This post took a while to complete and is a week late, but still something worth sharing.
Date 16 Aug, 2018.
Through the day yesterday, I listened to patriotic songs and found my eyes welling up every now and then. It made me wonder why. Through the year I didn’t do much for the country, though I thought about it a few times here and there. Why didn’t I think more about my country? Why didn’t/don’t I contribute more actively to its growth? These questions kept coming back to me – How we Indians think of India and what our feelings are for her? Is our patriotism for real?
Usually on 15 Aug, there’s a movie on TV about the freedom struggle, the sacrifices made to free our country and the price paid for it. This year there were movies like – Parmanu, Dangal, Toilet etc. A refreshing change for sure. These movies are more about fostering pride in being Indian, about wanting to bring about change. These movies indicate it’s time to change – the struggle for freedom is over, now we struggle for recognition, for being proud. We might be slow to change, we might not be as developed in our thoughts – the gender bias, the caste bias, the money bias all remain, but we can and should still be proud of our country. Only if we are, will we strive to become proud of it. We believe in working hard, studying and gaining knowledge, we have a great sense of belonging, strong family traditions, we have a vast diverse culture, thousands of food varieties, dance, music and folk art forms. Yes, we struggle with our population, it makes resources scarce, which is the cause of most problems in our country – infrastructure inadequacy, corruption, filth, poverty but we are all to blame for it – who else? And we will need to work on it.
Coming to the more important point – how do we make ourselves proud, how can we foster and bring about a feeling of national pride? A feeling of belongingness, a want to do more for the country? In my opinion the starting point is our schools – we have to get our children more involved in the success of our nation, we have to go beyond just getting them to sing the anthem. We have to get them to do more community service. Wouldn’t community service bring about the feeling of brotherhood? Of wanting to help your fellow countrymen in need, of wanting to keep your country clean, of working together for a greater common good? When you volunteer for an NGO, and work for them – you’ll find your feeling/ and the time you spend thinking of your fellow human beings growing – you’ll find your thoughts changing to how can I do more? And this you can channelize to help our country.
Stand up and sing the anthem when you hear it in the movie theatre. It’s a controversial topic I know, but you’ll feel different singing it than just standing there. Try it.
I’d love to know and hear more ideas on how we can work on this feeling of pride. How can we make it grow? How can we influence our children? Looking forward to some ideas/comments.