Tuesday, August 14, 2007

cheap patriotism

Often, we use words with little care, however behind that unscrupulous use of words, there is an underlying emotion (or mental picture so to say..) that says a lot. eg. We always hear "India's Freedom Struggle" and "American War of Independence". I'd like to point to somewhat subtle yet very obvious negative connotation associated with words "struggle" as opposed to "war", "struggle" is a defensive effort, where as "war" conveys agression, confidence. Similarly for "freedom" and "independence". "Independence" implies a self belief, confidence where as "freedom" looks parallel to be freed from the prison say. It is a tad too pessimistic to be speaking of such things on the occassion of 60th Independence Day. But off late I have started getting peeved off on the occassion of the "national festivals" and associated display of "cheap patriotism".

Coming back to what I call "cheap patriotism", it is far easier to shout slogans of "वन्दे मातरम्‌" and "जय हिन्द" etc. but isn't that really cheap, cheap as in cost associated with it and the value it delivers. It takes no efforts to shout a few slogans, so there is actually no cost associated with it and ditto for value (the slogans don't feed the hungry next door neighbour, the slogans don't patchup the pot holes on the road, the slogans don't generate energy, the slogans don't give the deserving child an opportunity to learn and explore). But it takes efforts to build roads, supply electricity and making sure every child gets a free and compulsory primary education. There is a cost and value to it, but alas it also requires, application, commitment and enormous amount of hard work and no wonder why everyone is so apathetic about it.

Honestly, very very honestly I am not proud about India. Come on, it takes heart and complete lack of common sense to be proud of the roads on which we drive, the electricity which we use, the education that we get and the perpetual incompetence that we have to deal with while receiving any "service". Or you want me to be proud of our newly elected "president"?. Honestly I don't have the heart and not yet completely devoid of common sense.

Never mind, I am one of those doom mongerers who never see a positive side in anything. No I don't believe in the "great India Story", ofcourse I must admit there are pockets of greatness still there (eg. Amul, Baba Amte, Dr. Swaminathan), but miniscule compared to the juggernaut of incompetence, mediocracy and lack of values.

Okay finally let me join the bandwagon of cheap patriotism "जय हिन्द!!"

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