Saturday, January 21, 2017

Patriot ?

Am I a patriotic person ? Before pondering over this question, I would like to think over a more fundamental question : what are the traits of a patriot ? Let me get to the answer by another way :What are the traits of a non patriotic person ?
26th January is approaching. People will be seized by a fierce wave of patriotism. They will put miniature flags in their cars, some may pin it to their clothes. Television channels will screen Gandhi or Shaheed or Rang de basanti. Radio and TV channels will also play hours of patriotic songs. Children and their parents ,sometimes reluctantly ,will attend the flag hoisting ceremony but no one will grumble aloud or you will be called un-patriotic (Pakistani in worst cases!)
On the same day, Mahira Khan’s Raees will be released.I have a strong feeling that this might not go down well with our super patriotic politicians. There will be a ban or at least a protest statement. If things have been settled between them and the producers ,nothing will happen. But then media will be unhappy. There will be interviews and clips of Mahira making negative statements about Bollywood will be shown. Even if they are made jokingly, nobody will take them as such. And Bollywood means India, somebody making a bad statement about our silly film industry is abusing our great country. If ,God forbid, anybody tries to defend Mahira,saying that she is pretty and acts well and please see the context in which this statement is made, he will be labelled as a traitor,a pro pakistani etc etc.We have been there last year. This is our statement of patriotism. As long as you do that, you are free to spit/litter on the roads, use plastic bags, hoard black money,evade taxes, drink and drive, pay bribes . And yes, you are also free to throw out legal citizens of your own country from your state because you feel they steal your job opportunities. Mahira, you have no chance at all ! We are justified and We are patriots !!
I hope I am not a patriot if this is the definition of patriotism.
Why do people think so literally ? Playing national anthem at the beginning of movies and plays will make people …..patriots ??
Why patriotism can not be expressed as reverence of beauty and diversity ? Respect for something which is different from you ? Why it can't be expressed in doing something positive and helpful for our country and its people ? It can be really a small thing like planting a tree or not spitting on roads to stop the spread of TB.
With advent of globalisation, boundaries of countries are dissolving. We are scared of Trump because he might reduce the job opportunities of non American people. But we do not hesitate to ignore merit because of caste/state/language/religion of our own countrymen.
I dream of an India ,where all people are really equal and they care for their country.
But I still don't know whether I am a patriot….