I watched ‘Bose-The Forgotten Hero’ sometime back, a movie that released in 2005. At the end of the movie, 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 but now it seems to have died. 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, leaders think wearing skirts and eating chowmein leads to rape, terrorist attacks are forgotten in two days and martyrs in one. These facts are definitely nothing to be proud of. Don’t get me wrong, I am no India-hating hypocrite, I am simply pointing out the things which actively prevent one from being a patriot.
Recently, I came across an article about a RAW agent posted in Pakistan, who helped our country immensely during the war, was caught and finally breathed his last in a Pakistan jail in 2001. The result of such outstanding work was: the Indian government refused to recognise him as a citizen; his mother was given a compensation of INR 1200.
How can a country show such apathy in a situation like this? And this is just one example, there are a million others. With such occurrences, the feeling of patriotism is liable to die out.
It’s quite ironical that almost every one of us is a fanatic when it comes to our religion or our mother tongue, but when it comes to our country we lack that something substantial. Today, religious loyalty is greater than patriotism. And let us not even delve into the small section of people who go out on streets to confuse jingoism with patriotism.
Another deterrent is that we Indians are unable to define our identity vividly and even after sixty-five years of independence hang from the labyrinth of dogmas and doctrines of secularism, communalism, regionalism, Marxism, Leninism, Maoism and what not. The simple doctrine of patriotism forgotten and buried in books of Indian history.
Swami Vivekananda, considered as India’s most influential patriot had devised a revolutionary concept of patriotism which he called practical patriotism. He said that patriotism does not mean mere sentiment or even emotional love for the motherland, but a passion to serve fellow countrymen. Until and unless that feeling arises in us we cannot call ourselves patriots. Supporting Indian cricket team in a match against Pakistan, wearing kurtas or singing patriotic songs does not make us one.
The Indian Army is now facing a shortage of officers, so is the Indian Civil Services. Despite the fact that both provide great pay package and other facilities. So what is it that refrains the youth of the country to take up these jobs and work for the country?
From a country of great leaders we have now degenerated into a country of demagogues, struggling at every point. We lack the likes of Bose, Gandhi, Nehru, Bhagat Singh, the ones who could ignite that feeling of inheritance. Nobody sees a role model in the likes of Rahul Gandhi and Mayawati, and well, if you do, I’m sorry to say, you need a reality check.
In a speech, President Obama said “There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” He got the most roaring applause from the audience.
When was the last time we heard an Indian leader talk like that?