Only one way of being patriotic?

“The Difference Between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility while the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to a war .”

Photo by Sayan Nath on Unsplash

Less than a generation ago, we were still fighting for our freedom. We read of the stories of our great freedom fighters who have sacrificed their lives fighting for what is supposed to be our birthright… freedom. We Indians Are very patriotic and it gives us a sense of pride when we read their stories.

Being patriotic is good but I do have some problems with it, not with being patriotic but how it is being perceived in our country. 
Firstly, one cannot force patriotism. It’s feeling one must develop from within, like love. One cannot force someone to love, one can act like they are in love, one can behave like they are in love but as a feeling, it cannot be faked. Same with patriotism, it’s easy to fake. Politicians do it all the time. The how-to guide is very easy, stand up for the national anthem, speak few a few good words about our soldiers, salute the flag, say you are ready to die for the nation and you are done. People will believe that you are a true patriot. But when push comes to shove, none of them will come forward. 
Secondly, most of us think there is only one way of showing you are a patriot. First of all, we do not have to show our patriotism to anyone. We owe to the country, not to any individual or govt. Upon that most people believe not standing up for National Anthem in theatres Is anti national. I do not know if it’s Anti-national but it’s disrespecting the anthem. But that is not my gripe.

Let me tell you a story, I with my family and cousins went to a movie called “Gold”. It’s about Indias First Olympics Gold medal in hockey after getting independence. The movie ends with a tune of the national anthem. So the people beside me were like “should I Stand? Everyone else is standing.” Can you imagine, Standing for national anthem because of peer pressure! That’s not patriotism, I think its a disrespect to the national anthem. Because it’s not just an anthem, it’s not just a poetry, it’s a collection of our freedom struggle, our victory, the beauty of India and much more. And it deserves an equal amount of respect. Just like when you go for a job interview or when you go to meet the president of a country, you dress accordingly because that post deserves it. And I was sitting there not properly dressed, eating my popcorn, thinking about how hungry I am and what I will eat after the movie ends. Plus the national anthem was in the movie, so I and my brother did not stand for it. (I don’t like the notion of playing the national anthem before every movie either because it reduces the value our anthem holds). The theatre wasn’t crowded, otherwise, I don’t know what would’ve happened. My family Members scolded me and my brother, told us what we did was wrong.
 But did we? Is it showing respect if we stand for the sake of standing?

For me, it wasn’t. The respect, the patriotic feeling had to be genuine. I owe it at least that much.

It blows my mind on how people are not ready to accept views which are antithetical to theirs! We are coerced into doing something which is considered as the only sign of “patriotism”. You don’t pay your taxes, throw garbage on the roads, but stand up for national anthem you are a patriot?! I do believe the national anthem deserves its due respect but not when it’s part of a narrative in a movie and even if one does stand for it, it doesn’t prove that the person is patriotic. Patriotism could mean so many things to so many people. It could be as simple as helping the poor, paying your taxes, voting for the right candidate, speaking against your govt when they are wrong and giving them your support when they need it, not taking a bribe, letting others live in peace no matter their views or religious beliefs are.

In conclusion. 
Respecting our flag and the national anthem is necessary. No question about it. But doesn’t prove whether you are patriot or not. The national anthem is our nation's honour, and it deserves a certain amount of respect which cannot be given in theatres and the whole idea of expecting people to stand up for it when it is played in the movie is just farcical. We are a democracy, we should respect each other’s opinion and let them live their lives as they please. Even though we are independent, we are not free.

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