It was a fine morning and i was running on time.I reach my office and realise that the day is 14th august.How i realise that ? I see them distributing our national flag and pin at the reception asking us to wear it on.Being the rebel i am, i don't wear it nor do i take it.
The above act of mine engenders a discussion between me and my colleague Tarun . In the discussion i raise issues pertaining to how people treat our independence day as another holiday and wear the tricolor just for the fun of it.Also the focus shifts to the fate of these flags my fellow colleagues had arrayed(most of them would find their way to the garbage dump).The conclusion given by me then being that i would rather not portray myself as a patriot rather than insult the symbol of my country's "dignity" and "integrity" .
The discussion was over and a sense of victory had settled with a lingering thought which raised another discussion as our day ended.The "4th of July" being the culprit behind it.The ambience in India on the 15th of august and the US on 4th of July were juxtaposed and a comparison made.The streets are filled with people bursting fire crackers, gathering in large crowds and making a rather ostentatious display of their nation and its pride in the US while back home we have NOTHING!!!!!
Nothing was being done by the masses and when i say masses i don't mean the administrative wing of corporate, govt. offices and educational institutions which quite dutifully perform the ceremony of the flag hoisting etc. etc.In fact it was a day when all the theaters ran house full all roads leading to hang out spots were jammed and people were having a nice holiday...!Now i don't intend to say that there should be a gloomy or very serious atmosphere around on the 15th Aug, in fact there should be joy and celebrations around,but some part of that joy in the masses heart should represent a feeling of pride in their country and its achievements which was missing,sadly.
I remember seeing an old woman with flesh on her body as much as a wrapper on a chocolate near a traffic signal,trying to make her buck for the day by selling our national flags on our independence day..It was a scene that could move any stone hearted guy. The man sitting in the Innova however did not spare her a 5 rs for the flag and went away..It was a day of national pride and some helpless person was trying to make a living by selling the national flag to people on a day where she expected people to buy them in large numbers cause this day came only once a year and by far was supposed to be the most important day of the year.
Anyway the crux of the above example and preceding paragraphs is to set forth a picture of the sham Indians call as patriotism..To abuse the cricket team,to help the Gujarat earthquake victims,to help the tsunami victims etc..is not an example of patriotism..maybe adrenalin rush and a bit of humanity.I have always viewed the achievements of my country to be basically achievements of a single individual who at every step in their life were only discouraged by the people and institutions around them.People here are so lost in doing their work that the impact of their actions on their country is never a thought that crosses their mind.
We show pride in our heritage,a heritage which if you keenly observe always lacked patriotism but had a rich culture.We have always had a majority of leaders who were power hungry people waiting for their turn.More than that we have always been people who always think we are great but never live up to it.We are a diverse nation, an amalgamation so volatile that it could erupt at the slightest prick. We are Indians...but do we understand what it means to be an Indian...? I wonder...
Ps: while i write about patriotism above ..i do so cause i fail to understand what it means ..maybe cause i have never felt it that strongly or never felt it at all..but i have always viewed my country with a sense of respect dignity and most importantly pride ...pride which will never cast away..