country. Every country in the world is struggling with the same plague. However, they choose to showcase their achievements and focus on problem-solving than declaring despair.
It is so unfortunate to see desperate measures taken by our government to inculcate patriotism into its citizens. Never would I have imagined the necessity of the national anthem being played in cinema theatres and the enormous debates surrounding that. This well mirrors the fact that with passing time, our values and principles have eroded, and gone are the times when an average citizen could conjure the memories of countless men and women facing immense hardship and sufferings in their heroic struggle for independence. The very essence of what went behind to get the freedom we have today has lost its glory. The national days are merely seen as a holiday and their celebrations are limited to schools and colleges. Even there, it’s sad to see that the students participate in fear of losing marks or paying a fine. An entire generation is clueless about perhaps the most significant day of our country.
We need to reclaim pride in our country, we need to redeem our patriotism before it’s too late, before our next generation stands aloof to the struggles of our great freedom fighters and showcases nothing but disgust and disconnect towards their motherland. Let’s start with some simple steps here: