What does it mean to be a patriotic Indian?
Within India we live in a time when patriotism is constantly questioned. I affirm that patriotism is not some ultra-nationalism to be fearful of but a love one shows for his/her country, a devotion to the welfare of the country, not the belief that you should applaud those wishing its dismantlement and destruction in perpetuity.
In a secular country like India patriotism is what has made all of us united and to fight against the British for freedom but importantly and currently against terror sponsored by Pakistan and proxies. It means we are willing to serve the country expecting nothing back and to protect the motherland with one’s own blood, fostered through a love and respect for that motherland.
Patriotism is not allowing your country to be slandered through the prism of ‘freedom of speech’. And those same people who demand “freedom of speech” and support terrorists, have never raised their voice for the 300,000 Kashmiri Hindus murdered or made refugees.
Those slamming Narendra Modi and the BJP need to understand this: the BJP is a wonderful, progressive party that is transforming India for the better.
When people are shouting slogans asking for the destruction of India, what is the Indian government supposed to do? Award them with Bharat Ratnas (the highest civilian honour)?
We are a secular nation with secular values, despite those propagating against us or the Hindu religion. Secondly, one of the core ideas of Hinduism is to allow other religions and ways of life to co-exist. People who feel repulsed by Hindutva need to take some time off to read up about what it stands for. The Vedas (Hindu religious texts) state without any ambiguity that the rites and rituals are valid only in Bharat Punya Bhoomi (India), that once one crosses the seven seas (meaning goes abroad), one should follow the rules and customs of the new host country.
In essence from a 21st century perspective what the religion implies is that one’s obligations to the state supersede those to one’s spiritual beliefs. If you are a citizen of a country, you are first and foremost to be a patriot of that country.
Hindutva is merely another way of putting your country first regardless of religion. It does not ask you go to a temple to worship. It does not say non Hindus don’t have a place in India. A famous saying by JFK is useful to consider in this regard – “ask not what your country has done for you, but do whatever you can for your country”.
Unfortunately, some poor communicators (from RSS et al) have muddied the discourse and confused many. I have seen people who are ready to die for the country . I have seen kids talk with pride, full of vitality and energy when they speak on Republic day and Independence day . I have even seen people speaking ill about this great land as well . So we have both sets of people .
Mahatma Gandhi infused the patriotic fervour among the Indians, as a result of which, we gained freedom from British rule. Even today, there is a need for patriotic thought among Indians and the BJP and Modi represent that.
A true patriot cannot be narrow minded, he/she is a citzen of the world as a whole who will never accept the tarring of his home country and its history by those who spout tyranny in the name of secularism.
“Bharath maata ki Jai”