Allowing the mind to ponder over the terms Earth in general and one’s country in particular alongside the term mother rings sentimental bells sending those who love both entities into raptures. The rest, who are focussed on their self-centred agenda sans sentiment are dubbed as uncivilised. Loyalty to one’s motherland, triggered by attachment driven by factors of ethnicity, culture, political influence, historical aspects is debated in knowledgeable circles enlarging the meaning of nationalism as deshabhakthi, a virtue facing threat of vanishing as days pass. The synonymous term patriotism has emerged as a central point in the speeches delivered nowadays by the top brass in the country’s Central government, led by the Prime Minister himself, urging the people of the nation to be conscious of their duties, uprightness, scrupulousness, integrity, trustworthiness and, last but not the least, to be supportive of the government in implementing the many pro-people programmes. The fact that the response of the citizens is lukewarm is disappointing given the pretensions to patriotism by well-marked leaders in society and their well-marked followers pursuing unjustified causes.
The sense of love for the country on the part of the land’s people at large, the heart and soul of patriotism as it were, being the sheet anchor of loyalty and devotion to the nation, the two features of nationalism have all got fractured in the country, thanks to the poor public image of the netas, barring exceptions, which is their own doing. The idiom yathaa raja, thathaa praja (As is the King, so are the subjects) eminently suits the present scenario in the land.
Eric Arthur Blair, the English novelist, journalist and critic, better known by his pen name George Orwell (1903-1950) has this to say: “Patriotism is devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige…” While granting that the country hosts a majority of its citizens who adhere to the desirable ways of life, particularly incorruptibility and love for their land, the minority in the population who openly display their disorderly ways of life are hurdles in the nation’s path of progress.
The country’s Apex Court has only made matters relating to patriotism worse by its verdict last week that people don’t need to stand up in cinema halls to prove their patriotism and cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves. By asking the Centre to amend the related rules relating to playing the National Anthem, the Apex Court has apparently enlarged the scope for the continued unpatriotic conduct of some section in the population, thus undoing the efforts of nurturing love for the country by its citizens.