Sunday, May 24, 2009

Patriotism and the modern Indian

Patriotism, according to the dictionary, is the devoted love, support, defense of one’s country, and a passion and loyalty which inspires one to serve ones county. By any of those descriptions, most modern Indians fall far short of being patriotic. Probably the same applies to most people, anywhere in the world.

No one really has the time or the energy to be overtly patriotic these days. Too many other things occupy peoples’ time now. What with the pressures of modern living, the stresses of the rat race, and the constant high speed living that one is engaged in all the time, who really has time for posturing and nationalistic fervour?

In addition, a huge number of young urban Indians are actually the opposite of patriotic. Their biggest dream in life is to leave “this hellhole” and settle permanently in all those countries that are their “heaven on earth”. Most of these people are happy enough to take advantage of the government sanctions, and the cheap education here, waste the Indian government’s money to get their degrees, take advantage of all the resources here, and then wave a permanent goodbye to the land that nurtured them.

This group though, is getting smaller now. With salary structures in both private sector and PSU India getting much more lucrative, and since the grass is no longer as green on the other side as it used to be, a lot of young Indians are finding fulfilling and high paying careers right here at home. But, at the same time, this group doesn’t have much time to think about patriotism either.

Whether or not they love their country, no one knows. What they don’t have is the time or the inclination to make a great show of it. In fact, any kind of overt patriotic displays are seen on only two kinds of occasions; a “day” like independence or republic day, or a sporting event, especially cricket matches. That’s when the patriotism of Indians seems to really break all dams and overflow all banks. From waving flags from every passing car, to dancing on the streets; from firecrackers to celebrate an Indian victory, to shouting from the rooftops; the modern Indian revels in patriotism, on average, about 6 or 7 days a year.

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