Patriotism

Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargaadapi Gareeyasi

I read this adage in some blog yesterday, I remembered hearing this during my school days. What I did not know was that Rama told this to his brother Lakshmana, when they saw Lanka full of gold. This quote had definitely seemed very "inspirational" when I was a kid, but now that I question a lot of things, this sentence no longer holds the same impact for me.

The good thing about "Janani" is that its not abstract :) But what was Rama referring to when he said "Janmabhoomi"? Was he referring to the city of Ayodhya? Or the entire Kosala kingdom? Does his "Janmabhoomi" change with conquering and relinquishing certain portions of the land? Tough to answer!

I somehow cannot admit that the very earlier freedom fighters were actually the "freedom fighters of India". No, I am not questioning their commitment - but its just that most of them fought for "their kingdom". I am not sure how many of them would have cared for anything happening outside their kingdom. Had the states not been formed after Indian Independence and we still belonged to the Mysore Presidency, our loyalty would remain to the Mysore Presidency. We should just be proud of Rahul Dravid and anyone here cheering for Sourav Ganguly would be called unpatriotic! Seems strange, right? The quote from George Jean Nathan seems so meaningful - "Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles."!

Actually I love my country. But, I dont walk around making statements like we are the greatest country in the world (Bernard Shaw has said beautifully "Patriotism is the conviction that your country is superior to all others because you were born in it.") And there are things that I like about my country and there are some I despise. Assuming there are rebirths, you will not find me making a statement like I want to be born here in all my rebirths. I dont mind, in fact I would want to be born in different countries. I think its the best way to see the world for those who cannot afford air tickets! Does talking like this make me any less patriotic than my chest-thumping fellow countrymen? I dont know!

If this post seems rude, I am sorry folks - that was absolutely unintentional. I think very objectively. I love questioning things. I try to look everything from different perspectives. But, I love my country, in my own peculiar way.

Happy Independence Day!

P.S: I also love this outrageously funny statement from Orson Welles - "Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch." :D

12 Comments:

  1. Soumia said...
    I guess Orson Wells Statement summed up ur objective thoughts:)
    Soumia said...
    I guess Orson Wells Statement summed up ur objective thoughts:)
    krupa said...
    I think Patriotism is not just about being born in some particular country and so loving it.
    The feeling stems from that country being a part of who you are..being entwined in all your memories..and thats why you end up loving it.

    You grow up in a country...a lot of things U believe in...the way you got to grow up...is in a way related to that country.So you end up loving that country.

    I understand your point of view.I sometimes feel the same way.
    And loved what Orson Welles had to say :)
    mouna said...
    superb quotes :)
    loved bernard shaw's the most!
    Sunil said...
    Nice posts, I liked the barber one.I dont know much about patriotism and all, Most of the days patriotism for me is to think of all the possible ways by which i can smuggle as many wills cigarettes out of India.

    Kidding apart, I agree largely with krupa, but also I have felt that your bonding with your country is oen of those things which is beyond reason, like your love to your mother.

    Thats the only explanation why I supported India in 2003 WC finals, despite being fully aware they would get slaughtered. But since then I have known better.
    Bit Hawk said...
    @soumia
    Yes, must admit I am a bit too selfish. And I can skip breakfast or dinner, but definitely not lunch!

    @krupa
    Agree completely. I am as such patriotic, but I am not very expressive about it I guess!

    @mouna
    Thats one of my most favorite quotes as well :D

    @sunil
    Loved the wills cigarette logic!
    Directionless Wanderer said...
    Once again a different, fresh perspective on an issue where people tend to be emotional & lose objectivity - hats off to you for maintaining the neutral perspective

    As far as patriotism is concerned, I think its part of the human psyche that longs for a sense of belonging .... wherever you may be, you wish to connect with an icon, an idea or an identity, so that you are identified/tagged around the world by that identifier.

    And I completely agree that we must not be chest-beating & perhaps glorifying the efforts of many, some of whom may not have had the intention of having a unified, free India as we see it now.

    And hey, lastly - tremendous quotations! .... where do you get 'em? .... Orson Wells had an audacious sense of humour :D
    Peridot said...
    Thats a nice line..
    parijata said...
    Very, very well written. And amazing quotes!
    The other day we (R and I) were discussing the same thing, and (I think I have mentioned this somewhere) R said that patriotism was a function of our ego, and nothing more. It was harsh, putting it that way, but it made so much sense that I really had to agree!
    Anonymous said...
    Why would cheering for Ganguly seem strange had incase states not formed... Do we cheer for pakistan, when there is a match between india and pakistan?

    -i
    Bit Hawk said...
    @directionless wanderer
    Thanks for visiting my blog! I keep saving all the nice quotes I hear. Have got a big collection now and I remember most too :)

    @Peridot
    Thanks!

    @parijata
    Practically speaking, patriotism is definitely a function of our ego. And there is nothing wrong with that per se, as we are what we are because of where we are!

    @'i'
    If India was not a big country and we were just provinces, we would not be cheering for Ganguly in the first place. We would not consider him one of "ours". And if there were no partition, we would have been proudly telling that our country produced the greatest left arm bowler (Wasim Akram). So, the whole notion of "we", "our people" seemed strange to me!
    Which Main? What Cross? said...
    Exactly my thoughts!

    And thank u for a link to my photoblog!

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