Popcorn Patriotism

Ever since my school days, I’ve always wondered about patriotism in today’s scenario. The flag hoisting, the speeches about love for the country, the march pasts, the slogan shouting, the loud playback of patriotic songs of the 60’s, the showcasing of films such as Gandhi thrice a year ( 26th January, 15th august and 2nd October ) and so many other sundry activities that are supposedly patriotic. My question is – Does one become a patriot just by doing all of this thrice a year?

As a teenager, I was a part of the NCC (Air force wing). The uniforms, the shiny shoes, the flag hoisting- they meant something to me. Every time I saw our national flag flying high, there was a sense of pride, a sense of belonging.

When I used to read stories of revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad,Khudiram Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and other great men and women, I wondered at the power of self sacrifice they had been blessed with. Putting your families, friends, and life aside and dying in the name of the country is not an easy thing to do.

In today’s age of crass consumerism, I truly wonder how many of us youngsters would sacrifice their careers, relationships and lives for the country. More importantly, how many parents would allow their children to do the same?

As I browse through the paper today, I see myriad forms of neo patriotism – Independence Day discounts at a certain gym, shopping malls, furniture stores, electronic goods stores etc. What kind of patriotism are we talking about here?

On the occasion of our 65th year of independence, I wonder – where are we going wrong? Why have our celebrations become so routine and mundane? Why doesn’t the fire of patriotism burn with the same passion as it used to burn back then?

It is these questions that prompted me to think that the entire concept of “Independence day” needs a revision. Its sounds a little radical, but yes it’s still the most practical thing to do. It is a heritage that we are passing on to the generations to come and it’s on the verge of oblivion.

Think about it. Normal is always boring to anyone. To add to it, the “now” generation has an attention span of a just a few seconds. To them, the traditional method of celebrations is “passé. The patriotic songs from the Manoj kumar films, even though well meant, hold no meaning to them. Hence, the lack of fervor for the country.

For them, new songs by upcoming writers, with contemporary themes need to written and composed.

In schools, the stories of the freedom fighters need to be told using the latest technology and by making the screenplay more interesting.

Moreover, the absurd amount of money that’s spent on Independence day political rallies, needs to be stopped. Such money can be utilized for the betterment and up keep of the forces that keep us independent and free- the army, navy, air force and the police forces. The forces are replete with such stories of self sacrifice and true patriotism. They are the true revolutionaries of today. Their stories of bravado and patriotism need to be told and retold in the most beautiful way.

Last, but not the least, the government needs to clamp down on the crass consumerism that’s rampant in the name of Independence Day. Doesn’t anyone realize that they are sending the wrong message to the coming generation?

I am proud to be an Indian and am humbled to be a tiny part of this huge cultural phenomenon. Even today, when I see our tri color fluttering in the air, and I hear the words “Vande Mataram”, I still feel selfless love for my country. All I ask for, is for the meaning and semblance of this day to be preserved in the most sacred way. Let the priorities for the coming years be- Indians, India .God.

Here’s wishing my fellow Indians a Very happy Independence Day and quick relief from Popcorn Patriotism.

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~ by Shreeraj on August 16, 2011.

One Response to “Popcorn Patriotism”

  1. I like ur article…………….what u said is true…..it has become a fashion to celebrate such moments only thrice a year…n den for whole such patriotism gets wraped in n kept in some corners of busy life……..

    however….thanks to few good directors,artists and actors are trying best to give their contribution through their movies..n their amazing effort…..which keep reminding commomn public abt our responsibility towards our country…but yes it takes a solid determination n heart like solid rock to go n join army n practically fight for country at younger age….

    so salute to those soldiers who are standing tall on borders for us so that we can sleep without any fears…..hats off to them….

    and ya…pls keep writing such articles abt such sensitive issues so that people get aware of such things which is very usual these days but we just keep ignoring it due to pesonal reasons……it definately helps some one like me to think actually waht we r doing is right or wrong…..

    So Thank you sirjee……………nicely written..

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