What is Patriotism?

The nation recently celebrated its 61st Independence Day. India’s struggle for Independence is a saga of thousands of men, women and even children who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the nation. And so by celebrating Independence Day, we pay homage to all those who fought for our country‚Äôs independence.

But gone are the days when every Indian citizen valued the importance of this great day. Time has eroded those sentiments and now we observe this day just like any other holiday. Children are forced to go to schools to attend the flag hoisting ceremony by making attendance compulsory.

The Oxford dictionary defines patriotism as devoted love, support, and defence of one’s country; national loyalty. But the word patriotism cannot be restricted and is very subjective in nature. One need not play cricket matches or fight wars to express their feeling of patriotism. Our emotions run high when India thrashes Pakistan in any sports or when a businessman of Indian origin, staying abroad, makes it big in the world. We feel so patriotic when a lady of Indian origin (who has hardly been in India) goes into space. The episode of Sunita Williams and consequent celebrations in India clearly exhibit to what extent we are obsessed with the Western culture.

One of the problems is that we still ape the West, which is actually a dangerous trend. We are losing our own identity in the process. Most of the time we let apathy seep into us which makes us incompetent of any action at the ground level. There was a very apt dialogue in the movie Rang De Basanti, which said “koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, usse perfect banana padta hai” (no nation is perfect, it has to be made perfect). And whose responsibility is it to make it perfect?

Author Shiv Khera said that if we are not part of the solution, then we are the problem. Our country has made advancements in almost all sectors but there is still greater distance to cover. There are some problems that are still unattended and we need to work on that. A nation does not become great with slogans. It becomes great when its citizens do great things. We just don’t want to fight the injustice and battle for our integrity. We need to change ourselves and drive this nation forward. We need to be a part of the system and bring some positive changes.

Politics is not a dirty game, it’s just that there are dirty players. That’s all. If you say that you don’t promote wrong things and you are neutral then that is paradox. If you don’t oppose injustice and crime then you are certainly encouraging it. The vision of Independent India became a reality when our freedom fighters came together and fought the imperialists, which was initially considered impossible.

India is not the only country with problems but is certainly amongst the few that does not throw up the solution. As responsible citizens, we need to provide the solutions.

There are so many small ways in which an individual can contribute towards the progress of our nation. We need to improve the tone of our social and economic life through improved work ethics and environmental behaviour. Let us rally behind our flag, let us love our country with all its faults, let us work to improve it with all our strength, let us defend it with all our resources, let us hand it on to the coming generations better than what it was when we received it. Let us try to build a nation, which our freedom fighters dreamt of. That will be a real tribute to them!

Remember one thing – the country is our mother and we have to be responsible enough to say that we are going to take care of her.

Jai Hind.

Rishabh Srivastava

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