Author: Malvika Tiwari, I Year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonepat.
Patriotism, the feeling of affection, love, and service towards one’s nation, or as google defines it, “Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion, and sense of attachment to a homeland or the country and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment to create a feeling of oneness among the people.” For decades, notions of patriotism have been proliferated across India through elders, media, community, etc., and the idea that being willing to sacrifice for one’s country is paramount for a patriot was reinforced time and time again.
The country celebrated its 75th Independence Day on 15th August 2022 in a world that is completely different from the one which existed years ago, the society, the culture, the social framework, the people, the technology, the ideologies, the way of living, have turned over a new leaf through the trajectory of years. And with the grim covid-19 pandemic hitting the nation in 2019, the functioning of life has further capsized. So, has the idea of patriotism remained the same? Does patriotism still mean what it meant more than 7 decades ago? Definitely, not.
Over the course of time, the meaning of the word “patriotism” has also gone through amendments, developments, clashes, and conflicts, to become what it has today. The idea that being able to perpetually, eloquently express one’s feelings of love towards the nation is true patriotism, has hobbled about in society for quite some time now, flummoxing people about their daily practices and way of living. But is that enough? Is wearing a blue jersey, while commending Virat Kohli’s stance on the night of a cricket match enough? Is posting a photo wearing a white kurta with the tricolour in hand twice a year on social media, enough? It is not. Patriotism today, means more than just manifesting chauvinism and singing praises about one’s country to others. For the youth, and for the future of India, patriotism has embraced different meanings.
Patriotism takes its truest form when it pushes when it is able to set ablaze the potential, the fire within the youth to get up, get out of their comfort zone, and get going, for the country, and for themselves. Patriotism means to set free, to break out of the sombre, inconspicuous walls that we ourselves have created around us, and to dream higher than the skies. Patriotism means believing, believing in ourselves, heeding the words “I can” and steering away from the feelings of “I can’t”. It means to break the age-old shackles, the stigma, the prejudices, and the wretched practices that have subjugated the country for ages and enter a world that is righteous for all. Patriotism today, means to not spreading hate, to not being a bully, being respectful of others’ feelings, and having empathy. Patriotism means philanthropy, being selfless, and being free from avarice. The feeling which is able to move oneself to serve the people, to think of others before themselves, that feeling is patriotism. It reflects equality, a son feeling obliged to perform the same duties in a household as his sister, a female being able to expect the same wage and respect in a work environment as her male counterpart, a woman being able to get out of her house without having apprehensions, this is patriotism. It means being true, to oneself, and to the country, not shying away from calling a spade a spade, and always striving hard to do the right thing. It means being cognizant, of society, our surroundings, the country, about its people, and contributing to their development. And finally, patriotism means to become a better person.
The feeling of patriotism today has changed its face while the core values behind it remain intact. Patriots are found even today in every corner of the nation, furtively disseminating their pristine acts of novel patriotism. Patriotism is profoundly infused in each and every element of life, all one needs to do is ebb away the darkness and diffuse their inner light, for it to radiate. Noble words esteemed philanthropist Mother Teresa aptly sums up the gravity of even our tiny acts of patriotism as it means today,
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”