Instant coffee : Boil milk/water, and add coffee powder from the bottle. Voila! Your coffee is ready!
Instant Nationalism : Come Republic Day, Independence Day, there is a surge in nationalism amongst all of us. “I love my India!”,”Jai hind”,and other rhetorics make bi-annual appearances on social media. People change their display photos with a hue of the national flag, or with the national flag.Messages and videos fuelled with nationalism appear everywhere. Patriotic songs bellow from speakers all around.
But neither does instant coffee offer the kick as that by freshly ground, handmade coffee; nor does this nationalistic fervour of these days manage to last even the next day.
A simple question to prove my point-With such a nationalistic atmosphere, apart from school children and government officials,how many of us actually attend the flag hoisting and anthem-singing rituals that these two days mandate?
Can’t we continue to feel the same nationalism as on these days and continue to do so at all times?
Some may ask,”Why? What’s the point?”
This is why (in my opinion).
A nation is built by its people. WE are the nation. Our actions directly reflect upon the nation’s identity. When we work towards its good, the nation progresses. When we work towards its bad, the nation goes back onto the path of regression. Simple as that.
Something as simple as throwing plastic wrappers from your car onto the road,spitting tobacco on pavement walls, letting you pets defecate on the footpaths(and not cleaning up subsequently) has the potential (and has done, also) create a stereotype in the minds of people, who come to visit India. Apart from discovering its rich heritage, they now also come to see huge piles of garbage in the rivers, and on the sides of roads.
“Have you ever visited India?”
“Nah, it is a dirty place….”
That was the response I got when I asked this question to someone abroad. And believe me, such stereotypes are extremely strong and damaging.
Leslie Udwin, a british filmmaker made a documentary about how our country is not safe for women. She supported her documentary with inputs from our own Indian minds. Not regarding her british racist bias, and her documentary showing something that happens in other countries as well, wasn’t her documentary true? If not, then why do Indian parents worry so much about their daughters’ safety ? Why do we become so conservative and misogynistic when it comes to women?
Someone had posted a rant about this on Facebook. He said in his rant that although we might not associate with this misogynist mindset, can’t we at least acknowledge that there is a problem and that something needs to be done about it?
A person was booked by the traffic police for breaking the signal. When the constable approached him to write him a ticket, the driver said,”Take this 500, and leave me. Kisi ko pataa nahi chalega(no one will know).” The constable follows suit.
All such events in isolation (along with other corrupt practices) add up, and create an environment where corruption breeds.
Today it has become nearly impossible for any individual to carry out his day-to-day jobs with full righteousness.
Now suppose, if we consciously decide not to indulge in any form of corruption, the “easy way out” many-a-times, won’t we get rid of corruption some day?
A majority of citizens(including me) end up blaming the government and cursing the nation for all its shortcomings. But, aren’t we the ones to blame? What are we doing for the nation, thinking only about our own comforts and interests, disregarding everything else? And isn’t the government constituted by those from amongst us?
Mahatma Gandhi had said,”Be the change that you want to see in the world”. Can’t this be followed, or be strived towards?
The freedom fighters and foundation builders of our nation have left us with the privilege of independence, and the entailing responsibility to build it, to take it to greater heights of progress. Shouldn’t we do so, if we are to make our country self-sufficient, strong and developed?
The moment we start thinking together as a nation, and for the nation, nothing,and no one, can stop us from making our nation great. It may take years and years for change to be visible, but that is better than doing nothing.
There will be umpteen instances and situations where there will be an opportunity to either fulfill this responsibility or relinquish it. That choice is ours.
Simply put, let us take the nationalistic spirit that Republic Day and Independence Day bring and carry it consciously into whatever action we take in society, outside the comfort of our homes.
Happy 68th Republic Day