The recent Pulwama attacks have left me shattered just like you. In fact, shattered is a small word for the indescribable feelings that all of us have now. My heart goes out to the brave soldiers, who faced it the hard way. The soldiers who sacrificed their lives – for no fault of theirs – except that they fought for strangers – so that those strangers can live peacefully and carefree.
Some of them were sole bread winners for their family – they left behind their parents and wife. For some, their fiancée was waiting… Some had a new born whom they were supposed to see next morning for the first time… some left behind daughters and sons who don’t even understand why they don’t see their father every day like other “normal” kids do…
Why would someone do that?
We, humans, don’t give even our smallest belongings to those we don’t know! But they gave their whole life – and death too!
I have pondered over this question many times. The answer everyone tells me is that it’s their love for the country. Of course, it is. Just like we love our parents and children, these brave soldiers love their country and embrace the country as they would embrace their mother.
But what I don’t understand is why do some people have these strong feelings for the country while some don’t. For example, it is not that I am not patriotic, but I don’t think about these soldiers or their sacrifice every day. Not until it is Republic day, Independence Day or when a shocking incident like the recent one happens!
So why would they forgo their lives for someone like me who enjoys life, is carefree and will forget their struggles in a few months, when some other news takes over?
This also takes me to another point – can we do anything else than candle marches, remembering the soldiers and bad-mouthing the cowards behind these attacks? Are we capable of going to the border and fighting against these quitters? Are we capable of doing anything apart from brooding over the incident and perhaps contributing a little bit to their families?
No, we are not! No amount of anything can justify loss of a life.
The least we can do is be ‘patriotic’ and SHOW it. Yes, it is important to show patriotism just like we show love. It is a lame thing to say ‘I don’t have to show my patriotism to prove I am patriotic’. Why not? Don’t you have to give exams to go to the next class in school? Don’t you have to pass UPSC exams to become an IAS officer? Then why not show your patriotism so that you can pass it on to the next generations!
Children and youth see and learn. When I say I am proud of my country, it is because my parents, teachers and grandparents believed so, and they stood up for the national anthem any time and any where it was played. That was, is and will be a mark of respect, no questions asked! They told us stories about brave REAL soldiers, not about the ones that we see in movies. They told us tales that we never learnt from our textbooks, which were their own experiences as they had lived and seen that era.
The lack of positive education about our country from childhood fails to inculcate the right mindset amongst children. What we are taught is a distorted history, and that India is a country full of filth and bad traffic. Believe me, in history and civics, all I have read is that we don’t have civic sense and how US and other developed countries have a great infrastructure. These bring only one thought to mind – Go to USA or Canada. That’s a matter of pride as well! And a great way to earn more money!
In some countries it is mandatory to serve in the military at least for a year before proceeding for any other job after completing graduation. This is another gap that can be filled to get the sense of patriotism. We are taught entrepreneurship, soft skills, job skills and much more – but no one taught us – to be patriotic.
I feel confused when someone says – patriotism cannot be taught, it has to come from within… how will it come? It has to start somewhere, from someone! There has to be some idol – someone needs to speak about the country and our duties towards our country in return to what our country gives us – food, shelter, freedom! We take all this for granted and are busy fighting our way to earn more money and fame. I am not saying everyone is like that – but seems like a majority is!
There is news that some university students are happy that a terrorist attack has happened. University students of our own country! Why would they think against the country they live in? Because no one taught them to be loyal and patriotic. No one taught them that they should love their country and be proud of it. Hatred just came from this absence of love and the counter information overpowered the truth. Isn’t it easy to brain wash an ignorant person?
Never did we have to go to the border and see how things are, what are the conditions in which our jawans live? Do they eat food of their choice every day? Do they get a good night’s sleep? How do they live away from their family for so long? In fact, for many of us it is even difficult to imagine a life like that.
We have read chapters at length about Mughal empire, Gandhiji, Nehruji, British rule and so many, but never read enough about the freedom fighters who fight for us every day! Not about their living conditions, not about their training, not about their motivation, not about their successes, not about their sacrifices… nothing or not enough to instill pride and nationalism or to put the nation above caste, religion or personal gains!
Reading about these courageous unsung heroes, encouraging children and showing them movies about the Armed forces and how important they are, standing up for our country’s anthem, standing up against anyone who talks against the nation – these are some things that we can start with – to build a positive nation and to feel good about it. Just watching these men on television should bring a sense of pride and respect in our hearts.
We should feel proud of where we live. We have chosen and decorated our homes so tastefully, why not make our country the same – as that is also our home, the bigger home!
A tribute to the martyrs who win our hearts every time