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Posted By Ritesh Chhajer on Wednesday, March 11, 2009
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India FlagWhat really defines patriotism? Before I could even make my humble attempt to try and define it, I see so many things around me that masquerade themselves as purported symbols of patriotism.
Shouting slogans on streets, Slumdog bashing, ushering Team India (Yeah, there is only 1 sport and 1 team in India. You could say "It's not cricket" but it is Cricket indeed), donating to charity organizations with the only purpose of getting tax benefits. Believe it or not, most of us live in this strange kind of fallacy where we get a false sense of patriotic pride virtually out of nothing or rather very trivial and petty things.

For instance, Oscars and accolades to Slumdog Millionaire has been the talk of town of late and I can see some of my friends getting furious and deeply offended as they think of the movie as some sort of poverty porn sold by a 'gora'. They say that as Indians they were deeply hurt. WTF? Give me a break. This is what I call "pseudo patriotism". Don't they know that majority of India is still below the poverty line? But they see only what they want to see. Rising Sensex doesn’t mean India is shining, it's just a handful. And if they are so hurt by seeing those slum kids, then my simple question to them is "Guys, what have you done for your country"? All they did was to pass on the blame and move on for greener pastures in life.

Just like we get offended by silly things, we get ecstatic by equally trivial things like some beautiful Indian chic winning a beauty pageant or beating Pakistan in cricket. My intention is not to trivialize their achievements but these things are not something that should satiate one's national pride.

It's quite funny that almost every one of us is hard core fanatic when it comes to our religion or our mother tongue but when it comes to our country, we just run away from it. Let us not even talk about a small section of people who go out on streets and confuse jingoism with patriotism.

All said and done, the question still remains unanswered how do I define true patriotism? I remember during my good old school days, we all students used to take this everyday pledge.
"India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage. I shall always strive to be worthy of it. I shall give respect to my parents, teachers and elders and treat everyone with courtesy. To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion. In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness."

I reckon these simple words pretty much encapsulate true meaning of patriotism, at least for me. Hopefully before I lie down on my deathbed, I would have done enough to fulfill my obligations.

 

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  • Gravatar
    Abhishek Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 7:39 AM
    Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
    Makes sense happy

  • Gravatar
    Subodh Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 8:05 AM
    Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
    >>all Indians are my brothers and sisters.
    Dang. Did you really pledge that?

    • Gravatar
      Ritzy Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 3:45 PM
      Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
      We were kids thenhappy

      • Gravatar
        Subodh Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 3:54 PM
        Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
        So? Kids can take a pledge and forget about it? *Grin*

  • Gravatar
    Prasanna Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 8:17 PM
    Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
    Nice attempt at defining something that is very complex.

    Why didnt Danny Boyle make a movie about how the British looted trillions from India and made India suffer from one famine after another(for several decades). Will they acknowledge something like this and show themselves in poor light?

    Why not focus on the plight of immigrant workers in the Persian Gulf?

    When it comes to charity, can you make sure that your money is being used for the right purposes? It will take another movie to show the world how the whole charity business works.

    • Gravatar
      Ritzy Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 9:09 PM
      Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
      Well, was the movie Oscar worthy? NO.
      Could it get all the accolades if it was made by an Indian? NO.
      But was the movie entertaining enough? Yes.

      Unfortunately we live in a prejudiced society where we tend to typecast everyone. I remember, the very first time during school days when we used to watch English movies, first thought that used to come would be "Koi scene tha kya?". Thats's the very same reason, even so called connoisseurs of movies attend film festivals in India. So in this case are we not typecasting them?

      But my point is not to review the hype and hoopla about the movie. All I'm saying is there is no need for anyone to get offended by a petty movie. If someone really feels for his country or countrymen, he ought to do something about it and then ask questions. We get hurt for the simple reason that we just don't want to face it.

      Regarding your point about charity, I share your thought. It's just a way to fool yourself that you've done something remarkably good.

      It's our perception that makes a thing either complex or simple. My idea of patriotism may sound naive like a juvenile kid who was used to take that pledge everyday but I do believe in it's simplistic message. Taking military option and giving one's whole life to social causes may cound idealistic and not pragmatic for everyone. But as long we can help our fellow beings by doing whatever bit we can, the satisfaction we get just cannot be described in words.

  • Gravatar
    Prasanna Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 8:26 PM
    Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
    BTW, the point I was trying to make was it is important to fight against such things as Slumdog as that tells the people of the world that there could be something different than what is portrayed in the movie. Otherwise the movie could very well become the fact.

    • Gravatar
      Ritzy Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 9:20 PM
      Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
      It's just a movie,a work of fiction and no matter whether it's a hit or a flop, it's impact is always short lived. If movies could made an impact, most of the immigrants like us would have gone back to India after watching "Swades". For me, any movie is like a piece of art and it could be either good or bad. Thats it. It does nothing more than that.

      • Gravatar
        Prasanna Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 9:59 PM
        Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
        Movies might not influence you (and a lot of people like you). But there are other people in the world, and I know many in the US of A, who dont know where India is or what it is like. To them, a movie like Slumdog will be what India is. And I dont want my India to be represented in that way by stupid movies like that. It might not matter to the people living in the slum on what the world thinks India is but it matters to me. And thats why I am pissed off with this movie.

        Same is the reason am pissed off with MF Hussain. The blighter painted my gods nude. It is not art. Let him paint the god he believes in nude. Let him paint his mother.

        Again it is not going to affect me directly, but in the eyes of the people who dont know the real stuff, my beliefs, become lowly and it matters to me that they think high of me.

        Hence fighting against such things is also a way of patriotism and showing loyalty to your country.

        • Gravatar
          Ritzy Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 10:51 PM
          Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
          No issues as long thats "also" a way and not the "only" way.

  • Gravatar
    Vincent Friday, March 13, 2009 at 11:24 AM
    Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
    You are absolutely right. Patriotism is not in what you think or speak, but actually in doing something for the nation.
    A sport or a movie is only makes us feel good or bad and I don't think they are related to patriotism and the main intent is entertainment.

  • Gravatar
    Sudhi Friday, March 13, 2009 at 10:07 PM
    Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
    The best definition that I've ever heard of "Patriotism" is from a military captain who says:

    "Patriotism is making the other guy die for his country"

    • Gravatar
      Ritzy Friday, March 13, 2009 at 11:33 PM
      Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
      Hahaha! Good one. Did he define something for the civilians too?

  • Gravatar
    Sudhi Friday, March 13, 2009 at 11:59 PM
    Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
    Unfortunately no. But then, its very difficult to get civilians to follow rules, so any one definition would not hold good happy

    BTW, do you have any filter which doesn't accept a "." (dot) in the email id?

    • Gravatar
      Ritzy Monday, March 16, 2009 at 7:00 PM
      Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
      Sorry about the email validation flaw. It's fixed. Try now.

  • Gravatar
    rana Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 3:52 PM
    Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
    I guess many Indians are forced to be hyper-sensitive to, works of art or movie stories. (may be ignited by few motivated groups) My personal feeling on works of art is that, they should be just seen a source of thought and entertainment than anything else. Many of us are insensitive to everything distasteful happening around but react wildly about a movie or a story (I myself was initially feeling bitter reading the first 100 lines of "white tiger" but came to terms with it after the finishing the book ). If we have the courage/accountability to the society we are in, we should respond the same way for all the social and political non-sense going around.

    Back to the topic of the week, patriotism to me is the sense of high self-esteem,feeling of proud for being a person belonging to a nation for everything that nation offers you. Our system has not given us that feeling of being "proud to be Indian" but we seem to be developing that fast.

    Compared to 10 years back when it was a easy topic to criticize India for everything, there is bigger reluctance to criticize India as much now-a-days. This is a good change. Hopefully we see a better feeling in many of us to be an INDIAN.

    -rana

    • Gravatar
      Ritzy Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 4:11 PM
      Re: How patriotic are we Indians?
      So very true Rana. On a similar note few days back, there was so much of noise on getting Gandhi's belongings back to India. So often, we get into rhetorics where it's easy to exhibit one's pride and lame alibis to pass on the blame. Just like some of software engineers who work on a product just for the heck of it but don't believe in it, unless we believe in our nation, we would never be proud of it. By the way, I'm still awaiting the revival of your blogs

  • Gravatar
    Mayur Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 6:47 AM

    How far would you o for you country? www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1wpPVVYfI4

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