Patriotism: A lot of people talk about it, fight for it, or even die, though, only few understand. In fact, more than understanding, patriotism is about a feeling, or an emotion, towards your motherland.
The first thing we need to know about patriotism, is that it is natural. Like a child’s love for its mother. For example, in my case, I was born and brought up amidst Himalayas. And every time I gaze at those mighty peaks, I feel that’s my home. I am sure you also get the same feeling, when you see your home. It’s natural, right? And you can barely overcome that emotion, no matter how hard you try. Now, if someone is trying to induce this emotion, or manipulate it, in order to achieve a political purpose, I cannot agree with that kind of patriotism. Today, when we are surrounded by political propagandas, we need to be careful.
Secondly, the idea of patriotism is personal. Just like a religion. It cannot be shoved down someone’s throat. As I said, I get a sweet feeling, each time I look at Himalayas. But a lot of other people, who grew up alongside me, do not share the similar feeling. So what? They may like or dislike it, in their own way. That’s their choice. I have no right to make them feel what I feel or how I feel. That would be absurd, wouldn’t it? Yet, there are people who try to do exactly that.
While we are on the subject of patriotism, it is important to talk about nationalism. As mentioned before, the feeling of patriotism is mostly natural, but the same cannot be said about nationalism. A number of things induce (or made to induce, I should say) this emotion, starting from your childhood. There is a national flag, there is national anthem, and countless other national symbols or activities, that keep reminding you about nation. Most of your textbooks will suggest that yours is the greatest nation in the world (and every nation says that, funny right?). That does not mean I object to each one of those exercises. They are important, as we need certain guidelines for the sustenance of an organisation. Isn’t nation an organisation in that sense? I will leave the judgement part on you.
What I am trying to say here is that my idea of patriotism is simple. I love where I belong to. I love those mountains. I love those people. I love the language they speak, the clothes they wear and the things they do. That does not mean I love India any less, or any other country. I worship humanity. But, no matter how hard you try, I cannot have the same emotion for people of other cities. May be I love them, but not in the same way, of course.
Nations come and go. Patriotism remains. Should I love my mountains less, if some day China seizes their control? I cannot and I will not. But of course, people then, will tell me that China is the greatest nation, but I will be silent, as I am now. And I will have to pay my taxes to the government, as I do know. And there won’t be any other relation with the government, as there is no other, now.