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Are you patriotic?

Are you Patriotic?

By Fairy Dharawat

Your innate instinct is going to be, to say ‘of course I am patriotic!’ Let me elaborate on the topic of patriotism which has made me ask a question which we take the least amount of time to answer.

Are you patriotic? Reading news from around the world showing failing government policies affecting millions of people due to faulty implementations, may give you different ideas. But how does government not doing their job affect devotion to my country?

We vote and bring to power whoever we deem to be the least corrupt. The general perception of patriotism does not have to be in connection with faulty government policies, but your love for your country. But why do you love your country? The general answer is because you were born in the country. As I was born in this country, I am proud of its heritage and culture. Well let me get this straight. You were born, hence you are proud? It sounds not a very strong valid point to be proud. Right? You were born in the country – you had no choice!

‘Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.’ – George Bernard Shaw .

So the important question is: If you had been given the choice would you have chosen to be born in another country? Well lots of developed and developing nations face immigration issues. Does that make immigrants less patriotic? They are migrating in another country for better standard of living for them and future generations.

When you say you are patriotic, the answer has various contexts and it depends on which country  you are from  – developed, developing and undeveloped. The answer reflects; like it or not, the government and the way it leads its people. Developing and developed nations inhabitants who live below the poverty line and are subject to blood feuds do not have the luxury of announcing their love for their country due to the lack of concern shown to them. It is the way the government treats its people, that destroys any loyalty they may have to their country.

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The question of patriotism will, surprisingly, get different answers when questioned by someone from another nation. A surprising feeling of cultural identity  gives us the choice of answering it with a big yes. And we never talk about the shortcomings of a country as one can take immediate offence;  it is a very sensitive topic. As a law abiding citizen, I believe it is the government’s job to make policies and as an honest citizens we can choose only the least corrupt politician and that’s where the love of my country ends. Patriotism is made political in today’s time, or is it? It has always been. In the past innocent people and even children  have been killed in the name of patriotism.

‘Each nation feels superior to other nations. That breeds patriotism  and wars.’ – Dale Carnegie

Patriotism stands for loyalty and dedication towards your country. So maybe the answer to this question should get a more favourable response from someone living in a developed rather a developing or non developed nation because he has a better standard of living and  better health and social care. Maybe that is the reason many prefer to migrate to another country – for the better future they think their country cannot provide for them. But recent reports suggest even developed nations struggle with what is termed as unpatriotic behaviour – whistle blowers who act for the masses are called traitors and considered a threat to their nation. Ironic! 

‘Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.’ – Mark Twain.

The view point of patriotism  differs vastly across different strata of society and  gender. How a country treats its men and women affects considerably a persons patriotism and how they feel for their country.   Freedom of speech is still a luxury for many countries. Who will feel loyal to a country that denies them this basic right?

‘Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.’ – Oscar Wilde.

If  the definition of patriotism means we are loyal and dedicated towards our country, then it should not end with voting. It should be  genuine loyalty and devotion towards the people with whom we share our lives. Beginning with helping those in need, contributing when and where it is required and to volunteer rather than be compelled. Patriotism not only mean buying products from the home country, but adding value to the lives of the less fortunate whom we can help and make their lives better. Maybe it is time we walk the talk.

Fairy Dharawat is a senior journalist and freelance writer in India.

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