Whither patriotic zeal?

Today, India is celebrating its 65th Republic Day that commemorates the day when the Indian Constitution was adopted in 1950. It is that day of the year when just about every Indian, from the politician to the common man, turns true-blue patriotic. Making it distinctly visible one buys a plastic tricolor that gets hooked to the shirt or even adorns the car.  On a closer look, this indicates that he is doing it after last having done it on the previous Independence Day.

Why do my fellow countrymen become patriotic only on select days is a question that constantly bothers me. Honestly speaking, I have no clue. In fact, the celebration itself is so abysmally low that by evening one hardly thinks of the country, of the martyrdom of our forefathers, who liberated us from the clutches of the British with their selfless valour.  At this juncture, the only question that arises in my mind is whether patriotism has any periphery limits? Or patriotism is a trait that has only a limited role?

Why is that we don’t maintain such an exuberance all through the year, year after year? Why do we pay tributes to soldiers, the unsung heroes, only on Independence Day, Republic Day and Martyrs Day? Having been an air warrior, who served the nation for 19 glorious years, I, like millions of soldiers over the years, fully well understand what patriotism implies and the sweat and toil that went behind achieving independence.

Every year the day is celebrated spectacularly in New Delhi where the main attractions are the impressive parade and showcasing of the military might. The fact of the matter is that every Indian should feel the sense of oneness and be driven by the urge to contribute to the nation-building exercise in his on meaningful manner, howsoever, minuscule that might be.

As we look back, negatives outshadow the achievements. Yes, there have been increases, but have a look at where they originate – crimes, daylight crimes against women, fundamentalism and fanaticism leading to communal riots, unemployment, corruption and white-collar crimes, treachery and deceit, criminalisation of politics, cheating in the name of sports et al!

The true spirit of democracy lies in patriotism alone. Each and everyone is responsible for realizing the dream of Mahatma Gandhiji – “After attaining Swaraj (independence), now it’s time to attain Suraj (good governance)” a reality. If such a day is realized in India, such an occasion would just take a new dawn with the bright appeal of unity, brotherhood, and love. On that day, there is no Hindu, no Muslim, and no Sikh; there is only one caste, one religion, and that is Indian. 

It is never too late to make an honest beginning. This Republic Day let us solemnly pledge and swear by Mahatma’s ever relevant gospel – ‘Be the change you wish to see.’

Published by sumankasturi


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