Saturday, March 5, 2016

What is Patriotism?

There is a rushing desire by everyone to prove that I am more patriot than you, or may be I am the only patriot and you are not. Everyone is carrying their definition of patriotism in their sleeves and ready to display it in a whizzy. 

With the word patriotism flying all around, I introspected to understand how I define patriotism. As usual the first resort is Google dada and wikipedia nana. Wikipedia says "Patriotism is an emotional attachment to a nation which an individual recognizes as their homeland. This attachment, also known as national feeling or national pride, can be viewed in terms of different features relating to one's own nation, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to those of nationalism"


However the interesting thing was the next line in wikipedia "An excess of patriotism in the defense of a nation is called chauvinism; another related term is jingoism." Interesting...

Patriotism is a tool to tie together the concept of a Nation. This has helped nations to raise to the occasion and face external and internal intrusions. External intrusions in terms of invading armies and internal intrusions in terms of calamities.  To a large extent, patriotism has also been invoked by rulers to rally people around them to save their kingdoms. In essence, patriotism can be succinctly defined by a term 'attachment' to the concept of nation and  that it encourages anyone to do things which might even risk their life.

Than the next question comes is how I can display that I am patriotic? I felt this is whatever everyone is trying to do in current political situation. And everyone has their ways. People are trying to outline what they stand for to the extreme in the form of readiness to harm the people who don't toe my line. In this display of patriotism, somewhere the moot question is getting lost. I do not want to question the approach of displaying symbols to build the notion of nationalism. Doing that to an extent helps in building attachment, but one need to be careful that over indulgence with symbols might be counter productive in the longer run as indulging with them on everyday might make them too obvious and one may not be able to react to them with same ferocity as demanded by emergency situations. This is a plain psychology than anything else. There are a barrage of speeches of all hue and colors by everyone to display their brand of patriotism. And if you hear anyone you feel like toeing them. You can call me fickle mind on this, but everyone is a powerful speaker and we rate them not on their speech but on our leanings. 

What I as a normal citizen should do to clear the haze for me? At the moment, what I am doing is subscribing everyone on twitter from Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal to AAP, BJP and INC. Also might subscribe to some of the extreme voices of society. May be listening to everyone will clear in me what we as a nation stand for. Yes we can debate that none of the voices might be making sense and we hear what we want to hear. Hopefully in this ruckus we don't miss the economics, finally which determines the existence of the nation itself.

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