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The January 26 this year?

Pinky Nigam searches for imprints of real "patriotism" in people around her. 57th Republic Day special

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 15:57 IST

Indo-pak test cricket. Lahore, Faisalabad. 26th January. Republic Day. New Delhi. The words seem to have a strange conection as I look around myself, completely absorbed in this ‘patriotism’ for my nation, as a swarm of ‘patriots’ deafen me with their hoots of ‘Go India!’, as we watch test cricket.

True patriots we call them, but I get this feeling that if we lose a cricket match, this ‘patriotism’ will evaporate no sooner than how it surfaced with Dhoni’s mind-boggling sixes and fours. So what is this patriotic feeling – one that must necessarily be ingrained with a sense of belonging to one’s land, this ‘obvious’ portrayal of one’s explicit feelings of love and pride to one’s country.

I am a teenager and I’ve grown up with stories of Nehru and Bose and entertainment for me often translates to rhetorical reminders of Mangal Pandey and Mahatma Gandhi on screen, but I’ve never been subjected to an overwhelming urge to stop and pay my tributes to a statue on road or actually pester my parents to get a front seat row in the republic day celebrations at India Gate.
Since I’ve realised the meanings of ‘Struggle’, ‘Independence’ and other familiar words from my history books, I’ve somehow never witnessed anything that I’ve always been taught to believe, to respect.

How can I respect something I’ve hardly noticed? People never stand up to pay respect to their national anthems anymore. People never stop the car just to pay their regards to all the historical statues that today seem to have been built, only to impose us with all those memories, that a man too busy, too important, has no time to recollect.

People I know don’t even remember the words of our national anthem…then how do I – the youth of my country, begin to even understand what I am supposed to do other than read the newspaper, flip the TV channels or buy the two penny national flags at red lights on my national Republic Day?

It is rather sad, that I’ve been subjected to a society and attitude where besides being colossally taught and ingrained that there is a lot about my republican status that I must recogniserecognise, I’ve never felt or seen anything real that may give all that meaning and value.

It is rather sad, that none of us have anything to tell to our young besides the fact that there is a lot to be told- in books, in cinemas and in the incessant KBC general awareness questions.

My pride and understanding for my country’s republican status stays right where it has been placed from the very beginning in books and in the acknowledgement of it.

My mind has yet to find imprints of something real, reflections of it in people around me. Till then, I find solace in what’s being shown to me in the name of ‘patriotism’…India must definitely win this series; it’s got my vote

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 15:53 IST