Last week was a revelation for me in terms of being a responsible Indian. I discovered that if I can find in myself the ability to think strongly on issues that shape our future as a country, then I can also find in me the strength to be able to do something about it.
This discovery gained momentum from the script that I’ve been reading for the past couple of days. It is a period film and its setting made me imagine how different things must have been back then. And with our Independence Day coming up next week, it raised a few questions in my mind. Are we the same patriots that we were 63 years ago? Back then, there was a sizzling passion.
To be asked to lay down your life for your country was considered an honour beyond God’s greatest blessings. Many volunteered, scores perished and thousands became martyrs so that Gen Next could make their country proud.Every year, we lament on how these ideals of patriotism are no more upheld. We are confronted with the harsh reality that Indian youth can no longer be mobilised to passionately defend their country.
But why should it always be aggression that leads to true patriotism? A few years back, there came the storm in the wake of a brilliant film — Rang De Basanti — that brought revolution back into the blood of the young. But aggression is an emotion difficult to sustain when it’s pitted against the lure of material satisfaction. The grass is always greener on the other side.
The standard of living is better abroad, the streets are cleaner, the houses are bigger, the schools safer. But if we work hard enough on our part of the land, we can have a beautiful garden instead of just grass. There are 9 billion of us and even if 10 per cent of us set our minds on being the ‘best’, ‘greatest’ and ‘biggest’ — nothing is impossible!
Let’s start small. Let’s just inculcate a sense of pride into ourselves for simply being Indian. Yes, we have a funny accent but so what? There are more English-speaking Indians in the world than there are English-speaking Englishmen! Our food smells funny but it is the Indian Chicken Tikka Masala that’s made its way to the menus of the best gourmet restaurants in the world.
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