Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Patriotism and India

It is a bit of a shame that a terrorist act brings out spates of patriotism within us. In our hearts we know that it is true. We know that our patriotism is limited to cricket, movies and singing our national anthem on rare occasions. Many of us might disagree, some may be right; Others, I think, mistake religious (read Hindu) fundamentalism as patriotism.

In this fundamentalist rage, they try to break the very foundation stone of India. That, We are not a country of one, but many different groups and sub groups and more importantly so, more than a billion individuals, should not be forgotten. It is bad enough that the world outside seems to forget this fact, for us to forget who we are, is foolish beyond the absurd. We are a nation of many, filled with hypocrites, corrupted politicians may be, we are still a nation of a dozen religions, 29 states, hundreds of languages, thousands of castes. We are a nation celebrated for its diversity. We were a nation once cited, and set examples for harmonious plurality. No more after communal riots; between religions, and more recently even regions.

Right now, it is still a country where a billion people call it their home. It needs to stay that way, for once it starts to distance itself from one group, it is not long before it distances itself from most. Absurd as it may sound, India looks like she is sick and disintegrating. Perhaps the problem hasnt risen suddenly. Walls were built up in our young nation, after independence, for communities to grow and prosper, separately. Once the walls were built, perhaps the state of the nation we see today was bound to happen. Perhaps it was the right thing to do for a youn nation to develop easily in modular components. Perhaps it was a failed hypothesis.

But we need to start celebrating our plurality, together. Not from these closed spaces with limited view of what lies on the other side, but from a plain open field, with the walls broken down, looking at each others problems, celebrating each others successes. We need to celebrate the plurality of the human resources we posses, not the divisons that drive hatred.

We need to redefine our patriotism, for it has to lie with the people of the nation, not a group however large it may be.

1 comment:

dolphin said...

today, we're a country with a conflicting identity. are we secular? communal? or something else? perhaps, we indeed need a fresh start