Right to Patriotism

This August saw a chain of events with incessant enthusiasm, remembrance of Kargil heroes, Janmashtmi, Independence Day, rain in the capital. Newspapers, journals, electronic media houses, everybody was busy catching the flavor and rolling out ’special’ issues. One thing that caught one’s attention more than anything else was the common vouching of all the media houses for the ‘patriots of India’. Kargil war’s 10th anniversary followed by Independence day made the special issues really special in content and context.

Picking up any issue of the lot or switching on to any channel on T.V., one found unending descriptions of brave, heart-wrenching stories of soldiers during and post Kargil war. How our brave soldiers faced bullets and laid down their lives for their motherland .Their contribution was honored in the form of medals and stories being told across the country. The incidents were moving and filled one with pride. The vicarious feeling of patriotism deluged one as one went through one story to the next.

Their stories filled one with a new enthusiasm and inspiration to do something for the beloved motherland. But the inevitable question blocked the way to glory—How? Probably join the armed forces and attain highest plane of patriotism.

Suddenly one thought what if one is unable to join the armed forces. Will the right to patriotism then be denied?

Let us search for an answer-you and I .

A soldier lays down his life fighting for his country and is honored, becomes a source of inspiration and an element of pride. Critics say death on duty is an occupational hazard in the life of a soldier and shouldn’t be glorified. According to them even a mine worker serves the Nation mortgaging his life; a construction engineer or a laborer is always under the treat of a mishap (which do occur every now and then killing people working at the sites); a train driver is also under threat of a human error ubiquitous in all parts of India. Aren’t they working for the betterment of the fellow citizen, making their lives comfortable and secure? Taking unfortunate Mumbai incident of 26/11 aren’t hotel employers under threat?

To make things simpler and annoying the farmers, who are at a constant mercy of the monsoon, moneylenders, snakes in the fields, working for the Nation by producing food.

The list of potential patriots can go on, but the question still lies looking blatantly for an answer. The question that one asks is “Who is a patriot? Why is he called a patriot? Who is a more patriotic than others?”

Well, the answer could be very simple. A soldier is aware of his duties. What he does, he knows he is doing it for the country so any adulteration in commitment and personal desires out of the duty are obviated. Every citizen of India has an unofficial right to patriotism and this right is different from all other constitutional rights. It calls for a duty on everyone’s part.

Lord Krishna has been quoted in the Geeta saying that one should perform the duties that one must without any personal attachment and perform it to the highest possible perfection. It is then that the duty performed becomes spiritual.

The same theory is applicable in our context with a little embellishment. If we perform our duties as an engineer, doctor, policeman, shopkeeper, student, teacher, anything for that matter towards the sole aim of nation –building, the job is done.

A soldier enjoys this conciousness and every body else needs to rise up the occasion. What could be better than a country full of patriots, a difficult hope but hope is what keeps one going.

Wonder why Janmashtami and I-day fall in the same month! Any guesses?

Manish Thakur

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