By Nikita, SY BA LLB Div. B
Patriotism is a feeling of love and passion people have for their country. The feeling of patriotism is true when it is selfless and pious. In the earlier times, it was considered that one who would lay down his life for his country would be recognized as Patriotic. An Indian patriot is always willing to give his all in the interest of his country. Patriotism is not determined by “kinship or of shared descent like in families, castes and tribes.” Patriotism has its basis in the notion of a country and its chief institution, the state. Patriotism is more than a sentimental attachment to one’s homeland. A diligent worker is a real patriot who loves India. They devote their heart and soul to the advancement of the nation and its people. They take steps to protect the motherland’s sovereignty and pride. Patriotism has the power to transform zeros into heroes, murderers into martyrs, and sinners into saints. Patriots’ names are spelt out in gold letters. People must be willing to serve the country in various ways even when the country is at peace. A patriot must work with his government during times of peace. Protests, strikes, and agitations have an anti-patriotic tone to them. However, this does not imply that the people should submit to an unjust government.
In a globe increasingly dominated by totalitarian right-wing ideology (which includes India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Hungary, the Philippines, and others), the patriotism concept has been altered to fit its rulers’ autocratic impulses. This kind of nationalism is entrenched in a new kind of patriotism, a kind of demagoguery in which allegiance is demanded by the governing elite rather than for the country. And to extract this allegiance from its population, the state’s violent organizations— the “military, paramilitary, police, and even state-sponsored vigilante mobs”— are militarized. “These forces are used on every occasion— parliamentary debates, election speeches, television shows”— to deflect the public’s notice away from remaining unsolved issues and any criticisms of their acts are labelled as disloyal. We see examples of this all the time in India, whether it’s the “unpatriotic” clamour for the repeal of AFSPA, reported plethora in Kashmir, questions about the Rafale deal, the horrific behaviour of the Uttar Pradesh police in opposition to anti-CAA demonstrators, recent criminal actions and inactions in Delhi, or mob lynching. This is also a planned effort on the part of the authorities to enlist the military in their cause. Because the nation’s “enemies” can only be defeated by these military forces and de-facto militias, support for militarization becomes the primary criterion for assessing patriotism.
The basic matter of patriotism that would imply in day-to-day practice changes as the structure of patriotism changes. Modern patriotism and nationhood are built on symbols that everyone can understand. Symbols that set one faith against another are excluded by definition. In the contemporary world, patriotism must be represented through global symbols. These are all around us, but they go unnoticed. A neighbourhood’s streets are a truer emblem of nationhood than a religious building. They are utilized by everyone and are funded by everyone’s contributions.
The instances for the modern world’s true patriotism are the front lines. They are not on our exterior perimeter, but in every hamlet and city, and the ones fighting are individuals who have been utterly ignored by this military administration thus far: physicians, nurses, paramedics, scientists, researchers, sanitation workers, and pharmacists (they too are there in our uniformed forces, but are equally forsaken there as well). These soldiers are today’s true patriots, who risk their own as well as the lives of their families and relatives to keep us secure; their sacrifice is the nationalism we must recognize and appreciate today, tomorrow, and forever. A lot of other individuals are also fighting a parallel battle to keep our economy from subsiding, to keep the supply chain of products and services on which our everyday lives rely from collapsing. “Store clerks, truck drivers, the grocer and vegetable vendor, the journalist,” the private security guard— all of them risk their lives every single time they set out and let us not fail to remember those backroom unseen individual employees who are keeping our telecom and digital systems functioning during this difficult pandemic time. To be a patriot now, one does not need to “wear a uniform, march to the beat of jackboots, or sing Jai Shri Ram.” Our military forces will always have pride of position, but they must now share that space with others who work on the new front lines of danger.
The general structure of Indian rationality must serve as the foundation for defining our nationhood and patriotism. Patriotism must be like that of Gandhiji who sought the happiness of the poorest of the poor as a barometer of our nation’s progress. Patriotism must be that regards the liberty of the tiniest of minority as a barometer of our social progress. Patriotism must be that which manifests itself daily, via a moral that recognizes deceiving consumers, exploiting workers, “cheating on taxes, paying bribes, adding sand to cement,” abusing the poor, and giving deference to the influential as treason.
In a jest to understand what modern-day patriotism in India looks like, one can say that in earlier times, patriotism was the feeling of sacrificing every ounce of what you have for the sake of your country but as times change and as India progresses towards becoming a developed nation, the feeling of patriotism changes every day. The basic meaning of patriotism is the affection one displays towards their country. Affection is a highly personal experience, and various people exhibit it in different ways. Patriotism is more than merely singing the national song or waving the flag. It is about honouring those wonderful individuals who have created our country with their blood and sweat, whether they are soldiers, teachers, doctors, engineers, scientists, or politicians. In contemporary society, every secular area imparts a patriotism lesson.
However, school education is a unique issue of ours. It is here that the majority of young people congregate, bridging traditional, religious and caste divides. It is here that the new country is being built. As a result, it is even more important to use caution while introducing religious beliefs into schools. The ideals that we want must be compatible with our country’s worldwide appeal. Where the principles taught stress liberty of thought and truths shared by all, not just a select few. Not narrow separating walls, but equality and the transcendence of social barriers are central to the modern Indian concept. It’s past time for us to reconsider our schooling to build a nation where a patriot is someone who sacrifices their life to safeguard an unknown person, and a traitor is someone who murders a buddy in the name of his faith. Modern World Patriotism is way different from what we used to have in the older days. Although Nationalism has been considered modern-day patriotism, one can observe major changes in the way the youth of the nation are thinking and can stay calm, rest assured that the new generation somewhat understands the difference between ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism.’ Ultimately, the upcoming generation will opt for methods where they will selflessly help each other contribute to the development of the nation, which will be called the true patriotism of modern times.