Contest 2: What are your thoughts on Patriotism?

Note: This contest is CLOSED. The winner will be announced on  Friday, 22nd August, 2014. If you missed out on entering this, don’t worry. The next contest will be out very shortly.

 

Contest-Cup

How do you enter the contest?

It doesn’t get simpler. You leave a comment to this post. If you leave two comments, they will count as two separate entries. The maximum number of entries you can submit is three. If you leave more than three comments, I won’t tell you off (I’m too nice for that) but I will only pick the first three.

What is the topic?

Since this fortnight includes India’s Independence Day, I thought it may be fun to have a related theme: Patriotism

Here are a few examples of what you can make your entry about:

  1. Your definition and thoughts on patriotism. In a globalized world, what does it mean to be a patriot? Is the idea of patriotism reconcilable with hopes of global citizenship and brotherhood?
  2. A story or a mood piece of a patriot, as per your definition of the word. This can be a scene describing a soldier, a scientist, an economist, a politician, a dictator, a war scene – anything, as long as the theme of ‘patriotism’ is evident.
  3. A poem, song, jingle or limerick which is either loosely or tightly entwined with the concept of patriotism.

In short, I would like you to think through the idea of patriotism and give us a glimpse of what your thoughts are on the subject. You could do this through an essay, an argument, a poem, or a narrative scene.

In one sentence: You could write just about anything connected to the theme of patriotism.

Word limit300 words.

How is the winner selected?

Just like last time, each comment will be rated on three things:

1. Clarity: I should understand what you’re trying to say. Good grammar and punctuation will help. So will a reasonable structure to your entry. Beginning, middle and end.

2. Personal Touch: I’m interested in knowing your ideas of patriotism, your themes, your characters, your words. The more personal you make it, the more you will touch your reader, and the deeper your imprint on his or her mind will be. So go for depth, specificity and honesty.

3. Beauty of the writing: Make your words sing. Give rich sensory detail. Describe well. Transport us to to your world. Be cogent, crisp and clear.

The above three criteria are ranked in the order of importance. So clarity is more important than personal touch. And personal touch is more important than evocative writing.

Form

This is up to you. Do you feel you can put your point across the best way through a poem? Are you more comfortable with an essay? Or do you prefer to write a short story or a narrative piece?

Anything and everything will work, as long as you stay under 300 words and on topic.

Videos and images are not valid entries.

What’s the prize?

A Flipkart e-gift voucher worth 500 Indian rupees. It looks like this.

Flipkart-Voucher

No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside of India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).

Rules/Guidelines/Suggestions

1. The closing date for comments/entries is Wednesday, 20th of August, 2014. The winner will be announced on Friday, 22nd of August, 2014.

2. When you enter comments on this blog, you will find a separate text box asking for your email. I recommend that you enter your email into this, so that I will have a way of contacting you in case you win. Rest assured that I will not use your contact information for any other purpose, shady or otherwise.

3. Sexually explicit or offensive material will be deleted at my discretion.

4. Avoid plagiarism. I will check for it, and remove entries that I think are lifted from elsewhere.

And finally…

Have fun! If you think this is the sort of thing your friends would enjoy, share this post with them and invite them to participate. The more the merrier!

See you in the comments.

Comments

  1. Nice. I’ll give it a try. If nothing else, I’ll get to write a piece for my blog eh? cool idea. 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity.
    Cheers n tc.
    Usha

    Like

  2. Gr8 🙂

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  3. Nice…

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  4. Patriotism in India is best left to the parties.There are many parties like the Kitty,Dance,New Year,Birthday parties etc.These largely fall in two buckets : The Uber and the Middle.

    The Uber Class Party :

    Yes, politics in India is best discussed over a single malt at a party.People actually speak up.Some of them even make a lot of senses.People get emotional and philosophical.They pay taxes,huge taxes, as a part of their national contribution.Its their bit towards patriotism.Of course not to forget the NGO contribution tucked in somewhere.Discussions range from dogs to the country or vice versa.Their heads are in perfect synchronicity.Then call it a night.

    Mornings however,present a different story. Its back to working for myself time, who cares what happens to the country.Its back to lets all nod our heads time after reading newspaper,then back to my presentation time.Its a smile to see page 3 and then get back to facebook time.Most of the uber class raised eyebrows crowd will perhaps correlate a few points to whats happening on the Economic Times or the Financial times about the country’s development. Patriotism,however will resurface again next weekend.

    The Middle Class Party :

    The metro ride back home was strewn with words like push,shove, armpits and jostle….not in a particular frequency or order.Thinking about the boss, the client and the girl or boy as the case maybe..or both…and the common patriotic point ? Well they were all from the same country! They will remember all the road detours, the ground excavations and the log jams. Will they remember the country ? Oh yes every single day.

    Neighbours get together or family goes to a nearby mall – watches a mass appeal movie like Chennai Express and has a good laugh about national integration. “2 States” and “Kick” are also about patriotism in some sense isn’t it? After doing their bit for the country, ie by purchasing those movie tickets they head back home to the Old monk. The television serials also show so much patriotism these days and in fact show how well the country is doing economically.Every “Saas” or “Bahu” is decked head to toe in designer wear.The real estate is booming – the cars are fancy.India is shining!Patriotism will resurface again when there is a Cricket match, especially with Pakistan, and or a gang rape somewhere in the country.

    So you see friends, fellow patriots,Patriotism is alive and kicking in India.Enjoy it till the country or the party lasts.

    Jai Hind Sight.

    Like

    • Thanks for this, GB. I totally identify with the middle class party you mentioned. As a member of the middle class, I have time for patriotism. I will stand up and puff my chest out with pride whenever the national anthem plays. But do I have time to understand the issues that I complain about? No. I only have time to pick a side and fight for a few minutes before I go away to the next mass appeal movie that makes me feel good. I’m so numbed by my daily life that thinking is a chore.

      But you didn’t say anything about what patriotism means to the lower classes, the largest demographic. How do you think they perceive this concept of loyalty towards one’s country?

      I liked your last line too. Jai Hind Sight. And congratulations on being the first entry. You got the ball rolling 🙂

      Like

  5. Raghu held on firmly to the handle on the back of his father’s bike even though there was more than two minutes left for the signal to change. He pressed his face against the back of Appa’s shirt and inhaled the smell of Axe deodorant and sweat – it was such a warm, comforting smell. He turned his head to the side and rested his cheek against Appa’s back.

    That’s when he saw him. A boy of his own age in an oversized shirt weaving his way through the bikes and cars, holding up small plastic Indian flags in front of faces that seemed to look through him. Raghu twisted around in his seat to see if anyone was buying a flag from the boy – it didn’t look like it. There was just one minute left for the signal to change.

    “Appa,” he said urgently, “We need to take a flag to school today – for Independence Day.”
    “You’re telling me now?” Appa asked, annoyed.
    “Look Appa – there’s a boy selling flags – call him!”
    Torn between nervousness and excitement, Raghu watched as Appa sighed, then caught the attention of the boy, who made his way towards them eagerly.
    “Ten rupees sir…” he waved the flag in front of Raghu’s face.
    “Give it to me for five rupees.”
    “No sir – ten rupees…”

    Appa shook his head firmly. Raghu’s heart sank. The signal was about to change.

    Just as Appa started the bike, the boy thrust the flag into Raghu’s hand. Appa tossed him the five rupee coin which he scrambled to catch. He barely got out of the way as the vehicles roared passed him.

    “Happy?” Appa shouted over the wind.
    Raghu said nothing, the plastic flag clutched in his hand and hot tears burning his eyelids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annet T Sebastian says:

      it touched those chords of my heart which are connected to my eyes…. tears brimmed up… beautifully put…

      Like

    • A poignant story, nicely told, with an indelible message. I like it.

      Like

    • Thanks for this, Gowri. Suggestive how the father is wearing a Axe deodorant – an unsatisfied marriage, maybe? I’ve always wondered how we think nothing of walking into a mall and paying label price on items that have been marked up by a 1000% or so, and yet when we walk out, we haggle with auto drivers, flower sellers and vegetable vendors. And how we always walk past beggars with our wallets full of jingling coins. We’re a very confused middle-class in India: we’ve adopted consumerism as a right in a huge way, and yet we’ve not lost the hoarding instinct.

      Very nice. As Jayant said, a poignant piece. Well done!

      Like

  6. Patriotism, I feel, is the catalyst that brings people together. It’s more to do with identifying yourself with the culture, the population and specially the notion of a country.

    Every word thought in favour and
    Every action performed in grace.
    Speaks to thy soul, that place.
    A land, be it, of origins or not.
    The intent in perception is all you’ve got.
    “Why must I be a patriot?” you ask.
    Cause when the great star dims and
    the rivers run dry, yours truly land
    in your mind will survive.
    When even its adversity makes you smile
    Your tenacity, others deem imbecile.
    But oh what joy in belonging to a place
    that knows more than saving face.

    This country mine, its cities mine.
    Its glory and bane, all mine.

    For the nomad, patriotism, a difficult feat.
    But in all her ventures, a home town she meets.
    starting trouble, never had any. But then again
    Such a country, how many.
    Name and fame she wanted to earn, more than
    Herself, for this country’s concern.
    Association in the deepest of matters
    Indignation at syllables of not flatter.
    Strength and courage she gathers from her haven.
    One day to return tenfold to its sistren.
    Mysteries of life drove her afar. But before
    Long, her sights will be blessed with the
    Lyrical spell of a land so vast and magnificent.

    This country mine, its cities mine.
    Its glory and bane, all mine.

    Like

    • Hi thelifestories2,

      Welcome to the blog. I think this was your first comment here. I’m glad you began with such a nice poem. I’d known when I began this contest that many of the entries will be of the cynical kind, so it’s refreshing to read one that is in a celebratory tone. Your lines ‘This country mine, its cities mine. Its glory and bane, all mine’ resonate with me personally, because three years ago, after having spent ten years in a Western country and becoming its citizen, I decided to return to India for good. When everyone asked why, I said pretty much the same thing. I didn’t put it into verse as you did, but I did say that however India was, it belonged to me.

      Now I know that I had it wrong. India doesn’t belong to me, I belong to India. Thank you 🙂

      Like

  7. Another Shot for the Patriot!

    “Patriotism is everywhere,
    That’s the problem isn’t it?
    It has pervaded our Id, ego and super-ego,
    And whatever is left of our collective psyche,
    Like goddamn ink in water!

    The flag on the ground is infamy!
    Individualism is blasphemy!
    Stand united!
    Fall divided!
    Burp!

    Patriotism is just a way to condition you and
    To make you sway any which way.
    But you buy it,
    Like an obligatory purchase
    Of cheap cotton candy in a town fair;
    Some bullshit about pride and glory,
    In exchange for complete submission.

    Just because a line falls between you and
    Another man,
    A man who was your comrade a few decades ago, Mind you,
    He is now your enemy.

    I believed that idea
    And spat out all thoughts of brotherhood,
    Of basic humanity,
    And shot him in the face,
    Him and a few others,
    Who ate, shat, laughed and bled,
    Just like you and me,
    Because a fucking line fell between us
    And because our leaders decided which side of the line
    Our allegiances lie.

    Wow! You have a flag-pinned on you!
    Carry it with pride, boy!

    Pour me another shot…

    This flag of our motherland,
    Is what we soldiers fight for,
    And lose our shrapnel-riddled limbs for.
    This flag is what pays my bills,
    Buys my drink,
    And changes my adult diaper when it’s soiled,
    This flag is what rolls my wheelchair down the park,
    As I drool down the sides of my mouth.

    Glory, Oh Glory to the flag!

    In a cold nation, you just raided,
    Would you pull down your flag and cover a shivering little girl,
    Or would you cry “Hail Motherland” and stamp on her neck,
    And exult over your victory?

    Will you socially conditioned rats start thinking?

    Tomorrow, I am the same as your little flag pin,
    Useless and unworthy of any notice,
    I would be discharged.
    Heck, I won’t even get free booze.

    Let me down some more while it’s still Independence Day.
    Another shot for the patriot, you fucking pansy!”

    Like

    • Probably the exact opposite of what the previous entry wrote about. I loved the passion in this poem, and also some of the images that you show us, Prithvi. ‘Ink in water’, ‘cotton candy at a town fair’, the flag covering ‘a shivering little girl’, the comparison between a soldier and a flag pin (which is quite an appropriate analogy, when you think about it), the flag changing our adult diapers, running our wheelchairs down the park…I could go on. Almost each line gives out a specific image that hits us in the face.

      And you’re right, of course. Patriotism is just social conditioning. It’s funny how we decry regionalism and state rifts in our country and say, ‘We must all stick as one. We’re Indians.’ We’re just trading smaller boundaries for bigger ones.

      Thank for sharing that. I really enjoyed reading it.

      Like

  8. I am going to be hanged tomorrow. For having been a patriot.

    I was tried by the war crimes tribunal, and I was found guilty of killing unarmed civilians.

    But I was ordered to kill them by my superiors. By my Government.

    Being in the army and not obeying orders is equivalent to treason. We were trained not to listen to reason.

    Is obeying orders, a crime?

    There are soldiers who loot and rape. Did I do that? Did I kill people for my pleasure?

    I just did what I was told. I did my job.

    There is no one to testify for me. All my superiors are dead. There is no Government either.

    I am not afraid of death. I just . . . I just don’t want to die as a criminal.

    You tell me – Am I a criminal?

    Last page from the dairy of a Nazi Soldier. (A work of fiction.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t the whole idea of ‘war crimes’ an oxymoron? Any civilized society would consider war itself to be a crime. And yes, if you train (sorry, brainwash) people to obey orders no matter what, which is what all armies do, then who is at fault for a ‘wrong’ order? The person passing it, or the person carrying it out? Our current justice system tries soldiers as if they were ‘normal’ people, but they aren’t. They’ve been trained to kill other people, to follow commands that are sometimes against their own self-interest. They’re a bit like shaped lab rats. Should we therefore make allowances in our justice system for such people, just like we do for mentally imbalanced individuals?

      I don’t know much about how the War Crimes Tribunal functions. I’m just thinking out loud based on your comment, Rajesh. I will do some reading on the psychology of soldiers. Thank you for this.

      Like

  9. Sarfaroshi ki tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-kaatil mein hai.
    Waqt aane pe bataa denge tujhe ae aasmaan, hum abhi se kyaa bataaye kyaa hamaare dil mein hai.

    Patriotism changed its meaning since then. These lines were written by Ram Prasad Bismil in the era when having a nation to ourselves was a need, a desire and patriotism wasn’t a choice. They saw that feeling in the society while growing up and so grew up with the same nature.

    Webster defines patriotism as: Love of country; devotion to the welfare of one’s country.

    What we see now looks a bit obsolete. I am not saying we don’t love our nation, we all do and will do it till the last breath but do we really think about the welfare of the nation as such?
    Basically it’s not our fault, as Chuck Palahniuk mentioned “We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars.”
    And that’s the reason, for us patriotism has a lower sense of belongingness

    Piyush Mishra redefined the same poem from past in a contemporary way,
    O re Bismil kaash aate aaj tum hindustaan, dekhte ki mulk saara kyaa Tashan, kyaa Chill mein hai.
    Aaj kaa launda yeh kehta hum to Bismil thak gaye, apni aazaadi to bhaiya laundiya ke til mein hai.

    P.S.: My post is a reference to a lot of different original works, but i believe it portrays the right message in the correct direction.

    Like

    • Hi Rightfromleftside,

      Welcome to the blog. I agree that most of us today, who are perhaps the second generation to have been born in independent India, are beginning to get confused about the issue of patriotism. Yes, India has gone to war a few times in our lifetimes too, but these wars haven’t been big enough to galvanize the nation. The great narrative of our times, as Chuck Palahniuk said, is that everyone believes that he or she is – or should be – a celebrity. Our idols are celebrities and rich people. Our lives have only one of two purposes – fame or money.

      But what do you think? You say the kind of patriotism Ram Prasad Bismil is obsolete today. What kind of patriotism should a country in peace adopt, then? Or is patriotism not even necessary for a country in peace? Should we stop celebrating Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti and so on?

      Like

      • Hey Sharath,

        My intention here was just to highlight the meaning and phase shift in culture and thinking which changed Patriotism in its course. Yes, i agree we have seen Indo-Pak wars and many heroic operations too, and we Indians emerged as ONE in the most difficult times. But now the fight is more of with-in than with-out.. We are fighting Terrorists, Naxalites and also “Neighbors in Bad-faith”; but on the same front, we, the common people of India should constantly fight Social mis-conducts that are making us hollow and the current generation is aware but chooses to opt to sleep.
        As mentioned in Rang de Basanti “Apne ghar ki safai me haath kyun gande karna..!!” this attitude will not take us anywhere.
        So somewhere i feel that Indians need to understand the meaning of Belongingness and Pride the word INDIA means.

        Arpit Khandelwal
        @rightfromleftside

        P.S.: Look at the sad part, even i am quoting only movies to make my point. I guess an example of current generation. :/

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Falguni Srikanth says:

    A very nice blog and a very nice contest….so people like me who are not writers get opportunity to try our hand at writing.
    My views on patriotism are very personal and straight from my heart.
    Patriotism
    Each one of us have our own definition of patriotism.
    For me patriotism is an emotion which got woven in my heart since my early childhood.A very very strong emotion which is partly learnt and partly innate in my opinion.
    In Bhagvad Geetha lord krishna describes three Gunas…. Sattva Raja and Tamasa…..I pray and wish that patriotism in all of us arises out of sattva Guna and so is pure tranquil and devoid of jealousy greed lust anger violence ….
    Let’s all pray for sattvik patriotism which allows Vasudhaiva kutumbakam…..ie global family…
    In a lighter vein clapping and jumping when India wins a cricket match against Pakistan and crying when national anthem is played and when in foreign land feeling elated listening to indian language and so many more small silly things we do are also patriotism for me.

    Like

    • Hi Aunty,

      Thank you for entering the contest. And there is no such thing as ‘not being a writer’ today. If you have a device on which you can type out words, and if you can read them on the screen, you’re a writer. Basic definition: anyone who writes is a writer 🙂

      I’d not heard of the three gunas before this. Just did a quick Wikipedia search for them and found that sattva means creation, rajas means destruction, and tamas means preservation. I suppose all patriotism is a mixture of these three things: a true patriot wants to preserve what he sees as his, seeks to destroy ‘the other’, in the hope of creating a new order in which he and his people have more power/wealth.

      Do you think patriotism is possible WITHOUT including one or more of all the three gunas? It seems to me that they’re all intertwined.

      And yes, I can vouch for the amount of patriotism that you feel when you live outside India. As someone who has lived for a decade in New Zealand, Indian languages, Indian food, Indian people, Indian anything become so much more important to you. You realize how much of a patriot you are only after leaving the country, in my opinion.

      Like

  11. I was quite young when I was taught Vande Mataram by my Great Grandfather, who was a freedom fighter. I used to sit with him under the old mango tree, which was his favorite place, of our village home. I remember him wearing khaadi ka kurta and rolling a paan with his tongue in his toothless mouth and reminiscing about the times bygone. The first time I felt what freedom meant was when he told me how he escaped off a train along with Mahatma Gandhiji by the British soldiers, who had stopped the train and were trying to capture the freedom vigilantes. I saw him transform while he recounted that tale to me. He became a young 16 year old boy, who wanted nothing more than freedom for his country. His otherwise soft and barely audible voice would become that of a passionate orator and I would feel goosebumps all over my body. I felt the pain of those, of us, enslaved and of the women who were attacked but refused to back out, saying “Bina swaraaj hum nahi hatenge!” (We will not leave without freedom/independence). Patriotism for me means passion not only for my country but for those who make my country India- Independent India. Patriotism is to break the shackles that bind the society and make us a regressive country on the world map. Patriotism for me means to not just “like” the 68th Independence Day post but to part of it by voting. By being the citizen of India. By being an Indian.

    Like

    • Hi MSM,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with your great grandfather. I also remember sitting with my maternal grandfather as a child and hearing stories of how he met Gandhi and Nehru when they came to our village. I remember being filled with awe, that this man had met people from our history books. His pet name for my mother was ‘Sarojini’, after Sarojini Naidu.

      I think we will be the last generation who had a tangible link to the freedom struggle. It will be interesting to see how our kids and grandchildren take to the narrative of India’s independence. I can’t help but think that the passion will die. What will it be replaced by? Not sure.

      Like

      • Sometimes, that’s what I wonder about. We, at least, had access to some of the remnants of the freedom struggle. I feel, our future generations may not feel the passion same manner but things might be positive if their curious minds end up flaring the passion for the country. Who knows? 🙂

        Like

  12. Bhavesh Jeewani says:

    “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”, the radio blurted, as he tuned to the only station. The air around had a celebratory fervour to it. For his part, he was overjoyed and happy to have been part of India’s struggle for freedom – tears of joy rolled down his luminous face. His innocent heart was filled with hope for a better future for himself and the nation.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Dadu, are you not coming with us?” asked Arnav. “I will come later. You should go with Mummy and Papa first. My tickets are for tomorrow”, Mr. Chawla tried to address little Arnav’s innocent query.

    “Dad, you have nothing to worry about. They will take good care of you here. I have already paid all the expenses for a year and have deposited some money in your account. Moreover, you will be free to do as you like here. You can take up the activities you have always wanted to but could not”, Mr. Chawla listened quietly, trying hard to smile as Arnav’s dad and Arnav set to leave.

    “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”, the radio blurted that night, bringing back fond memories for Mr. Chawla.

    Only this time, the same words evoked a different chord in him. He thought of his family. He thought of little Arnav. By tomorrow, they would be far off, across the seven seas. On this fateful day laced with the context of freedom, he was now alone, separated from his loved ones. His experience of the event called Independence now seemed terribly complete. Tears rolled down his wrinkled morose face as he silently lay on his bed, never to wake up again.

    Like

    • Nice coming together of three generations here. I think you probably needed more than 300 words to develop this a little more, but I can see the beginnings of a good story. The death at the end comes across as a little abrupt. Makes me think if that is all it takes to push a person to die. But as I said, some more time and space for development and I think it would be believable.

      I like the message in it too. Tying it to Nehru’s speech is a nice touch. I recall a Write Club session during last year’s Independence Day that went along the same lines. I don’t remember the writer’s name or face. Is it you, by any chance?

      Either way, thanks for sharing, Bhavesh 🙂

      Like

  13. The Nationalist’s Romanticized word called “Patriotism”
    ———————————————————————
    Had it not been for this, we would still be wiping the occupier’s boots
    and shine it to his command with the sweat of our brow.
    Had it not been for this, our women would have been their casual mistress
    and our children witness injustice to the core.
    Had it not been for this, this freedom, this flag that is hoisted
    and the songs that swim, just a mere dream hardly ever realized.
    Had it not been for this, everything else… just an endless night mare hard to imagine.
    Had it not been for this…
    …this gentle breeze of patriotism that bravely flows by sweet.

    Patriotism is not something that can be subjected on anyone or ridiculed if absent yet the orbit that encompasses the oneness regardless of the invisible boundaries. Patriotism is what nurtures our sense of nationalism grounded by the sacrifices of the great few who earlier gave their all to give us all the freedom that we have today. This is pride in action and the humility to be a part of the whole. Patriotism is more about playing our part in building the spine of our nation in supporting it to stand straight. No matter what the sway, what the fall, something that helps us gather strength, derive courage, stand up and walk on. Patriotism is the unconditional love one has for a country whilst still reserving the right to hate the government that runs it (once in a while). Jai Hind! Jai Bharath…

    Like

    • Hi Fredjeev,

      Your entry drives home the point that we sometimes forget: that our grandfathers have died to give us what we take for granted today: liberty and freedom. While we complain about the state of the nation and other such nice things, we forget that the alternative – being ruled under an oppressive regime – is perhaps a hundred times worse. At least for the memory of those thousands of people who lived with the sole purpose of making India free, I think we must strive to be true to whatever patriotism means to us.

      This contest was an attempt to do that, to find out our personal definitions of this elusive word. Thank you for sharing your meaning with us.

      Like

  14. Shishir Rattan says:

    Is been more than fifty years since this country got independent. Aye! An oppressive rule it was no doubt. Killing and exploiting to no end.
    But as i twist and turn at every mention of freedom, i wonder, was it all worth it? Our acknowledgement of this burning desire; their glaring denial of the obvious is as clear now as it was back then and yet…the story continues as is.
    Surely the prosperity had been far better than i would have imagined. The union has held together nevertheless. But for how much longer i constantly wonder. Look deep within yourself and decide oh youth of this great nation! Patriotism is in thought and not in Borders on land.

    Open later from Winston Churchill, of the grave to the youth of the countries

    Like

    • Hi Shishir,

      It’s indeed a wonder that a country such as India has held together as a nation for this long. If I recall correctly, every historian and political commentator of note – not to mention Churchill himself – predicted that India will disintegrate in a decade at most. And yet seven decades later, we’re still intact. We’re not just the world’s largest democracy, but also its most diverse country. In which other country do you find so many cultures, languages, food habits, art forms? By all known rules of reason and logic, we should not be one country.

      And yet we are. And you know what? I think we will continue to be, because now we have a seventy-year-history as an independent nation. We will still have in-fighting because of our differences, but I think as a country, we will endure. At least until the end of our lifetimes.

      But maybe I’m just being an optimist. Let’s see 🙂

      Like

  15. Patriotism,according to me means the feeling of belonging to ones’s nation. When that ceases to exist, the whole concept of patriotism tumbles down to nothingness. Below is my figurative narrative poem on this aspect, depicting the making of a NON-PATRIOT.

    On to the other side I wanna go,
    The reason you ask, oh,
    The apples are sweeter there,
    Said little Pumpy Dare!

    Those apples make me strong,
    But to come back, I’ll always long!
    I‘ll get a seed and plant it here,
    Apples here then will be sweeter,
    Said little Pumpy Dare!

    Off he did go, to the other side,
    Zoomed in the merry slide!
    Sweet apples, he ate and ate,
    Cursed the ones from where he came,
    And proclaimed their distaste!

    I’ll stay here a little longer,
    So I get a bit more stronger!
    Then I’ll take a seed and go,
    To my people, sweet apples will show!
    Said little Pumpy Dare!

    Longer and longer, he did stay,
    When until his hair turned grey.
    He had slaved for many a years,
    And forgot many a dears,
    Which he had left behind.

    Sweet apples are meant to be here,
    It will never grow there,
    The tree will wither and fall perhaps,
    Or is sure indeed to collapse,
    Said little Pumpy Dare!

    Never he went back to his side,
    In the other side he took pride!
    Never failed to curse his own though,
    Though that’s where he started his life’s show!

    On his death bed now he was,
    The old apple trees he yearned to see,
    Sweet or not,
    They were my lot,
    Now cried little Pumpy Dare!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very nice. I fully empathize with Pumpy Dare. It’s easy to get sucked into the sweet apples of the other side, always telling yourself that you one day will return to your own people and plant some trees there. I’m yet to meet an Indian living abroad who does not feel nostalgia for this country. I’ve met many who have plans to return ‘in a couple of years time’. They’ve had those plans for a few years now.

      I don’t consider myself a patriot. I don’t stand up when the national anthem is played, for instance. But I’m happier in India today than I was in any other country. Why is that so? I think it’s because I fit in better. I belong to India more than I belong to any other country. I suppose that makes me a patriot 🙂

      Like

  16. Patriotism, in the context of today’s globalization would be a day-to-day affair, not restricted to August 15th, January 26th, when another country plays mischief with our country, or another country is aggressive upon us.

    We all had our shares of shouting and being emotional on these instances and showed our loyalty to our country. But today’s situation demands a different type of thinking and acting. If well-being of the land is not addressed on a day-to-day basis, it’s not patriotism.

    I would have the following priorities-based actionable day-to-day items. One need not choose all, but as much as possible, and to take pledge on the following:

    1. I will not generate more babies, and help create awareness and contain India population.

    We are 1.4 billion in number, 18% of the world population in just 2% of the world’s land. We are stressed out for resources like land, water, air, energy, food, education, jobs. In spite of this, we celebrate baby-showers instead of showering the existing babies who have no one to care. We should start adopting in the cities, and work with NGOs/social enterpreneurship companies in the rural to create awareness.

    2. I will help uplift of rural India through education and economic empowerment

    70% of India is in rural. They are still in under-privileged conditions. If they are not taken care of, India is not shining, and we are not patriots.

    3. I will participate in changing legislation of outdated laws and tax reform

    We all know what I am talking about. If the laws don’t make sense, we don’t follow them.

    4. I will work towards retaining our cultural values and avoid mad ingress of global products/services.

    India has a culture – a meaningful one at that. There is no need for someone from outside to come and tell us how to live. Just because we have lost the whys and hows in the past 500 years, does not mean we should claim that they does not make sense. Each one of us should be a part of at least one aspect of retaining India’s culture – be it Yoga, the warmth of joint communities, or any other aspect that appeals us.

    These are the ways my friends, I can think of being patriotic. I think it makes sense in today’s situation, and how to move forward towards an incredible India!

    – Venkat Ramakrishnan

    Like

    • Hi Venkat,

      Thank you for a wonderful post. I like how you say that patriotism in the time of peace is not about armies and fighting, but about causing social change – and hopefully progress. About babies, I think the growing economy will take care of it automatically. As a society becomes richer, it has less babies. That’s how it is. Which is why today, among upper and middle classes of India, you see most parents going for one baby.

      All your other points are relevant, too. I especially agree with what you say about our culture and history.

      Like

      • Thanks Sharath. The growing economy should REACH the rural so that everyone can enjoy the benefits. That’s why the work through the social enterpreneurship and NGOs, apart from Government efforts, and thus point 2.

        Thanks for your compliments.

        Best Regards,
        Venkat.

        Like

  17. AKASH PANDYA says:

    As being first repudiated and then insulted for the evening passes, the old fella abuses the organizer with outraged words.In the event of Swarnim Gujarat
    held only to honors the Gujarat’s very own freedom fighters, the person who supposed to be awarded hadn’t even permitted to enter.So the heavy hearted gentlemen with stealthy smile on face, holding a wooden stick whose handle is coated with silver like steel is on his way to home via auto rickshaw.The road of laal darwaja always used to be embroiled with traffic, blocks the rickshaw amid the way.But it seems like not just vehicles, this road also cornered the breath in the throttle of Mr. amin.The sight of local congress house of ahmedabad, especially those vast red marbled staircases jerk the 70 year old eyes into the passed years of Mahagujarat Movement.
    It was silent there, which letter on turns into comotional shock, when the thousands of students receives again a denial from the administration.Due to the pressure of police force the feets and desires of all starts driving away until this happened.The whole park came under the orange and gingerly coloured light.YES it was fire, eight students burn them selves alive for sake of their birthland.Decision makers and leaders didn’t long sustain the burning of such a young blood.Within a period of two years in 1956 the formation of the gujarat state from bombay state succeeded.The unsung hero Dinkar Amin and Buddhi Dhruv are in among those few eyes who witnesses such heat of their close friends.

    Like

    • Hi Akash,

      Thanks for your comment. I had some trouble understanding your entry because it has a number of grammatical and spelling errors in it. Grammar and spelling allow us to communicate better with our readers, so if you wish to be a writer – or a communicator in general – in today’s world which runs on digital devices, good grammar and communication is a must.

      I could tell, though, that your entry was about the formation of Gujarat. It led me to the Wikipedia page on the history of Gujarat, and I spend a good twenty minutes reading it with interest. Thank you for sending me there. I had very little knowledge of Gujarat’s history before this, but now I think I will read up more on the subject.

      Do keep participating!

      Like

  18. Patriotism by Mishima is one of my favorite short stories ever.

    Like

  19. Patriotism differs from person to person, Patriotism — the word alone conjures up heroic images of troops fighting for freedom, our father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi and his satyrgraha and Ahinsa has played a very important role.
    I am proud of my country and all that it stands for. I am fortunate to have been born here, in this land of freedom, where with hard work you can accomplish your dreams. Not sure if this is still exists..?
    Here, you can be whatever you want — You have the freedom of choice. Do we really have a choice left now..
    Mahatma Gandhi and his thoughts has immersed in my mind and he is my greatest Idol ever.. ‘’Be the change you wish to see in the world’’, ‘’Gently you can shake the world’’ are few of his great thoughts no matter what age and where we are, these are still the golden words of thought.
    Patriotism is not sitting back and complaining. It is working together to make our country a better place for future generations.
    Part of this is voting — a privilege and responsibility. It is our duty to choose who we want leading our country. Being a patriot in a democratic society is standing by your country, but not blindly following its government. By voting, we ensure that India remains in capable hands.
    Most of all, patriotism is loving your country. This means that you are loyal and faithful to it, and proud of everything it has accomplished.
    The ultimate examples of this are 1. Anna Hazare. After his fight & fast to pull down corruption, but does it really vanished or has it been vanished by the corrupted leaders. 2. Aamir khan has also contributed much to anticipate the major areas of distress that exists in our country through Satyamaijayate. Hope we find some more patriotic who comes up with ideas like this…
    So what does patriotism mean to me? Patriotism is that feeling of loyalty and pride when I see a fluttering flag, or hear the national anthem.
    Patriotism is loving my country, supporting it, and striving to make it a more perfect. Freedom to devastate all the evils, We name and call our country Bharat Mata.. Are the women, girl child save in the hands of Bharat Mata.
    It is up to us, the citizens of this great country, to ensure it continues to stand for justice, equality, and freedom for all.

    —Cheers
    Sarah

    Like

    • Hi Sarah,

      I must second your statement about MK Gandhi. I consider him my greatest idol too, not just as a leader of men, but as a man. After reading his ‘Experiments with Truth’, I was convinced that the majority of Indians do not have any idea of what non violence and peaceful resistance actually means. I had misconceptions of them too, before I read his book. Then I went and read Tolstoy, the writings of Martin Luther King and Madela, and the more I read about nonviolence, more of a convert I became.

      There is enormous strength in peace and love. Much more than we think there is in weapons and war. And I’m not easily given to hyperbole. I’m a practical man, and yet I must bow down to the evidence that non violent movements across the world have shown me.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂

      Like

  20. Screeeeeech. Yamaha Enticer tires screeched to halt. The lights turned to red.
    120 seconds. The Woodland boots switched the gears from 4,3,2 to neutral and slowly lands on the tarmac, revealing the J.Crew socks.
    90 secs. The right Dainese gloves eases the clutch free, goes behind the ear to switch to the next song “Its my life ….” playing on the Apple Iphone bluetooth head set.
    60 secs. The left hand eases the Roland Sands helmet free of the buckle, revealing the Rayban glasses. Brylcreamed hair swaying in the air.
    30 secs. Opening the Hugo boss leather jacket, fondling for the Gucci wallet. Remembering that it was in his Levi’s back pocket, pulls it out.
    15 secs. Hurriedly, brushes away the 1000, 500, 100 rupee notes and reaches for the change pocket to pull out a Rupee coin, to throw it in the rambling plate of the beggar near by.
    10 secs. Zips the jacket.
    9 secs. Wears the helmet.
    8 secs. Grips the clutch.
    7 secs. Switches the gear.
    6 secs. Turns the accelerator.
    5 secs. Zooooooom. Tring. Tring. Head set rings. “Dude, its Dry Day. Any plans??”

    Like

    • Ha, well written. I thought there were perhaps a few too many brands thrown in. I think you would have made your point equally well with a couple (or more) less in the piece. This again gives us a pointer to how confused our middle class (of which I am a part) is. We rail against inequality while ignoring beggars on the street. We rant against corruption while passing a few bucks to the customs officer at the airport to let us import the television without having to pay full duty. We talk of the simple life while sipping on our wines and champagnes.

      We’re either willfully deceiving ourselves or we don’t have a clue. I’m hoping it’s the latter.

      Like

  21. “We don’t have clean roads and everywhere corruption and we don’t have good education system”, we hear such comments everywhere about our country.
    We point fingers at government, governance always and appreciate other countries and their achievements?
    How can we learn recognise and appreciate our country and where to start?

    We feel proud about our achievements and the Patriotic feeling arise mostly when India wins the cricket match and our soldiers are martyred.
    Instead, patriotism can be fostered in our day to day life. Love for your country, family, culture comes first at home which is the foundation.
    As kids, we all had the joy of saluting the tricolour flag hoisted and singing National anthem and always filled with proud thoughts about the country.
    As we grew older we start finding only faults and forget to appreciate the country’s progress and participating supporting its growth.
    The onus is on us, seeding the feeling of Patriotism early in life and further transforming in to actions instead of complaining always.
    Practice of Identifying countries progress and getting involved in nation building activities will lead to real patriotism
    It will inspire younger generation and creates an environment to appreciate our country’s progress and to say “Incredible India”

    Like

    • Thanks for that, Sunitha. Those of us who have had the opportunity to visit (or live in) other countries indulge in this ‘India bashing’ habit a lot. We forget that the very fact that so many people today from India are able to travel to more developed countries is a sign of India’s growth. Our generation is living in a richer and more technologically advanced India than our parents’, who in their turn, lived in a richer India than their parents. We can only hope that the trend continues, and that in the next twenty years, India grows as a global economic player.

      The story is not all bad, I agree.

      Like

  22. Annet T Sebastian says:

    Patriotism for me is a conscious agreement made by any living being with its fellow beings to carve out a peaceful and livable atmosphere in the society ;out of the otherwise irrational, ever competing and backstabbing situations crafted by inherently evil beings in the same society. Personally for me patriotism is best reflected by the soldiers of our country and hence the following poem for those who epitomize patriotism for me…..

    you are my freedom, you are my easy access to life, you are the confidence in my gait, you are God’s incarnated protection for me,

    you are beyond these insignificant metaphors… you are the pulse that keeps me safe.

    when i am hauling and crying over which dress to wear and pick… you are managing yourself with a handful of them,

    when i am complaining about the weather outside… you are throwing yourself in impossible terrains to keep me alive,

    when i am irritated with the less boot space in my car…, you are stuffing yourself in vehicles wherein you can hardly breath.

    when i crib over the heavy work loads i hold…. you choose to carry heavy kilograms on your shoulders,

    when i am showered with emails and “whatsapp” pings… you wait for months to get those letters,

    when i munch into ripe apples and oranges… you search for dried raisins in your pockets,

    when i tuck myself into the blanket on a chilled morning…. you show your chest at the glaciers…

    when i get scared of heights at a hill station….you hang on helicopters,

    when i choose to just complain and loath…. you are out there fighting for all of us….

    you are that Army man, you are that Naval officer, you are that Air-force pilot….you are that infantry troop, you are that artillery regiment, you are that higher soul who has the courage to stand up and give your lives for people whom you just know as an Indian.

    i bow down, i pray…. May God Bless each one of you with courage, wisdom and health….
    with sincere passionate and a mindful salute…..
    on behalf of every Indian i know and will ever know….

    Today if i am able to relate to a term called patriotism its just because of our great soldiers….the ones who are awarded our greatest civilian prizes to the ones who die silently…..

    Like

    • An emotional piece that tugs at the heart. Thank you, Annet. I wonder, though, if it is possible for a later generation of human beings to devise a way in which countries can live without needing armies and navies. Is it possible at all for the people of Earth – given there are so many of us – to live without geographical boundaries? Or do we need a cataclysmic event for that to happen? One thinks that unless a ‘reset’ button is pressed, that is not possible, what with geopolitics and military being such huge forces today.

      I don’t even know if such a society will be functional. But something to speculate about, definitely.

      Like

  23. pooja shukla says:

    I will surely participate..Thanks

    Like

  24. On 15th August, I got out of my bed around 4 pm, and making the usual grunts and groans about going to office, I got ready. The day is was mundane as any, except the locals at 4.30 pm were packed with women out with their kids to spend a rare off on a weekday. I reached office, opened my desktop to check journalists’ file stories of the day. In an international meet of delegates, the flag in front of the Indian leader was placed upside down. The reaction from opposition and ‘countrymen’ was expectantly prompt. “Shame!” “Insult!” “Why didn’t the delegate speak up?” and so forth. It was lead story of the day, and naturally went for editing to the best man in our team.
    “I’ve just forwarded you a story, check it out.” I opened my email and there it is, a 100 word narrative about the politician, involved in the fake encounter of three ‘terrorists’ who were declared innocent, organizing a black-tie dinner after becoming his party’s president. I remembered and added that he was also recently excused from appearing in court for the case that has been on for the last seven years, saying he was a busy man.
    I finished the story, and after another three crime reports and one page 3, I went down for a smoke with a colleague. The school next to our office had an eerie stillness to it. We see a couple of flags strewn on the ground where some emaciated workers were walking around, picking up plastic.
    “Gosh, don’t you miss going to school and reciting national song at the top of your lungs?” my colleague asked while making smoke rings.
    “I do miss getting a fucking holiday.”

    *PS: The story is fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons is coincidental.

    Like

    • It may be fictitious, but it seems eerily real, Nishtha. There is a school near where I live, and on 15th August, I made it a point to stop at the gate and peep in on their celebrations. The kids seemed to be happy, for getting their chocolates, for singing the anthem, for saluting, for doing the parade, for getting half a day off…but my own feelings were a little sombre. I remember thinking to myself: ‘Wait a minute, Independence Day was not this bad when we were kids.’ I felt a pang of envy at how easily the children were laughing and playing.

      Maybe it’s just the cynicism that comes with growing up? That’s the way it should be, isn’t it? Kids must laugh. Grown ups must frown. I realized I’ve become more of a frowner. And the sad part is we don’t seem to have a choice in the matter.

      Like

  25. Patriotism means different things to different people. It is such a subjective matter that there can be no absolute definition. The commonly held belief is that patriotism is the love of one’s country. But can merely the undying love for your country be considered as patriotism? If that is so, even a murderer who loves his/ her country shall qualify to be called a patriot.
    In my view, the more apt definition of a patriot is one who loves his/ her countrymen more than himself. Patriotism is the selfless love for your own countrymen. It is not just about loving your country, but living for your country. It also means living for your countrymen. For example, our freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the sake of us countrymen are the real patriots. The Kargil martyrs who laid down their lives to make their countrymen secure are the real patriots.
    People usually take pride in associating themselves with the symbols of our nationality like the national flag or the national anthem, and think of themselves as patriots. The politicians take this tokenism a step further by donning “Khadi” attire and Gandhi cap, as a mark of their perceived patriotism. Can hailing our cricket heroes in a match against Pakistan be called patriotism? Can merely hailing our country’s glorious past and rich traditions be called a patriotic act?
    There is a clear distinction between nationalism and patriotism, and these terms are often confused. If you think you love your country, but secretly nurse prejudice against a particular caste, social strata or religious community, should you be called patriotic? Patriotism is not a mere rhetoric but a value system that places your countrymen irrespective of their ethnic, socio-economic or religious background above everything. Patriotism is the supreme sense of duty towards your country’s citizens. If you are living for your countrymen every moment of your life, if your actions are aimed to uplift your people, without prejudice, and if you are with them in times of adversity betting your life to placate their fears and misery- yes, you can proudly call yourself a patriot.

    Like

    • Hi Jayant,

      Thanks for the comment. You say there is a clear distinction between nationalism and patriotism. From your post, what I got was that love for country is nationalism, whereas love for countrymen that exceeds love for oneself is patriotism. Is that right?

      I agree that most of us ‘common folk’ pledge allegiance to a symbol of patriotism – like a flag – and consider ourselves patriots. Whenever it comes to proving our patriotism with anything more than empty slogans and words, we’re found wanting.

      Like

  26. Patriotic Snapshots

    Having first bought a cup of deliciously aromatic coffee, I seated myself in the airport waiting lounge. The seats on either side of me were empty.

    Good.

    My earphones now cancelled out the gentle ambience of the airport lounge. I summoned the photos on my phone to banish the boredom.

    It was a cacophonous picture with an elephant as a backdrop. A real elephant!
    Juhi and all the cousins clumped together in a wedding selfie. The sarees, candy coloured. The pinks and greens were almost too bright.

    Swipe.

    Alfie. Always awkward and shy around his giggling Indian cousins.

    Swipe.

    The screen burst into bloom. Independence Day flower show at Lalbagh gardens. The red and yellow blooms were vivid, rich.

    Swipe.

    Floral.

    Swipe.

    Summer.

    Swipe.

    Glory.

    A tap on my elbow, “Excuse me, what is the time?” The next seat was taken by an elderly lady.
    “You have such beautiful eyes”. Blushing my thanks, I submitted to inexorable Indian curiosity.

    Yes, my eyes are a natural blue.
    My name is Lila.
    An Indian father and a Swedish mother.
    Yes, that is why I have dark skin.
    Yes, I live in Sweden. I am on my way back.
    Yes, attending a wedding in the family.

    “Those pictures are beautiful”. I swipe through all the photos with her.

    Swipe.

    Here were three of the youngest ,dressed in the colours of the Indian flag. A cute, choreographed photograph. The third toddler was bravely trying not to cry as the picture was being taken.

    “Very patriotic”. A shared chuckle.

    I am patriotic too, I thought as I let her board the plane ahead of me. Cherishing the memories of your parent’s homeland and loving the memories of the food and colour and emotions. Patriotism is love for one’s heritage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jimmy,

      I liked this as a narrative piece. It works well because the narrator, I think, is instantly likeable. She doesn’t come across as someone who is offended by the elderly lady’s intrusion, or as someone who is eager to explain herself. She appears to be comfortable in her own skin, not ashamed that she lives in Sweden and is yet patriotic towards India. Most of all, she comes across as good-natured. It’s hard not to warm to her as a reader.

      But taking the last sentence of your piece, what do you think causes one to love one’s heritage? Is it just blind habit that forms as a consequence of childhood family rituals? Or is it conscious and deliberate? Combination of both, perhaps?

      And how do we stop ourselves from letting our love for ‘our heritage’ become an automatic dislike for ‘their heritage’? Because ultimately, that’s the basis for all group conflict, isn’t it?

      Like

  27. You fling the word patriot at my face. What’s the first thing that springs up in my mind?
    Ah!
    Let us see…

    I go tumbling down the memory lanes, into times of innocence. Growing up in a small township near Patna, days like the Independence and the Republic Day were nothing short of holy. With a crumpled tenner in my pocket, I’d set out to enjoy the festivities – the school parade which I essentialized all throughout school, those cultural events – girls dressed in sequined dresses, dancing to the tunes of patriotic songs, guys jostling in the audience section with glistening faces and dreamy eyes, that emphatic speech by the principal, delivered with military gusto and teary reminiscence, followed shortly by a damnably verbose deluge of words by the chief guest whose elevated status was contested even by the fourth graders.

    When the tricolor unfurled, it was followed by a liberal shower of marigold, roses and hibiscus on the parapet; the school choir, comprised of the most mellifluous voices and a barbaric music teacher renowned for mindless caning sang the national anthem. Barring terrible weather, usually, my school always began with the morning assembly in which the national anthem, sung by the same people, was the only thing that made sense. But on those two special days, the Independence and the Republic, the anthem provoked a different sentiment altogether. Kids stood upright, no head tilts, no sideway looks, no churlish giggles, immaculate in their blanched shirts, ironed trousers and polished shoes. The more emotional kids were routinely hounded for their dewy eyes at the end of the anthem.

    And not to forget – the ribboned box of sweets distributed to every school kid, where only a select few were cavalier enough to purloin an extra box. We’d head straight to a larger stadium where kids from all the schools in the township would congregate. A platoon of the best paraders represented every school in what was a fiercely contested parade competition. To make the competition stiffer (read unconquerable), a platoon of CISF jawans took part in the parade as well. I think it’d be redundant to mention who won the laurels in that competition.

    These were also the only days when my parents gave me the wriggle room to spend the money any which way I please. Truth be told, all I got was a paltry sum of ten rupees. My parents pretty much knew how I’d part with my finances because there were only so many permutations.

    Those days of innocence are now long gone. I might not participate in a school parade any longer, or cajole my parents to increase my Independence Day allowance anymore, but I experience that same feeling of awe when the flags unfurls on the Lal Quila, followed by the national anthem.

    Like

    • Hi Sidharth,

      In response to one of the other entries, I was saying exactly this: those days of innocence are long gone. Now that I think a little more deeply about it, the days of innocence have not gone anywhere. They’re still there. I still see them on the faces of the school-going kids. It’s just that we’ve moved on. To bigger things. And maybe to sadder, more cynical things. It’s neither good nor bad. Just the way it is, I guess.

      I absolutely loved your memory of your school’s Independence Day celebration. And I agree with what you said about the chief guest. Half the time none of us knew who they were. And they kept speaking and speaking and speaking! It’s not exaggeration to say I remember NONE of my school’s Independence Day speeches. Probably for good reason 🙂

      Like

  28. INDIANS HAVE DEVELOPED BUT INDIA IS STILL DEVELOPING

    Convocation Ceremony Speech a Student

    Honourable Dignitaries, teachers and all my dear friends. I feel very fortunate to be here standing amidst you all in this top ranked engineering college in India. I remember those days when I used to study hard only to do my engineering here in this prestigious college. And now that I am an engineer today, I have to think, what’s next?

    All of my friends are either going to U.S. some to Germany, some to London. My parents and all others also suggested me to go to these places. And one after the other everyone started giving me lectures about the certain number of money I will earn if I go to any of these foreign places.

    I wasn’t very keen to go outside India but I still didn’t know the reason behind this thinking. So I once took an early morning walk so that I could think and find the answer, after all it’s about my life. And guess what? I got my answer. When I reached home, I asked everyone to be present in the living room and there I announced my answer. I told them one final time that I will work here, in the meantime I will try to crack UPSC Exams. They were in a shock but they acknowledged my decision.

    Now the most important part that I want to share with you all is, how did I find the answer to my own question. There is nature’s rule of GIVE and TAKE. When we pluck a flower or a fruit from a tree, another grows on it. For that we have to water it, take proper care and in the next season it does give us a beautiful flower or a fruit. Same rule is applicable to us.

    From the last 70 years we have heard India as a developing country. Why after so many years our country is still a developing country? It is because we have not followed the nature’s rule. What we do?

    We study here, increase our knowledge and capabilities and work for other countries. U.S. has the most number of Indians in the Non-American category of people working there. Many great Indian scientists are working for their government.

    Now just imagine how much it would have been a benefit if these people stay here and serve our country? Just think how much we are contributing to the progress of other countries?

    This is what is happening: Indians have developed but India is still developing.

    So I made my decision. I will stay here and work here in India, in India because there is something in our Tricolour, when it flutters high in the sky I too feel something inside, to do something for the tricolour, for my motherland.

    And I am sure, I will.

    Thank you

    Like

    • The one thing I loved about your entry, Rahul, was the concept of give and take. There is an old saying that it is impossible to lose without gaining, and to gain without losing. With every success in one endeavour we fail in others. With every failure in one aspect of life we succeed in others. That’s just the way of nature. You give. You take.

      With the development of infrastructure in India in recent times, there is a certain amount of reverse brain drain happening as well, so it may not be too long before we see scientists and entrepreneurs among Indians too. Stay tuned 🙂

      Like

  29. Got to know about this beautiful competition today, and I am replying this sitting in bus. Please bear some very few mistakes. I felt good after participating in this. Thank you 😊

    Like

  30. I stood on the edge of the bed, bent over the school uniform as I ironed it, my sister standing behind me with her uniform, waiting for her chance. Our whole schedule had shifted earlier than usual. Father was getting ready to drop us to the school and reach his office for the independence day celebration on time. Independence day was an awaited day, streets echoing with patriotic songs , kids selling flags on the roads, vehicles adorned with the flag, and people with a small flag pinned to their pockets crowded the parade grounds.

    This was a day when I felt the pride in being an Indian, some kind of comradery with all the Indians, us against the world.Everything around in some way or the other induced a will to do something for the country.

    But then I grew up, college and then job.No more going to watch parade with friends, no more flags. 15th august became a day when we could sleep without setting 7:00 am alarm, or if it was a Friday/Monday, plan a long weekend out. Yes, the day still made me happy, but in a very different way. What is there worth celebrating ? About this corruption that now seems to define India? Or about the riots that either happen or threatening to happen in every district? Or the fact that everyone wants a separate state, maybe one day all states might demand a separate country?

    Looking around me, mostly people stuck in IT jungle, everyone seemed to carry similar feelings.So,I extrapolated this to include the people of the whole country. So, I, utilizing the extended weekend as a opportunity to go visit friends, landed in Delhi, expecting the same no commotion, no excitement scenario as I saw around me.

    The streets were crowded, with people carrying flags. The metro stations were teeming with people, who wanted to go to Red Fort.I could see the same excitement in their eyes that I used to have 15 years ago. Was patriotism still in vogue? Was I being pessimistic? Can we still complete the work our freedom fighters set forth to achieve? The crowd on the roads certainly thinks so. All was still not lost, it was not even a century since we got our country back. It takes time to get a country with close to a billion people on its feet. It felt happy to relive a day from my childhood, to realize that I was more mature then than I am now. Patriotism was rediscovered!

    Like

    • Hi wordsinmypen,

      No kidding, I had goosebumps when I read your final paragraph. Loved the message of hope and optimism that fills your entry. And I’m glad that the average person in Delhi feels more patriotic than those in Bangalore. Maybe we should begin a ritual of our own, in our own houses. Maybe a small flag hoisting and a recital of the national anthem. Worst case: two minutes of silence. If we don’t do it on Independence Day, when will we do it?

      Thank you for sharing.

      Like

  31. Patriotism
    For me patriotism is not just love to my county, it is love to my land, my fellow-beings, my earth. I think patriotism does not just confine itself to joining army and being a soldier or to being a good citizen by casting votes and paying taxes. Though, I completely agree that they reflect one’s patriotism. But it is not limited to this.
    Patriotism is my love for this land, for its people, for earth and nature. I do feel proud and patriotic when I pay my taxes on time & when I follow traffic rules. These are duties towards one’s nation. If you are patriotic you must do them dutifully. But at the same time I also do care for my nation by not throwing garbage on road, by not using my mobile phone in petrol pumps & by minimizing my usage of polythene bags. This is also patriotism for me. It may sound weird but I feel patriotic when I don’t throw litter on roads and forbid my friends to do so. And when they agree, I feel even more proud.
    Patriotism according to me is not just becoming a soldier and fighting for your nation or arguing with someone who is criticizing your nation. It is playing your part well in maintaining the dignity of your nation. And that includes all such acts that go unnoticed in our daily life – from switching off lights and fans when not in use to respecting elders and women, from getting your vehicle regularly serviced so that they does not cause pollution to not discriminating against anyone because of their class, language or looks. For me one who is being good to his parents & society, just to his job & caring to his environment & nature is patriotic.

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    • I agree, Ruchi. After all, we have so many countries, but we all have only one planet. Screw it up once and we get no second chances. Even if all the countries in the world were to be demolished today, we could draw new lines in the sand, make new rules, start over. With the planet and its atmosphere, there are no new lines, no new rules, no starting over. So I think this is a higher form of patriotism, showing a sense of duty to humanity itself – because only by taking care of Earth and her resources can we hope for a safe future.

      Thanks for raising this point 🙂

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  32. “I am standing” Pooja says at start of National Anthem and keeps silent till the Anthem aired on TV finishes.
    I stand beside her, and kept my agenda aside.

    Well, as I write this I feel unsure about whether we all love our country. But, a generalised statement would be “yes, we all love our country” and this translates into being a ‘patriot’. I wonder at this. What are the attributes of ‘Love’ towards one’s country. There are many: like not dirtying public property or simply preserving/respecting something that belongs to a Nation. Often, we see things not in the way they are talked about. Thus, not everyone loves their country.

    I wonder whether a separate mental faculty or a higher level of understanding or educational aptitude is required in order to be a patriot/ to love one’s own country.

    For me, Pooja is a patriot is one way, because I see her acts aligned to the ‘definition’ of patriot. Also, a soldier fighting to safeguard his nation is a patriot. And, I feel patriotism for the sake of it is of lesser importance than the feeling and understanding of patriotism itself.

    Like

    • Hi Bikash,

      Long time! It’s great to connect with you again here. Hope you’re doing well. I agree with you that a higher level of understanding is required to be a patriot in the deepest sense. We still don’t understand that public property is actually our property, that when we litter our streets (or the empty plot of land next to our apartment complex), it is akin to littering our own houses. The same with burning buses and stopping traffic and so on that we do in the name of protest.

      Even the educated don’t get it. So it’s a continuous, conscious struggle to pull up civic sense to where it needs to be. Having lived in an overseas country for an extended period of time, India is terribly lacking in civic sense. I appreciate the reasons for it being that way, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything about it.

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  33. By the Darwin Theory of evolution, Survival of the Fittest, humans compete with each other and its own species to survive and progress. This involves safeguarding oneself and competing against others to progress. Weighing the gains one get over sharing things with its competitors than doing it by oneself, this survival game progresses.
    When a child is born, it is protected by its parents, till it reaches a stage for it to survive on its own. Its the paternal and maternal instincts which safeguard it. But as it grows, not only does it depend on oneself and its parents but for many activities, on others thus becoming a social being.
    What are the dependency/benefits? Lets assume a day to day routine of every person. Instead of growing food for oneself in a garden, its better if all the gardens are grouped and grown in a field and finally sharing it together. Instead of having to travel by foot, share a common road. However, sharing a common road which I travel daily is more beneficial than of sharing a road which I am going to take once or twice in a year. So I would pay more money to build roads near my house or office [either from my own pocket or through taxes to government] than to road constructed in US which I may use while on a tour. This analogy could very well be associated with products, good manufactured, the work one does.
    The more things one shares with others, the more one feels he is part of the group. In that sense, a animal in its herd is protected by its own tribe with which it shares more. But how to avoid individuals who would try to take advantage of the system and get a free ride over the others. Example like people who do not work but want to get the benefit of the food produced in the shared field or the other extreme, people who are very capable and do not want to share their benefit with others. Example like landlords who can use machines to produce more than using people. So to bring in moderation and enforce the feeling of belonging to the tribe, villages/kingdoms/state etc would have come into existence.
    This way you are made to feel that you are not alone and in trouble, have group to help you, a group to stand for you. However what would you pay back? Your loyalty. You do the same when someone else person is in trouble. This could be as simple as, standing up for your neighbor as a association, when another neighbor puts garbage in his door step. To working as a nation to increases the GDP. Joining the army and fight for the nations safety. Sacrifice.
    Patriotism. It is a feeling of belonging to a group, region, tribe, village, town, state or country. When you meet people of your own, you get a feeling of being safe, being happy, being together, celebration, oneness.
    This feeling of Patriotism grows stronger with more closer you feel, the lesser the distance between each others, the more the influence one has on each individual. Initial days the physical distance between tribes had been a major factor in deciding this closeness. A century ago, any major event in US like the Great depression did not have any influence on a individual in India. But the same could not be said with the subprime mortgage crisis. It took some 50 odd years, for Telephone service to start in India (1920-30) after it had started in US(1870-80) but an Apple IPhone gets shipped the next day to India today. Keeping this progression, Patriotism, started as small tribes, grew to villages, kingdoms, state, and as a country.
    This distance could be in the way one talks with each other like language, belief systems like religion. This distance has been more physical till date. People living in chennai feel close to India than to US. But with these distance shrinking, thanks to the internet, unlike the earlier philosophy of loyalty to a particular tribe could or would change. with markets and economics becoming global, the influence of things happening in US affects many than it use to affect some 10-15 years earlier. The loyalty to one’s own nation may slowly shift to loyalty to one’s own world. We could see everyone living on earth having influence on every other person on earth.
    But who would we be competing with to survive and progress in the future? Probably the competition would now shift across planets in the future. So the next big war would be a Galaxy War One instead of a World War Three 😉

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    • I agree with most of what you say here, Nitthilan. One other thing that we should be wary of is the emergence of brands. Today, with geographical boundaries and effects being reduced, loyalty to ‘concepts’ and ‘brands’ and ‘styles’ is on the rise. For instance, many of my friends watch Premier League football, and buy merchandise of their favourite franchises. These are people who have never been to England, and who know nothing of how life is in – say – Chelsea or Manchester United. And yet they feel ‘loyal’ to it. Why? Because there is some abstract ‘idea’ that their franchise stands that appeals to them.

      Same thing with brands. Apple. Microsoft. Google. Nike. Amazon. Warfare is now extensively carried out in the economic space, with trade sanctions and what not. Is it inconceivable that some time in the future, if the stakes are high enough, there will be a full-scale war between Applers and Microsofters? I don’t think so.

      Still a way to go before we have an intergalactic war, though 🙂

      Like

  34. It was not what I had signed up for, but it was more than I could ever ask. Sixteen years of solitude and injustice decimated by a single spark of love, and today that fire was to consume me, literally. I am sporting a smile on my face,after Allah knows when. I have even dared to look up,look around and see people in the eye, albeit for a moment till they feign indifference and look away. Nobody likes guys with beards!
    I walk through the thousand Americans arousing no more suspicion than a regular “Paki”. I scan the terrain for a point of vantage and sneak up on my unsuspecting victims. The moment of reckoning, the day of judgement has arrived; I have rehearsed a 100 times and trained a 1000 hours for this brief moment.I tighten my hold on the detonator in my pocket, and reach for the trigger. Just then it hit me,I wasnt prepared for this, slowing down of time-my entire life flashing in front of my eyes.
    I saw myself in Kabul on that ill-fated day when my father was pinned down and run over by an American battle tank.I saw his teary quivering eyes anchored in mine, apologetically ashamed of his wretched plight.Once a man of honour, he was now on his knees with his hands stretched begging for one last wish-his son to be taken away from the scene. No son should have to watch his hero fall. They dint just kill him,they destroyed him. I looked at his pulverized bloody corpse, and I know that much of me died with him and what little was left was broken
    A little girls pulls my tee and jolts me back to reality. She looks at me, genuinely concerned. She asks me to bend, I oblige. She reaches for my face and wipes my tears with her little hands; I hadnt even realized I was crying. She draws her last chocolate from her pocket, and thrusts it into my hand.”Happy?” she asks with a toothy grin. I take the chocolate and walk away, lest I cry again.
    I am not clutching my detonator any more, I am holding on to a chocolate. Enough people have been killed and damned in this vicious cycle on vengeance, it will have to end with me. I unwrap the chocolate, take a bite and stroll away from the crowd. I fix myself at a secluded spot and devour
    my chocolate as I look at the brilliant blue sky for one last time. My death will be in solitude, much like the rest of my life.A lifetime of quietude avenged by a deafening explosion. I will have my vengeance in forgiveness, and my salvation in annihilation.

    Like

    • Beautiful piece. I love the imagery, the balance, the restrained nature of narration. And also the theme. The biggest problem with violence as a solution is that it has an extremely long memory. If we look at the great conflicts of our age (Israel-Palestine, Singhala-Tamil, India-Pakistan), they carry on over generations. Sons avenging father’s deaths, granddaughters avenging grandfathers’ deaths. Once the balance of power shifts, revenge-seekers come out and unleash a fresh torrent of death.

      In contrast, look at Indo-Britain relationships. After perhaps what was the most long-drawn-out battle for Independence, we became allies. Today we do business with each other. At least we’re not out there baying for the each other’s blood. Ultimately, that’s the power of peace and non-violence. It breaks the vicious circle you refer to in the post.

      Thanks, Ashish. Really enjoyed reading this.

      Like

  35. Aww.. Shoot missed the deadline.. I can never remember dates and names… Anyways, here is my take on Patriotism. Do give me a mouthful…

    Patriot
    He was seated on a Neelkamal plastic chair and a makeup man was giving him a touch-up before the interview. The light-men did their work like they were on a timer. A lady reporter was brushing her hair getting ready for the shoot. The cameraman adjusted the settings on his camera to suit the light of dawn. Everyone did their job meticulously as if their career depended on the assignment. He seemed uncomfortable at the charade. He just wanted to get back to his life. He was counting minutes and couldn’t wait for it to begin and to end.
    The reporter said, ‘Congratulations Mr. Jyothir Dham Sahay for receiving the citizen of the year award. How does it feel?’
    ‘Thank you. I feel nothing.’
    ‘No joy? Why not Mr Sahay?’ she asked with eyes wide.
    ‘I did what is right of me and solely for my pleasure.’ He paused and said, ‘I got what I set out for. I need nothing else.’
    ‘What is that?’
    ‘To see smiles on as many people’s faces as I could humanly see.’
    ‘Quite profound Mr. Sahay’ came her honest appreciation.
    Tell us about your Meals-on-wheels Sir. How did it all start?
    ‘I worked 15 years as a chef in 5 star hotels around the world. The one thing I detested about them is the wastage of food. I found the same thing in India when I returned. On one-hand, was happy that India become an affluent nation while the same led to colossal wastage of everything including food. So I came up with a plan to collect the left-over food from the hotels in the city after midnight and distribute it to the homeless. And slowly, we started receiving donations and we expanded and grew to make it a nation-wide campaign.’
    ‘Who inspired you to do all this?’
    ‘My father’s words – Jyothir Dham means abode of light. You have to make yourself one such that it spreads over the entire nation. And remember, volunteering is patriotism in action.’
    ***
    Sorry a little over the word count. 🙂

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    • That’s okay, Usha. Better late than never! This reminded me of a post I wrote on these pages about wastage of food, and how the culture of wastage is creeping slowly into India as well. I think the main reason why people don’t volunteer is that they don’t see the ‘big change’ that they expect to cause in society. One thing I think we should do before we begin to volunteer is to calibrate our expectations downwards. Accept that we will probably only touch thirty or forty lives in a year of volunteering, if that. And that’s okay. I think many people stop volunteering after a while because it doesn’t fulfill their expectations of how much change they thought they will bring about.

      Starting small is okay. Causing a small change is also okay. If all of us are content to cause small changes, and if all of us volunteer with low to zero expectations, then I’m sure big changes will happen with time. What do you think?

      Thanks for sharing, Usha! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree completely with your point. But I find it very hard to get people to get started. As I have noticed (in my work for 35 yrs) that humans are animals by habit.. and it just takes a little to get them motivated to make a beginning.. and I always do my share wwhich ever country or town I live in.. Thanks for the appreciation. Cheers n tc. Usha

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