Patriotism: the word brings to mind flag waving, face painted, bandanna attired, tri-colored t shirt wearing cricket crazed fans in Eden Gardens, Ferozeshah Kotla, Wankhede or the Chinnaswamy Stadium. And before any of you readers start blaming me of being narrow minded and stupid enough to correlate patriotism with cricket, can any of you disagree with the fact that cricket is the one sport in India that truly goes beyond all boundaries of caste, creed, language, gender, religion, age groups and education. It truly defines being Indian and being patriotic for a vast majority of us, and is something that all Indians worldwide can easily identify with.
However, that is not the brand of patriotism that I want to talk about today.
Shall we then focus on patriotism that borders on jingoism and antics such as sharing stuff on Twitter and Facebook which read “Please retweet / click on the Like button if you want the Indian flag to win a competition for the best designed flag in the world” or “Congo to Pradeep Kumar, who won the American Spelling B contest. Indian kidzzzz rok!!!” No, that brand of patriotism also doesn’t quite work for me, nor am I going to waste any more of your or my time in discussing it.
Let’s then talk about patriotism which flows within the veins of most Indian diaspora settled down abroad and who are earning in dollars, pounds, euros, yuan and whatever other currency fancies them. These are the ‘Indians’ who are ever ready to pounce on anybody who has anything bad to say about India, Indians or Indian culture and defend it to the hilt. For such people, nothing can be bad about India, Indians, Indian culture or Indian values. No, I will not discuss them or their brand of patriotism here simply because I stand the risk of being labeled somebody who has never seen India from the outside and will therefore not understand their brand of patriotism.
Let us then focus on the patriots who sincerely believe that India is not India but is Hindustan or even better Bharat. Quite a few of these jokers have been in the news recently highlighting how ‘love jihad’ and ‘Romeo jihad’ have prevented Bharat from progressing and how these so called ‘jihadis’ have prevented the Hindu population of the country from burgeoning further and how this brand new form of fundamentalism is the primary cause of all that is wrong with India, sorry Bharat, today. But then, I never discuss politics or religion on my blog and therefore this brand of patriotism is also ruled out from the discussion.
Do you think it makes sense for us to then focus on the fact that we are the world’s biggest ‘functioning’ democracy? Notice how I put the word functioning within quotes, because after all, we do elect our government and it also functions despite all its faults and misgivings. Let us focus on being proud of the fact that we are a democracy, a large one at that and how we should all be patriotic about that fact. Is that the brand of patriotism that we want to discuss today? Being proud of all that India has invented like the zero, surgery, astronomy, and various other contentious things, shall we discuss that brand of patriotism. No, that would be a little too much for one blog post, and also considering that Sidin Vadukut has already done a wonderful job of all these things in his book “The Sceptical Patriot” [Link to purchase the book] it would be a waste of time to talk about that brand of patriotism as well.
What other brand of patriotism do we discuss in this post? What does patriotism mean to all of you? Go on, leave behind your comments on this post and then we can discuss it.
This post has been written for Project 365 : A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was What does patriotism mean to you? I know I have kind of cheated here and not really discussed what patriotism means to me, but then I forced all of you to think about what patriotism meant to you, didn’t I?