Of the thousand definitions of patriotism, this scribe is quoting the few as following:
According to Oxford English Dictionary – A patriot is one who maintains and defends his country’s freedom rights; Greek defined patriotism as the love of one’s ancestry, culture and homeland. But here are some other points of views which are at tangent:
“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”…Ben Johnson.
“You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of human race.”………………………. George Bernard Shaw.
“Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism.”…….Emma Goldman
Irrespective of all these stray definitions, the moot point is – What does it mean to be a patriot?
Singing Vande Matram, waving flags, extolling the real or fictitious virtues of ancestors and brandishing a gun or trishul is patriotism?
No Sriman! Real patriotism runs deeper. Though for the far right in India who try their best to portray themselves as PATRIOT and all others are ‘fifth columnist’ it is the allegiance to Hindutva. It is their game to cry victimization of 85 per cent majority at the behest or on behalf of 15 % minority by Congress Party and a shibboleth is given – ‘Appeasement Of Minority’ or ‘Vote Bank Politics.’ The tactics is simple – They project themselves as “patriots” and its rivals as “opportunist politicians”.
According to well-known writer and Central Sahitya Akademi award winner Mr. Bolwar Mahamad Kunhi. “Indian Muslims, besides praying five times a day, would have to prove their patriotism five times every day… It is unfortunate that just because a person is born Muslim he is expected to prove his love towards the country to others.” A the famous Urdu poet Shamsi Meenayee has said: “Bengal ke Siraj se Abdul Hameed tak, Ek silsila hai khoon-e-shaheedan ka doston.” There is string of martyrs, from Sairaj-ud Doulah of Bengal to Haweldar Abdul Hameed (PVCM). Today, the harsh reality is that because of jingoism of RSS and Co Indian Muslims are unwittingly drifting away from the mainstream. They have become paranoid of persecution and suspicion. Come a cricket team of Pakistan or any news of skirmish at the western front and lo a chill of fear runs through the adrenaline of Muslim community. The people around would scrutinize their reactions.
For BJP and other radical forces, communal polarization is the only weapon that they use before the elections to get emotionally surcharged votes and the Congress GS has called a spade a spade in exposing that. A war un-fought would give them an opportunity to play the nationalistic jingles cluttered of religiosity. It helps them to orient the mind of majority and denigrate the present government for incompetence and inaction.
Watch the debated on T.V. channels where their spokesmen / women demonstrate thee lung power, squelching the opponent’s voice with cacophony, cliché after cliché and with the absence of any logic or any sense of history, and not to mention the ignorance of political science. You are patriotic if you talk REVENGE, ask for quid-pro-quo and demand for BLOOD. You are caring if you could wipe your tears for any eventuality before camera for public consumption. “The Devil of Pakistan” is real and it has to be dealt in proper way. The question is – who knows the exact situation and who will decide the proper ways to deal. Sitting in a T.V. studio with a few half-baked snippets and clips you can’t sacrifice the sanity of the viewer. Being a ferocious media warrior is one thing and a shrewd judge of extremely delicate and critical military situation is another. Who is the best judge of a border line situation? Who is supposed to vigil? Who is supposed to guard? Who is supposed to keep away and protect the valued life of a soldier from the harm’s way? Who is supposed to retaliate? Definitely, the answer is – Army Command! The political leadership is supposed to guide them. It is not a matter to be dealt or decided at the tea-shop. Granted that time and again government had exposed its incompetence and ambiguous attitude in giving its first reaction but hysteria in T.V. studios is not the answer. Irresponsible and loud-mouthed anchors could have waited for proper investigation and results. Indian Army and not these Verbal Gymnasts are efficaciously placed to respond the situation. For the sake of TRP raising a cry of full-fledged war is not justified.
War is not a brawl at any press club after heavy drink. It is a serious affair the flood of blood and not the flow of tears. Urging army to jump into the battle field without knowing the stakes is preposterous. It is not bravery; it is not wisdom or discretion; it is not what is needed. Had there ever been a war which was won without shedding the blood of soldiers? Are they, the T.V. debate fighter pushing them into a dangerous situation? Demanding for teaching the lessons to enemy and inviting a situation that has a ‘open end’ is a loaded advocacy.
We should be ready to fight and fear of losses could never be the excuse to compromise the integrity and sovereignty of nation. However, the decision is to be taken by the political leadership and followed by Army. Media slogans and rants or opinion polls are not the right portal to make that history-making decisions. Border skirmishes between hostile and unfriendly counties are not new. The Army Commanders on-the-spot at border are the astute judge to balance and respond the hostility. Let them do their job and they are absolutely competent. The myopic reporter or anchor or scribe who had never heard a fired bullet or seen a battle ground can’t challenge and scrutinize a military situation. It is Military Science and not the Arm Chair Journalism. Calling leadership weak or exaggerating the situation for creating hysteria is tantamount to setting the agenda for those forces who want to create anarchy or destabilize the government.
For real or imaginary lapses the government is responsible and it should be grilled at every avenue of civilized debate. But every human life is also precious and not to be exploited for raising the TRP’s of channels. They are supposed to produce the factual reports and sweeping judgmental verdicts are not their ambit. Catapulting themselves to a platform of Super Patriotism is an arrogant and faulty attitude. Electronic media is losing its reliability and respect faster than these houses were built from scratch. Jumping the gun would not serve the country.
A proverb says : “Josh men hosh naheen khona chahiye.” We shouldn’t sacrifice discretion in emotion.