“India is my country. All Indians are…..” the pledge would get repeated in almost every school in the country and the students would blurt it out in a song like fashion along with the umpteen other pledges and oaths they have to take. How many of us really feel proud to be an Indian?
Generally when it comes to love for the nation it is always portrayed in a highly emotional, melodramatic manner – like soldiers losing their lives or movie heroes like Sunny Deol bashing up all anti-Indian elements.
I happened to meet one of my husband’s colleagues from the West and like all conversations between people of different nationalities, our discussions revolved around comparing various aspects of the two countries. Only when we discuss such things with others do we realize the enormity of the diversity in our country. Starting from food! Every state has so many delicacies to boast of. Take TamilNadu and I would say idly, dosa, sambar, vada , Chettinad items and the list would go on. We explained to our friend that we speak Tamil but our national language is Hindi. A different language is spoken in every state and each language has a unique script. Wow!!! We were watching TV and there was a movie showing Holi celebration. We explained that this is a festival of colors celebrated in the Northern parts of India and that we from the south don’t have it in our list of festivals though we belong to the same religion. I added that we do join the celebrations for the fun part of it. We were talking about weather and I realized that India experiences all kinds of weather, though in different parts of the country. Hot,Warm, Pleasant, Rainy, Cold, Snowy - name it and you can find a matching place. Any aspect that we took, I could not give a simple answer.
Since childhood I have done a fair amount of traveling and have visited quite a few places in India. Our country is a tourist’s haven. Each and every one of these tours has instilled an awe and amazement in me – Brahadeeswara temple of Tanjore, backwaters of Aleppey, Beas running near Manali, palaces of Jaipur to name a few .
Our cinema and television industries are huge and produce some of the greatest shows and movies in the world – in a unique our own way.
We are one of the very few countries to have had women Chief Ministers and women Prime Ministers. We have women in all walks of life. There is suppression and oppression in some places. Agreed! But we are moving at a fast pace towards the positive side. Some of the biggest entrepreneurs in India are women. Do we need anything else to prove this?
The average Indian is much shrewder and has a much higher IQ compared to his counterparts in other parts of the world. No wonder that there is an Indian behind most of the complex computer systems in the world today.
The medical expertise of doctors in India is on par with the best doctors of the globe. We often hear of patients coming from other parts of the world to get their treatments done at the much affordable prices here.
We have not been entirely swallowed by the influences of the West. India is sort of an archipelago of cultures and so many of us strive to safeguard what we have inherited and imbibed. Our festivals, celebrations, weddings etc hold testimony to that.
Indians are one of the most adaptable and adjustable people on earth. We have lived in harmony amidst long hours of power cuts, water scarcity, pollution, overcrowded public transportation systems. This explains the presence of a small coterie of our country men in almost every other nation in the world irrespective of climatic conditions and cultural barriers.
We are technologically savvy. Menial laborers would have cell phones. Even a small thatched hut would have a television with cable connection.
We keep criticizing the political system. We have sects and sub sects and so many differences – religion, language, traditions, and customs. Running a country with such a complex set up is not a joke. We definitely need to praise our ruling parties for the same and we have to remember that in spite of the corruption we have produced some of the best administrators in the past 63 years.
We have a zillion things to be proud of and boast about. The sad thing is majority of the Indians spend their time criticizing the system. They boast about the absence of pollution and the perfect road systems in other parts of the world. Ask them to name one good thing they have given back to the Indian society and they would have to shut themselves in a room and think for hours together to give a response.
The constant complaints about the problems we have and the over-done appreciation of the systems in other countries is our worst enemy. If you really love your country you would not throw garbage on the streets. You would follow traffic rules. You would help fellow Indians, given an opportunity. Above all you would show pride whenever you speak of the country.
Patriotism is not saluting the national flag or honoring freedom fighters and army men. It is a feeling that has to emanate from the heart; A pride about our customs, culture, ideologies, beliefs, traditions. Instead of constantly cribbing about the negatives around us we should try praising the positives.
Instead of talking about bad roads talk about the new roads that get built;
Instead of talking about over crowded railway systems express awe and admiration for the way such a huge populace is being managed by the largest railway network in the world;
Instead of cribbing about pollution develop the habit of throwing waste in dustbins and planting trees;
Instead of acting as if you can eat only at Mc Donalds and Starbucks spread the wonders of our pani puri and masala chai to your non-Indian friends;
Instead of cribbing about inefficient governance take initiatives for the betterment of society; Pay for a child’s education; Help someone suffering at a hospital; Donate blood!
The picture some westerners have about India is that it is a poor uneducated country with snake charmers and beggars. This is evident from the books they write and the movies they make.
When you talk to Westerners don’t try to win their favor by trying to imitate their ways or feeling inferior about ours. Take pride in our customs and methods.
No developed country of today’s world received freedom just half a century ago.
We are an intelligent smart shrewd lot with an amazing cultural heritage. No other nation in the world has so much of variety to offer as ours.
We do have ills in the name of corruption, a selfish money-minded political system, poverty, unemployment, dowry, casteism, pollution etc. But change is inevitable. If time has changed us from the prosperous rich nation that we were to a developing suffering nation that we are today the reversal can happen and it will. To start the process the love for the nation in the minds and hearts of us Indians is what is needed. You don’t have to join the army or the police force for that. Cherish our ways and take pride in our pluses. The rest will follow suit.