Saturday, 16 April 2011

Promiscuous Patriotism

There are always a few people in the world who insist on being patriotic, to a fault. They are so patriotic, they feel it to be thier duty to remind their fellow compatriots of the exact lyrics of the National song, or National anthem. On days like the 15th of August, and 26th of January, this enthusiastic reprisal of our civic duties reaches a crescendo of patriotism. They blast the national anthem, and other patriotism laden songs from 5.1 dolby suround(and believe me that shit's LOUD) speakers just as soon as the clock ticks 00:00 on the 14th. They are the first ones to rise on the morning of the day, and the first ones to salute the flag.

They are usually the first ones also, to reprimand some unwary soul for causing disrespect to the Indian flag, or the Indian constitution, or the Indian freedom fighters of the last century, or one cnetury before that. They put up slogans like Jai Hind, on their face book accounts. And get their face painted, ride around on motorbikes and, in general, remind the whole world how good it feels to be an Indian. A true blue Indian, with cricket in his blue(ish) blood, and heart filled with generous respect for Bhagat Singh, Mangal Pandey, and an extra generous helping of antipathy for Gandhi.

These people spend the remaining 363 (or 364 if its a leap year) typing out emails which they then proceed to send to universities around the world. Universities like Sheffield, and Texas(which is pronounces opposed to Tex-us), yeah, those brilliant A grade top ranked universities. And such people proceed to bug their seniors for tips, and ask them about where to apply next, and whether the GMAT is really worth all that money. These people know more about the TOEFL than you might about tea. And speaking of tea, they usually consume between 4-5 cups of it a day. These people know that DAAD isn't some sort of ringworm that you can counter with some sort of skin ointment. These people consider Obama to be some sort of monkey, and MIT to be the best bloody University in the world, and NASA to be some sort of sidereal heaven.

What the Indian dream is, then, is to emigrate. Because for all intents and purposes, abroad is the best place to study, to live, and to grow rich. Because it makes sense to get your degree in higher education from a university abroad, and THEN come back to our country. And come on, TRUE patriots are even better abroad. THey are NRIs, which makes them more valuable than their weight in gold. India had the highest amount of remittances flowing into any country in the world. NRIs account for 2.5% of our GDP. And we are thankful, because those people are the true patriots. THe people who have the good sense to send back money to their own country in order to benefit the people in our poor India.

And like everything else, patriotism is now measured in INR, so Mukesh Ambani, probably, by that measure, is one of the most patriotic citizens of the country. WHich makes it easiest to define patriotism.

Patriotism isn't measured by your knowledge of the Sepoy Mutiny, or by the volume at which you can play Vande Mataram. Patriotism isn't measured, period. No one is more patriotic, or less patriotic than his neighbour. We all belong to the same country, and we all have the same duty towards it. And whehter we choose to fulfil it, is completely dependent on us.

Not on our patriotism.

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