Tomorrow is 15th August - our Independence Day...So I am feeling a little patriotic! Let me share today some thoughts in that context only..
What is patriotism? Whenever our national anthem is being played somewhere and I try to connect and listen, I feel a vibration pass through my body. Many theaters in Mumbai have the custom of playing national anthem before the movie starts. Everybody in the audience stand up in respect of the national song and I really love that feeling of national pride every time I see everyone standing in it's respect and a strong sensation passes through my body everytime I am standing hearing the national anthem.
Same happens when India wins in a significant cricket match or any other sport or if some Indian achieves International acclaim or success. Reading the news of Abhinav Bindra winning Gold Medal recently in Beijing Olympics made the corners of my eyes wet with tears (of pride). I had felt the same when Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai had won The Best Beauty titles. Even a foreign resident of Indian origin also does something great or achieves some remarkable success, it makes me feel proud. Reading the news of a Gujarati US born NRI Raj Bhavsar winning a Bronze in Beijing Olympics also made me feel happy and proud. Sunita Williams or Kiran Desai or Amartya Sen scaling new heights of fame by their professional success made me feel great and proud.
When some foreign country tries to belittle India or us, Indians, then I feel ireful. When US recently tried to accuse us for the paucity of grain or food, I felt not only irritated but outrageous. It was silly and baseless accusation. Reading about the racial discrimination faced by Shilpa Shetty in the UK Reality show sometime back also made me feel angry. Today where are we heading to? Globalization has made the whole world a small unit. And still certain people or countries indulge in such silly things.
So is that all about patriotism? I guess not! Patriotism is much more than this.
Patriotism according to me is respecting our country and try to do whatever we can for its betterment, however small it may be. There are lots of troubles and issues in the world today like Global Warming, over population, Economic Slowdown, paucity of natural resources like power, water etc. We as true and responsible citizens of our nation shall always try to help Government in whatever efforts they are making for India's growth and to tackle all the above mentioned problems.
We got freedom 61 years ago from the British Rule. It's time to retrospect. What have we achieved in all these years of freedom? This Freedom has costed us a lot. Many lives have been sacrificed and too many hardships have been faced to achieve it. So we shall all just not have to enjoy the freedom but we have some responsibility too, as the true citizen of a great nation.
We all love the cleanliness of countries like Dubai or Singapore but what we do to make our country or city the same? Do we try to maintain our public places and roads neat and beautiful? We throw garbage anywhere. People spit or piss anywhere on the roads. It is time we start being conscious about such small things.
Do we pay attention while using water or electricity? Many times I observe, people keep Taps open after drinking water or washing their hands at a public place. Women use plenty of water thoughtlessly while washing clothes or for cleaning their utensils, homes etc. Lights and fans are kept switched ON even when they are not needed. We have to be aware of all such tiny things.
On roads, there is lot of traffic. Why? People don't think before using vehicles. Even for a small distance where a walk can do, they use vehicle. Options like Car pooling can not only be a very effective tool for saving fuel, fuel costs etc. but also reduce traffic and pollution levels to a great extent.
Patriotism for me is not just showing respect for your country but to treat your fellow citizens with respect and care. We don't care about our neighbours, our colleagues, our fellow Indian citizens. We act selfish. Many times I have seen people thinking about themselves or their own families only. But true patriotism is in the belief of ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्’ (The whole world is a big family). We shall not fight amongst ourselves based on our own state or religion. Humanity shall be at the top above all the things. If we understand this, then only we will be able to fight the terrorist attacks and other such grave issues.
Let's pledge of contributing our own bit in making our independence truely meaningful. Let's enjoy our Independence in true Spirit...
Happy Independence Day to all...!