Patriotism for today's India
On 15th August, 2008, it will be 61 years since we became Independent. It is a time to reflect on how to carry forward our country. To carry forward a country we need to be patriotic. What does it take to be patriotic in today’s India? You don’t have to be a Mahatama Gandhi and lead people to Freedom. You don’t have to be a Subash Chandra Bose and build an army to uproot the British Rule. You don’t have to be a Bhagath Singh and go to the gallows at the tender age of 23. Our forefathers have done all these and much more patriotic acts to ensure that we rule ourselves and decide our futures. All that we have to do is ensure that we don’t fool ourselves in the name of freedom, smartness and don’t end up with another freedom struggle on our hands. Here is what I believe is could be considered as acts of patriotism in India today:-
a.Election – Cast your vote every time an election is held. Unfortunately most of the educated don’t cast their votes and later crib about non-existent Government. Atleast go and vote for the candidate who will perform despite being corrupt.
b. Corruption – Avoid paying bribes wherever possible. If the work is not head going, try to get it done without paying bribe and if anybody demands a bribe use the channels available to complain about corruption. If every Indian graduate spends Rs.5 worth postage stamp and lodges one complaint against corruption every year, it will mean yearly 10 crores complaints. No Government/Politician/Bureaucrat however thick skinned they may be can ever ignore such a mass public movement and will straighten up their tails.
c.Taxes – Salaried employees have no option of not paying tax. It amuses me that there are only 30 million tax payers in this country. Avoid transactions with establishments which defraud on tax. It maybe your friendly grocer or even a doctor. Never do a business transaction without a proper bill. Question the municipal authorities under the RTI Act, how the tax paid by you is being utilized?
d.Crime – We are not super human beings to fight crime head on but can definitely do the simple task of writing an anonymous letter to the cops about criminal activities in our neighborhoods. www.ksp.gov.in (website of Karnataka Police) provides for lodging anonymous complaints online. Here again more the number of complaints, the system will straighten up itself. After all how many people can you suppress or threaten?
e.Constitutional Rights – Know the basics of our Constitution atleast what are the fundamental rights and duties of a citizen?
f.National Symbols – Respect our national symbols. We all stand up when our religious prayers are said but some of them sit with legs crossed when the National Anthem is played. Please stand up when the National Anthem is played and teach it to the next generation also. Never encourage jokes on our National Leaders and symbols. My heart bleeds when I see the tri-color in the gutter a few days after Independence Day or Republic Day.
g.Communal harmony – Don’t listen to the devise sermons, neither of the men in saffron nor of the men in green. Rise above regional interests. People from another state are not outsiders and learn to respect the state in which you find your living. We can only prosper together and never by fighting with one another. Never be even remotely sympathetic to terrorist methods even if they don’t belong to our country.
h.Environment – We are heading towards serious problems on the global warming front. Try to protect and foster the trees which are planted on the roadside. Try to walk small distances and use public transport whenever feasible.
i.Civic and social sense – Scorn friends and families who hoard gold; take bribes; cheat on their taxes; promote sectarianism; discriminate the girl child; defecate in public places; encroach public property; spread superstition; support strikes and bandhs.
j.Traffic – with increased urbanization, traffic continues to grow. The roads and public transport will grow but not endlessly. It is a national shame to see the way we break traffic rules. Breaking traffic rules and getting away with it is considered a part of smartness. Obey traffic rules even when a cop is not over looking you.
What I have stated above may seem very simplistic and not invoking the usual rhetoric we associate ourselves when it comes to being Patriotic. Today’s reality is that this country wants awakened citizens to move forward and it is in this sphere where we may have to display our patriotism. The hard-work has been done by our forefathers. On 15th August when the Prime Ministers hoist’s the tri-color and the National Anthem is sung, please remember to stand up and salute.