Are We Showing Our Love For Our Country Or Showing Off?
Today, we celebrate the 72nd Republic Day of India. This year the celebrations and the paraphernalia related to it are low-key due to the COVID situation. Many of us become ‘very patriotic’ around two events every year – Republic Day & Independence Day. Of course, this patriotism is at its peak when India plays international cricket (or any other sport which is fast gaining popularity). There are two things that I want to talk about today through this post – one, the improper use of the national tri-color and the second, of being patriotic through actions throughout the year and not just on these days.
Every year around Republic Day & Independence Day, the sales of our tri-color increases. The sales of plastic flags, badges, dashboard knickknacks, magnets, balloons, etc., shoot through the roof. These are sold in shops, online, and by peddlers at every traffic signal. This craze (seen in the last 10-12 years) is because of the change in how we have started celebrating any event with flamboyance, mainly for sharing on social media. From theme days in offices and get-togethers amongst family & friends, we utilize every opportunity to splash the tri-color everywhere. But did you know that all these flags that are sold in shops and streets are not authorized ones? Yes, there is a specific color code, ratio, material, stitch that is to be used in the Indian flag, and only one company (Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha) in a tiny village in Karnataka is authorized to make & sell them. Interestingly, mainly women from the village make these flags. I found a very nice video on KKGSS and the Indian National Flag, which I am sharing at the end of this post.
Coming back to the unauthorized flags and other paraphernalia, what do we do with these once the celebrations are done? Sadly, we don’t store them for re-use. This may be because of the low price that we pay, so we don’t feel the need to store it safely for re-use. Or it could be because of the low quality of the product which means it is good for only one or two uses. How many of us take the effort to dispose of these correctly, giving it the respect that a national symbol or tri-color deserves? The flags are littered on the ground, thrown in the garbage, or even torn. Parents, who buy these flags for their kids, must ensure that they also teach the importance of what the flags mean and to dispose of them respectfully. For me, that is how you show your patriotism and teach others to respect your country and its symbols.
So what does being patriotic mean? Does it only mean that on a particular day we dress up & decorate our surroundings in the tri-colors, wave flags, or sing songs praising our country? Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy doing all of these as well in the spirit of participation. But I feel that patriotism needs to become a way of life, not just displayed on these special days. There are many ways that we can love and respect our country. Little things we do every day can also reflect our patriotism.
Keeping Our Surroundings Clean
When we take so much care to keep our home clean, why do we litter outside? When we admire other countries and follow their rules, why can’t we do the same here as well? Let us do our bit and ensure that we correctly dispose of waste and not litter our roads, parks, and beaches. It is not only aesthetically pleasing to see a clean environment but it is healthy as well.
Each of us have certain responsibilities as citizens of India. Be it going out to vote on election day, paying our taxes on time, or declaring our income. Many of us still choose to not register ourselves as voters or prefer to take a vacation on D-day. Many look for ways to not declare money or pay taxes, which is very essential to build our infrastructure. Can we pledge to do our part in helping India’s growth without being cynical?
Respecting The Laws
Rules are made for a reason. If everybody did as they pleased, the world would become a very chaotic place. Be it jumping a signal, driving after a few drinks, or something more serious – remember every violation of a rule is unpatriotic.
Avoid Rumour Mongering
Rumors are started for one reason only – to spread malice. In this digital age, many of us don’t bother to validate the message and simply forward it because it is easy to share. We feel we have done our ‘duty’ by sharing or stating a disclaimer ‘forwarded as received’. Some of these are deterrent to government initiatives and some are specifically made to spread fear and unrest by anti-social elements. So pause for a second and think before you spread the message.
Showing Our Support To The Government
We are a fickle lot – on one hand, we crib that the government doesn’t do anything for us. But on the other hand, when initiatives are taken we view them with suspicion and criticize. The elected representative may not be one of your choice. But he/she is the one who was voted in by the majority of your fellow country-men/women. While we can disagree with their decisions, avoid sullying them publicly on international or social media platforms as you are also damaging the reputation of your country. Instead, raise your grievance in the right forum for resolution.
There are many other simple things like these we can do to show our patriotism. What do you do to show your love for your country? Do write to me in the comments below.
And before I go, here is the beautiful documentary that I promised about the Indian tri-color. Hope you enjoy it.