Skip to main content

Patriotism and Parti(san)ng Sorrows

Is patriotism overrated? What is patriotism anyway? An irrational love for ones country irrespective of regional, ethnic, religious or cultural differences. Why is patriotism? It is obvious. To build a 'nation' one must have people who relate to one another so that they can see beyond the short boundaries of personal/familial interest and look towards the interest of the group as a whole. Ideally, the relation can be ideological in nature. However, historical evidence and the knowledge of human nature leads to the conclusion that as humans are irrational beings, thus they can be governed by principles of irrationality. This is done using the concept of patriotism.

Patriotism (or nationalism, or social-nationalism or national socialism or nazism... see where I'm going with this?) is but a name for the Universal Method. Now the Universal Method goes by many names and flavours that differ subtly from one another in their means of execution or agenda, but essentially they are the same. The chief ideal shared by practitioners of and believers in the Universal Method is the ideal of the One and the Other (or the Not One). Indians are no strangers to this policy having first-hand exposure to the methods of 'Divide and Rule' from their erstwhile rulers and from caste-based vote-banks etc. But I digress.

Patriotism is illogical. Why should I love my country? Because I was born there? Isn't it rather like being forced to love ones family? What if I was born in Pakistan? Would it be right to love Pakistan in that case? Or the USA? My point here being that like religion, patriotism is largely determined by ones birth and not ones choice. To take an analogical example: would a girl raised by abusive parents be compelled to love them merely because of the circumstances that led to her being biologically related to them? Then why are we compelled to love our country despite all the abuse it inflicts upon us? (It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss those various wrongs but I will try and touch upon those issues later) 

Why can't things like religion and patriotism be matters of educated choice rather than compulsory conditioning from birth? 

Why?

Intelligent comments encouraging rational debate are welcome, please don't write stuff like: "Stfu, m Indian nd I luv mah countrie so shutt uppp u!" and the like. 

Comments

  1. I agree that patriotism and religion should be matters of educated choice. But I don't think I would teach my children to NOT love India since their childhood. I would rather educate them about the good and bad things about the country and let them decide what they feel, it will be their decision. I also think that our parents never forced us to be super patriotic, we could leave the country and settle elsewhere if we liked. But the reason most people are patriotic, atleast in my views is because of the human tendency to get attached to things. Just the way you get attached to your house, friends, college...Anyway, say you liked your friend´s house more, because it is comfortable, will you just stop liking our own?..that sense of attachment and belonging is what drives us to love our country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Brilliant insight. I agree. It's a brilliant foil to my obviously angst ridden post. Thank you :)

      Delete
    2. But with the shocking things happening in the country currently, like the horrible rape case, (and they continue) I am not so sure why I should be proud of being Indian. But i hope the protests that we are taking part in, result in something good. Wish it becomes a better place.

      Delete
  2. For a patriot love for one's country comes as naturally as does the love for one's family. Take for example,if someone in your family does something really evil you would still care for them , love them and be with them to show them right from wrong. Similarly one's country(one's homeland) may not be as corruption free as chile or may be as turbulent as Pakistan but one does not desert one's country .Instead one tries ,to the best of his capabilities, to help one's country out. This is patriotism and love for one's country.Anna hazare could be an example(hopefully).Patriotism is not in my opinion illogical.It is just that it is being used more liberally than it needs to be.I would say I am not a patriot in real sense but I do care of what is going around here.So this is the extent of patriotism that I have in me. It comes naturally, doesn't it?
    As far as religion is concerned,mostly the case is whichever religion you've grown up learning about and following , becomes close to your heart.One more thing regarding religion ,either you are religious or you are not.If you are religious you affirm every other religion .So irrespective of what religion you grew up following ,you respect and approve of every other religion.
    So what I am trying to say is all this fanaticism(my country , my religion) arises out of emotions/love which are/is not true.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Companion

A gray-walled room with a window. That's how he remembers it. It looks the same now: a large window in a small room. It makes the room look even smaller. The window-sill is thick with dust. Beams of sunlight stream in singly, their path illuminated by many-sided dust particles spinning. Or seeming to spin. Is the room this dusty everywhere? He wonders to himself, trying not to breathe it in. The sunbeams merely illuminate what's already there.

Slowly, as his eyes adjust, more details of the room start revealing themselves. The room is bare. Devoid of anything except walls and tiny patches of plaster embedded in the cobwebs at corners. The effect is almost artistic. He wonders if rooms could feel. If they could, what would this room be feeling. Do they remember the people who lived in them? It's almost impossible to believe that people would have lived here once. The walls would have been new and shining with paint and resonant with echoes of laughter or tears or screams. …

Yet Another Party

Party to conversation, party to experience. See what I did there? Of course you didn't. Or maybe you did. It doesn't matter either way does it? Because, the pleasure lies in the experience and not the description. That always struck me as rather odd. Because the description, or rather the action: narration or reading, are both experiences.

Enter valuation. Valuation. Value. Values. Odd aren't they? These words that are mere abstractions of one of the oldest experiences: prioritization. Oldest? Hmmm.... Rather odd isn't it? Let me explain:

The First Birth
The act of physically coming into existence. Droll isn't it?

The Second Birth: Awakening
You now realize that you are alive. Being alive NOW automatically means (not so automatically, if you get what I mean; *cough* Egyptians *cough*) that you'll be dead at some point in time. Note that I don't use point of time. Such a coarse expression isn't it? Point of time. As if Time could own or claim ownership of…

The Stranger

She is sitting for her usual cup of coffee in the evening, at the usual place; B____'s; and at the usual time 6pm sharp. However there is something different about her usual place: the desolate corner she is used to occupying is filled with a strangers presence on the adjacent booth. He is a an...unusual man. She watches his face hungrily, surreptitiously, furtively, but she struggles to remember details of what he LOOKS like. She sees the sharply angular, high cheek-boned face and the angular jaw. She thinks he is all angles and edges. Then she sees his eyes. She remembered very little about them afterwards. Almost nothing except that they hold her gaze for an infinitesimal shard of eternity. It is an instant that spells oblivion. He gets up, wipes his mouth with his napkin and walks off. He is unaware of what he has caused.
She finishes her coffee and for the first time, in the strict routine she has followed for the past 5 years, she sits idly in the coffee booth with her empty …