Patriotism and India

(Warning: this post may not be too coherent…I’ve just jotted down some thoughts)

This post was inspired by Kislay’s post The Idea of a Nation

What is patriotism? Is it love of one’s birthplace, the place of childhood dreams and aspirations? Is there a single definition of patriotism? If so, what is it? How is it measured? Is waving the national flag and singing the national anthem on ceremonial occasions a true indicator of patriotism? Does the average Indian have reason to be patriotic? Does he need a reason?

Many believe that sentiments like patriotism, noble though they are, are subjective and mean little to the common man…They think that one is patriotic only when one is proud of one’s country and its achievements and since many ordinary Indians live a hard life, they have nothing to be proud of and therefore nothing to be patriotic about…I believe that patriotism should not come with strings attached – the idea of the concept is lost if people consider themselves patriotic when the going is good and unpatriotic when the going is tough…Like one loves one’s mother, one should love one’s country no matter what the situation is…

After some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that the concept of patriotism has aspects of conceit, arrogance and egotism…It assumes that the world is divided into regions, each one surrounded by an iron gate…Those who have had the good fortune of being born in a rich region may consider themselves better, grander and more intelligent than those living in poorer regions…The fortunate ones may therefore feel it is their ‘patriotic’ duty to fight, kill and die in their attempt to impose their superiority upon all the others…It is because of this misguided notion of patriotism that many who love their states try to impose their culture and language on others eg. making Hindi the national language…It is also because of this misguided sense of patriotism that many fortunate people believe that they are being milked by the less fortunates and this results in comments like “…the BIMARU states should be let to go. These states can go screw themselves as they have been doing all this time. Enough of taking money from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, TN and other states.” (This comment was made on Nita’s post Kashmir through the eyes of a Kashmiri and it was also the comment that inspired Kislay’s post The Idea of a Nation)…

I don’t believe for a second that India should be divided – in fact I strongly believe that it should remain as it is despite its problems…People who believe life will be better if states who wanted to separate were allowed to do so are mistaken…Division will not bring peace, it will only increase bloodshed…Thomas Jefferson rightly said, “Patriotism is not a short, frenzied burst of emotion, but the long and steady dedication of a lifetime.” We the people are largely responsible for the mess we have created for ourselves and it is therefore our duty to rectify this mess…

Indians have a lot to be proud of…The idea of the nation has not entirely failed if you believe in the concepts of freedom and democracy which have been guaranteed to us by our Constitution…It is this freedom that allows us to elect our government and it is also this freedom that allows us to criticize it, however bizarre the criticism may be…

As I wrote on Kislay’s blog, patriotism to me is not about religion or region…Patriotism is to do with the state; the idea of a nation…It is not based on shared descent or kinship but on shared history and beliefs…It includes attachment to the country’s land and people, acceptance of its diversit, admiration for its varied customs and traditions, pride in its history, and interest in its welfare and development…

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25 thoughts on “Patriotism and India

  1. A nation has things to be proud of and things to be ashamed of… its our job to be proud of things and change the things of which we are ashamed… its a never ending process… I think as long as we aspire and keep trying to change the short comings we are patriotic… !

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  2. Well said Sraboney! My idea of patriotism is the same plus the practicality of staying united. Intolerance and divisions do weaken a nation. When somebody says religion divides us we forget we will find language, region, caste, colour, class endless reasons to divide us if we divisions are an option 😦
    The election results today have been a surprise. A very pleasant surprise… we Indians are (someone said on the TV) ‘a beacon of’ hope and stability… surrounded by strife (I forget the words… but I loved the thought behind those words).

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  3. Very well stated. “Like one loves one’s mother, one should love one’s country no matter what the situation is…”. That is the point. But, there are those like the commenter you quoted who ask :”Jaanta nahin mera baap kuan hai?” They just can’t seem to agree on that.

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  4. 😀 Nothing to add here . Your thoughts cannot be more alike than mine . 🙂 It is interesting , how all this started . Nita -> Me -> Anrosh , you and Chrysalis . I am waiting for Indyeah now 🙂

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  5. …Patriotism is to do with the state; the idea of a nation…It is not based on shared descent or kinship but on shared history and beliefs…It includes attachment to the country’s land and people, acceptance of its diversit, admiration for its varied customs and traditions, pride in its history, and interest in its welfare and development…
    thank you so so much for this post Sraboney”!

    After feeling all that anger and hurt which seemed as if it would never end for a moment..yours , Kislay’s , Chrysalis’s and Anrosh’s words have given me hope..I am so damn glad to see and read that there are people who dont jsut feel but feel so damn strongly about this!

    What is India if not a country?A nation that just is…mine yours and also for so many others….

    Why do people want a nation divided?

    It hurts…deep inside..so deep that I dont even know where to apply any balm to soothe away my hurts…

    but these words here at this space help…they heal too….

    Thank you!

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  6. just because the guys who discussed say what they said ( on nita’s blog) does not mean they are not patriotic –

    the concept of nation can be discussed in more ways and it depends on which horse’s mouth it is coming !

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    • true An..but words hurt if they are not used wisely..words lead to sores that seem hard to heal…couldnt some of them have used better words instead of telling certain states to go and I quote ”screw themselves?”

      One simply has to wonder at the mindset of such people and their thinking capabilities…
      Even others discussed the same topic but with a maturity and calmness that was refreshing to say the least…
      the topic was not patriotism on that blog…that gopt lost in all the viciousness…

      the topic became ”my state is superior to yours!we don’t need India and you so go and screw yourself!”

      now that language and that assumption is sickening …

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  7. Superb post Bones… 🙂
    Patriotism – if it is there for this whole world instead of our country India it will be good.. because India is a part of this world.. and if we divide it means will be patriotic to our home or lastly ourselves.. that’s how I am seeing that.. 🙂
    Let it be bigger and love this whole world 🙂

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  8. Bones – Fantastic post! It is really fascinating to read so many views on this subject! Patriotism is definitely subjective! And I love waht you’ve said here – ‘Patriotism is to do with the state; the idea of a nation…It is not based on shared descent or kinship but on shared history and beliefs…It includes attachment to the country’s land and people, acceptance of its diversit, admiration for its varied customs and traditions, pride in its history, and interest in its welfare and development…’ Beautifully said! Nothing to add!

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