Patriotism and You

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Let us all be truthful, how many of us go for the unfurling of our national flag on 26th January or 15th August voluntarily? How many of us would rather sleep in, snuggling comfortably in our blankets than going out to celebrate these landmark events of our nation?

I don’t either.  I prefer saying back, happily completing my chores, reading something, watching movies, and being glad about the fact that it’s a holiday. Why is this happening? Why are days that are supposed to make us feel patriotic, make us feel proud about the fact that yes, we are Indians instead being considered equivalent to relaxing weekends instead? Why don’t people mourn martyrs who sacrifice their lives for this country, instead they seem disappointed at the fact that national holidays are dry days.

When decide to write an article on a topic, my mind instantly jumped to one thing, patriotism.  I was left wondering, why is this generation of Indians not patriotic? Why is the feeling of ownership, the sense of belonging to a nation, missing in most of us? The Indian freedom struggle saw immense patriotism. Who can forget the innumerable sacrifices made by our freedom fighters? Who can forget the fact that this nation was reborn on the principles of honesty and non-violence? Who can forget the Chauri Chaura incident? The birth of Indian National Congress? Mostly, who can ever forget how every single individual considered India to be their mother?

Now,this patriotism, this sense of pride seems to have died. We turn overtly patriotic when India is playing in the World Cup finals, but  we will not do anything against the injustice that happens in the country. Even if we do raise protests, we conveniently forget about the issue after weeks. Honestly, I am not a hard-core patriot either, but when I introspect I manage to get a few answers.

I belong to a country which has a third of the world’s poorest people, where corruption prevails everywhere, where leaders think wearing skirts and eating Chowmein leads to rape, where terrorist attacks are forgotten in two days and martyrs in one. The media highlights an issue for 2 days, after which the issue is forgotten promptly, because a film star is getting married. Cases seem to dragon in courts for years altogether and by the time some cases see the light of the day, the perpetrator is dead. The government approves relief funds for people in areas struck by natural disasters, but these funds are always lost in the sea of middle men. The rich get richer, the powerful get more powerful, and the common man suffers.  The country deteriorates every day, while the government and the people sit and watch.

Innumerable people our age gave up their lives for our country. And our biggest concern seems to be to ensure that our smartphones are equipped latest android version. I am turning 21 this year. Bhagat Singh was 23 when he sacrificed his life for this country. Would I do that? NO. Would any of you reading this do that?I doubt it. We throw our garbage on our streets. We keep our silence at the eve teasing happening in our locality. We don’t vote, claiming that all politicians are shady anyway. And then, we do not contest for elections, claiming that politics is not meant for the educated. We see child labour happening at our local dhaba, yet do not bat an eyelash. We see our neighbourhood kids abusing drugs, yet keep mum. We would rather bribe a government official than follow protocol. We think rules are meant to be broken. And yet, we blame the government for everything.

Today lets take an oath. An oath to do our bit for our country. See someone throwing garbage in the middle of the street? admonish them. See eve-teasing happening in your locality? report it to the authorities. See your local grocer blatantly charging you above the MRP? Refuse to pay. Your actions need not be revolutionary. Not all of us have the resources to generate a major change in the society. We are simply not powerful enough. But every little action, every little good deed that you do will culminate into something bigger. Change happens slowly,  it is the law of nature. And every little selfless deed that you do for this country will help build the foundation for this change. People don’t lie when they say that the Youth shape this country. You shape this country. So go out there and make this country, make this world a better place to live in. We have the key to shape an India which will make every Indian feel proud of the fact that they are Indian.

All of us can rant on social media about how this nation is going to the dogs. But, it takes a true citizen of this nation, a true patriot to work to eliminate the evils plaguing this country.

To conclude, Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

Jai Hind.

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