Patriotism – A Highly Misunderstood Word

Indian Flag

For long I have been a stupid patriotic guy, I glorified our freedom movement and leaders. To me back then patriotism was saying ‘I am proud to be an Indian’ and salute the national flag and give utmost respect for the national anthem. However over a period of time as I evolved as a person the meaning of patriotism changed.

Today, there are 28 states and 7 union territories in our country, however few centuries back there were hundreds of small kingdoms. Today Tamil Nadu is a part of India, back then it was ruled by 4 different kingdoms and each one of them fought fierce battles against each other. The same Tamil people who are Indians now fought in the name of Patriotism against each other, and if that happens today it would be just opposite to patriotism. A concept is valid only if it passes the test of time. This so called modern patriotism has no logic behind it. The worst thing is most of us don’t even know why the national anthem was created at first place. Jana Gana Mana was written by Tagore in praise of King George V (though Tagore refuted it much later, anyone who understand the meaning will tell you otherwise) who was scheduled to arrive in India. While a truly awe inspiring song of Vande Mataram was sidelined to appease a certain section of people.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who asked people to be non-violent and who propounded ahimsa, was solely responsible for sending in armies to fight for British in the first world war. The same British who called us dogs and crushed us economically and socially were helped by Gandhi, yet people don’t understand that and say that he propounded only ahimsa, is fighting war on behalf of your enemy ahimsa? India never won Independence, it was given to us because British who became fragile after the second world war were left with no choice but to give independence to all its colonies. SriLanka which never had any freedom movement was also given freedom (so was several other countries). We are celebrating our Independence day and hailing the leaders who actually milked the situation. We ignored the one (S.C.Bose) who actually fought for us, we ignore all the leaders who fought against the Brits in the war. There is no pride in celebrating an independence day which was given to us in a platter.

Finally the big question looms, should we not stay loyal to our country? Yes we should. The very body of ours, is a piece of our motherland, whatever we are is nothing but a piece of our country. Our land gave us everything, the food and the water, so every cell of ours belong to our soil. Nobody came out from the sky, every cell of our body is shaped by the land in which we live and every thought of our mind is shaped by our society. Hence there should be deep sense of gratitude to the land in which we were born. However our land and culture are not just 65 years old, they are millions of years old. Ours is the very cradle of civilization, science, arts, spirituality and humanity. Our land was the pinnacle of everything, until the western invasion broke it.

Lord Maculay in 1835 gave a speech in the British Parliament after travelling across India

This was well documented and his speech was:

“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a begger, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever counquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will loose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation. ”

Macaulay's Speech
A published newspaper clipping of Macaulay’s Speech

The British were successful in executing their plan, and till date most Indians give glorious tributes to the western education system. The British were credited for the engineering structures and the scientific advancements, but we clearly forget some of the scientific marvels in the world are created by the ancient Indians. Be it metallurgy (Iron pillar in Delhi is more than 1600 years old, but has’t rusted), architechture (the thousands of temples which are 1000-2000 years old), literature, medicine and yoga. There is no match for such evolved sciences till date, we tend to forget everything, we tend to forget the very thread that unites us all (the dharmic way of life). Despite so many kingdoms back in the ancient times, the land was addressed as Bharatvarsha because there was a common thread that tied us all. That thread was the dharmic way of life, there was dharma in everything we did. It was not the race, language, religion, color or food that bound us all. Everything was very diverse, the culture permitted everyone to follow any path to reach the ultimate (all rivers lead to the ocean), even being an atheist was a part of the culture. However everyone was bound by a common dharma, a way of life. Until we acknowledge that we are bound together not by the constitution, laws and our government, but by a superior thread binding us all, there can be no true sense of oneness.

There will be conflict between states, between castes, between people of different languages and so on. Everyone should take a resolution to live their life based on our dharma, and not to do things that are wrong. Be proud of our roots. We should follow what our ancestors preached us and not what the western world taught us. To me that is how one can love his land and not just by singing the national anthem and saluting the flag.

Jai Hind.