The meaning of patriotism is different for an autocratic country than a democratic one. In autocracy, the lines between the country and the person ruling over it blurs. Patriotism for the country, in this case, translates into patriotism for that person. However, patriotism assumes a different connotation in a democracy, where the people of the country elect their government and where the government is accountable to the people. Love for the country, in this case, might not converge with love for the government.
The value of patriotism demands that the citizens love their country, remain loyal and committed to the development of the country. It is a feeling that should reside in the hearts of all the citizens of a country at all times. Whether this feeling of love, loyalty and commitment towards one’s country reflect on the government, depends on its functioning and the credibility that the government enjoys among the citizens. An inefficient, unpopular government will never be able to win the trust, love and support of the citizens.
By definition, patriotism is a feeling that fills a person’s heart with pride when he/she thinks of the nation; it’s a feeling which results from a sense of belongingness to one’s country. It binds people from diverse communities, religions and races together and gives them a sense of belonging, a sense of being rooted. The feeling is most strongly visible in the soldiers who sacrifice their lives for their countries. Though the common man might never get an opportunity to make such sacrifices for the country, the feeling of patriotism lingers in his heart forever, making him pledge his devotion to his/her country.
Elected governments in a democracy are under constant scrutiny and, therefore, need to keep working efficiently for the welfare of the people. The government too needs to be patriotic and be guided solely by the interests of the country. As long as it does so, it will enjoy the support of the people of the country.
The citizens of a country are under a moral obligation to harbour patriotic feelings towards their country. No such obligation commands them to support the government of their country if it does not deserve their support. They are free to express their disapproval and voice their opinions against the government. But to be disloyal or hate one’s country will amount to betrayal.
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This is a post written by my son Aniruddh. He is studying in 9th Standard in Mysore. He plays the tabla, loves to watch movies and is passionately devoted to everything Indian.
There are some questions that have definite answers and some questions with infinite answers. These questions with infinite answers make you think, consult, consider and conclude. One such question that I have been asked many times is “What does it mean to be a patriotic Indian?”
Patriotism is the love one shows for his country or ones devotion to the welfare of his country. A patriot is one who refers to his country as his mother and serves this mother in every way possible. According to me, patriotism is an emotion just like happiness, sadness, love and anger.
Some philosophers have believed in the goodness of patriotism whereas some have referred to it as an evil. A philosopher named Leo Wiener wrote the following lines in his article titled ‘Patriotism or Peace?’: “Patriotism cannot be good. What produces war is the desire for an exclusive good for one’s own nation – that is called patriotism. And so to abolish war, it is necessary to abolish patriotism, and to abolish patriotism, it is necessary first to become convinced that it is an evil”. Whereas another philosopher from Czechoslovakia wrote the following lines in a local newspaper: “The most extraordinary positive development in Czechoslovakia since its creation in 1918 is the growth of patriotism among its young students and soldiers”.
So, what do I think about patriotism? What does it mean to me to be a patriotic Indian?
I being an Indian citizen believe in goodness of patriotism because in a secular country like India it was patriotism that made all of us united and fight against the British for freedom. To me patriotism means to be willing to serve the country expecting nothing back from the country. It means to be willing to protect the motherland with one’s own blood. It means to be proud that I am an Indian. Most importantly, it means to love and respect the motherland.
After this, another question arises in my mind – ‘Am I a patriotic Indian?’ For this my answer is ‘yes’. I have an infinite amount of love and respect for my country. I am willing to protect the country with my blood like the soldiers who fought the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-China wars. Most importantly, I am proud to be an Indian.
“Bharath maatha ki Jai”
– Aniruddh Balasubramaniam