October 29, 2013 | By: Vidyanath Aarvi

Patriotism - A Forced Emotion

          I once happened to participate in a session of group discussion on this topic at an orators club on the eve of Independence Day. This club is an organization formed by a group of volunteers who are keenly interested in public speaking and they made it a practice to conduct sessions on public speaking every Saturday evening. Non-members are also welcome to attend and take part in these sessions. My personal interest in public speaking drove me to that session and it’s only after this session that I realized the need to act with a broad sense of thought. It is then on that, I started relating every experience to a pragmatic basis.
        Now that I experienced such change in my course of thinking, I finally gathered views worth sharing. Patriotism is an intense human emotion. Human emotions are not devoid of logic, social, and clinical psychologies are such domains that evolved over times to explain this fact in an organized fashion. As a common civilian, I need to have a justification to feel patriotic. If someone questions me on what if every soldier on the nation’s boarder demands such justification then the only answer I can come up with is to boldly agree that I do not have the strong heart of a solider. I unabashedly agree that I’m a common civilian and I’m in no comparison to such people who sacrificed their comfort and dedicated their lives to the nation’s defense. 

       By a generic essence, if emotions are not justified they could act on obscuring our intuition for instance when I participated in a college level debate on the issue “Can India host Olympics?” most people went on to speak in favour of the topic. This is because they all regarded it as a question of national esteem they simply resorted to support their views by answering the question “Why can’t we?” in their own terms. But I wanted to emphasize my views by choosing to answer the “Why shouldn’t we?” question in this context. If we step out of the dogma to take pride in being patriotic and look into the reality, then it turns evident that hosting Olympics involves significant finance and as of now it is advisable to divert such finance into more productive routes so as to attain self-sustenance in many aspects for instance that could be used to improve medical facilities in a remote village, to support some small scale industries, to support primary education in rural areas etc.., may be down the line we could also think of hosting Olympics but when the right time pops out and this depends on the progress we register in terms of resolving or at least regulating the other problems that are a priority. By the way keeping off from hosting Olympics doesn’t mean that we should stop encouraging our players and these are two different aspects not to be mixed. 

       So during my schooling I was taught that India has a rich and varied heritage, India is the only sub-continent in the world and also that India stands by the philosophy of unity in diversity and that India has its roots of civilization dating back to the B.C periods. However the reality that I encountered later on, taught me more. 

         To be precise, though our unity in diversity concept seems so idealistic to a non-Indian the fact that we all as Indians know of is that it is barely capable of disturbing some extremists to act anti-social and this diversity is a significant factor that holds back our progress. I’m referring here to the scope this diversity implies to an extremist mindset and it is practically impossible to have no extremist opinions in a diversified society. What if India is the only sub-continent in the world are we making out the right advantage of that I mean since we host such varied climatic conditions for instance encouraging research of climatology could gain us international fame besides fetching economically so that is then an aspect to take pride in. Even though our civilization dates back to the early B.C periods, there is no efficient dissipation of that knowledge and wisdom to the current generation. If India has a rich heritage, then it needs to be efficiently used to attract tourist attention and then that shall surely be an aspect to take pride in. 

        Eventually I’d like to make it clear that patriotism as a human emotion needs to be looked upon with a pragmatic basis. So patriotism to me is not to react towards upholding the esteem of the nation but rather to regard the true picture and learn what is indeed good for our nation and there by deduce ways of reforming the worst part of any scenario associated with the national interests. This new perspective is definitely better fetching than the dogma of looking and feeling patriotic by some ideologies.