No, I don’t love my country unconditionally…
Joshua Karunakaran
72

Your article and it’s preemptive claim (“I believe that our intelligently conceived Constitution protects my right to be downright critical of what I do not like about this country and still enjoy my rights as an Indian citizen. A belief that is fast becoming dangerous to live with.”) makes it rather apparent that you’ve limited & half-baked understanding of what “Freedom of Speech, But Within Reasonable Limits” permits you — it’s definitely DOES NOT allow to being “downright critical” and walk free, if it does offend a larger section of society. Moreso applicable in your case, since you deem your “Indian citizenship” as a give & take transaction (so called capitalism, opportunity cost & “moving ahead” ideology does tend to make people think so) while there is a sizable population who owe a unyielding allegiance to this great nation without worrying on the transactional nature, if at all (and by function of loyalty deem higher priority than you, IMO). Your limited understanding of “fundamental duties” is also rather apparent (& perhaps tied to your understanding of freedom of speech) as a lot of what & how you’ve questioned & framed is directly contradicting the fundamental duty on “to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;”. So your other preemptive claim on being compliant with fundamental duties is also flawed ! Being yourself at fault, wonder how you could even think of questioning things that are beyond your understanding ?! Anyways, my intention is to point to the flaws in your argument in the hope that you’d realize the other side of how you see things, but if you fail to do so, I’d encourage that you look at options to exit the citizenship of a state that you don’t associate with and find something that does align to your thinking & values (look at the beauty of it — India is flexible to allow that too and it is not a chain tied by birth, please!). This way you end up getting a better life (I hope!) and we as nation (& family) can focus on people who care and work for their betterment with the limited resources available! Looking at it transactionally, atleast the resources being spent on people who don’t care can be saved for those who do — I’m pretty sure losing out on taxes from you (& few like-minded) is acceptable and perhaps even desirable!
 
 I’ve said all above, assuming you have a concrete opinion, from your understanding of things around & you are hell stubborn on it (I’ve even given a way out!). Now let me see if I can help guide you improve your understanding, in hope that you question your opinion & make changes based on what makes it to your physche. 
 1. To start with, get your definitions on Freedom on Speech & Fundamental Duties right ! If you think you can go scot free, saying whatever (that might bother others OR cause unity/integrity/brotherhood of the nation to be weakend), be careful — you’ll take it hit for it someday & you’d have to blame it on yourself. Internet has come to make us believe that you are above the common-man & society, and can express our disruptive & rebellious ideas (the new age craziness) “smartly” online! If you still believe you are much above all of this, try making this speech on a public forum in front on audience (who also have “Indian citizenship” + who pay taxes + who follow traffic rules + who encourage everyone to follow constitution — there are aplenty in the 1.3B people). 
 2. If your heart does not beat for the national anthem OR you don’t value “Bharat” (it’s the name of India mentioned in our constitution — yes, sir!) as “Mata”, then you seem to have never spent time identifying & analyzing so many things we take for granted! First & foremost — security from external threats — remove the armed forces from all boundaries of the world states and then see how much “the world moves ahead”. It will be equivalent of rules of Jungle — “Jiski laathi uski bhais!”. The only reason you are able to work peacefully on this soil (& write all this) is the security & safety provided by your state (both from external forces & internal) — yes, incidents do happen once in a while & it’s not a perfect setup, by hey, tell me one place on earth where it is so ?! People are working to make it better, and we’ve already come a long way (I’m talking of world civilization overall), but will take time! If you can make it any better, please do so. It will be only welcomed! Once security is established, then you have access to food, education (it’s a fundamental right btw and a lot of top class institutions in this country are funded by government funds, taxes i.e. — I’m guessing you’d be one of the beneficiary, with or without your direct knowledge), retail, entertainment, transport, health (again subsidized) etc. The list goes on ! For someone who does so much for you, you have concerns with calling her “mother” OR don’t connect when anthem being rendered in it’s glory ?! And why ? Since you’ve transactionally paid taxes & are supposedly doing your fundamental duties ?! Oh please! What you get in return well outvalues, what you pay ! Life of our armies & their families is “invaluable” — for that matter that of ANY country’s. And you feel it’s a give & take relationship here ?! A lof of us don’t feel so — gladly we are not so influenced by capitalism, consumerism & moving ahead in life. We take time out to step back & reflect on what’s going on around (this comes more from eastern ideology), to appreciate & discuss the good & bad, and make our contributions ! If nothing, we atleast don’t go about dissuading others from doing so (which is one of the main problems with your article!). I infact wonder, without understanding some of these, if you’d ever appreciate any country by becoming it’s citizen ?! There is not one piece of land which lives in ideal conditions (that’s the nature of power & politics), but people try to do the best possible. 
 3. To my last advise on patriotism and the need to keep it alive, especially in a diverse country/state like India, please take time out to study history on how nation-states are ever formed! It’s almost always a very bloody process (the live examples in our times is Palestine & ISIL, and it’s not known if they will ever get there) and you’ve a large mass of people to take together in a single direction. To make so many people think alike & move them all in same direction, it takes a bloody lot of work! Many MNCs today lose the notion of company culture after a particular size, which mostly is in tune of 100s of thousands max. Here we are talking of unifying millions & billions of people and making them live & work with each other. Just the thought of it is impounding ! And people like you come & question the need for “glorious past”, “vedic times” & “standing for national anthem” etc. Stop thinking of yourselves as being above the society — remember, you are in the society and not the other way round ! Value & behave in accordance with what others around you value (irrespective of what nationality or citizenship you end up holding) — As they say, when in rome, do as the romans do! 
 
 Yes — there are shortfalls in this country, but hey there is plenty to cherish too ! More than what meets the eye (as I’ve detailed above and lot more if you dwell into it). If you feel you are super capable and know what to do to bring in change, stop being a “vitual critic (writer — blogger actually)” and get on the floor (Public Administration OR Politics) & try moving things. Atleast you’d earn your right to criticize!

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