Exactly one year ago, I was in Pune writing a different theme article on the occasion of Republic day, here in 2016, I’m sitting in my hostel room thinking of a completely different perspective of the same theme. This year’s 26th January began at midnight in a library’s reading room, where I was watching funny stuff on YouTube. I began watching at 9.30pm and saying just one more video, it was 12.15. I hurried my way back to my room and slept around 12.30.
I couldn’t resist myself from taking this from “Man of Steel”, but it is a stellar line with relevance to one’s nationalism!
The actual Republic day began at 7.30 in the morning. As I put my toothbrush, towel, soiled clothes into my bucket, I realized that at this time last year, I was sleeping in my cozy bed back home, and here I’m this year readying myself up before anybody else for a clean hostel bathroom. I didn’t pay much attention to the activities at hand- washing clothes, brushing teeth, bathing, but I was lost thinking about my country India, and what I was doing for her on this patriotic day. I was being a youth, educating myself and sustaining myself on my own scholarship which I earned by my own merit, and not deviating from the path of hard work. A story of an ideal Indian youth, I was doing my bit for my country indirectly, I was keeping my hostel premise (including my room) clean, and being civil in foreign place. My thought process was briefly interrupted by an empty Lays packet which lay in front of room’s door. It must have being thrown from above or maybe someone from the same floor threw it. I calmly pick up the packet and throw in the dustbin which is present on a right turn away from my room. Thoughts regarding lack of civic sense of head explode in my head. Out of nowhere a Trojan thought emerges – What does my country do for me? Should my country do something for me or it is just a one way street- me doing something for the country?!
This suddenly reminded me of the story my dad narrated to me, when I was home during vacation. We were on our way back from vacation in a car at night and were distressed by the way people drove their cars on the road and general lack of empathy they exhibited. The story is recent one, the Japanese government was surveying train station across the country, as they wanted to find the usability of each station by people. They found out that there was one particular station, which was the least commuted by people, and they marked this station for dismantling. In all this scheming, the government officials heard news about a little girl who frequently used the station to go to her school, which was in a nearby town. Moreover, train was the only way by which the girl was going to her school every day. Dismantling the station would disrupt the girl’s education, so the government officials decide that they would leave the station as it is, until the girl completed her education. This was an exceptional example of a country caring for her citizens, it was country doing something for its people. I rarely see such an example in India. Patriotism is a two way street, just like any other relationship- friendship between two people, family relations, it requires efforts from both ends. It is just not enough to be good citizens of a nation, the nation should also treat its citizens with dignity and respect. Lack of civic sense in public space of people, highlight only one thing- bad citizens. How can such people be patriotic for its nation?? Playing patriotic songs on loudspeakers on occasion of Republic and Independence day is just not enough, doing this illuminates how superficial our love is for our country. Being good citizens is NOT enough for the progress on our nation, the nation should also display examples of inspiration, nationalism, otherwise it generates a new class of citizens- Uninspired Patriots.
Happy 67th Republic day to everyone.