How patriotic are we?

This August 15, India celebrated Independence Day. Being an Indian, I love this period (even January 26th) as I get to see our tricolour all across the country – on our vehicles, homes, offices, streets and everywhere. At this time, we get to see so many messages, pictures and videos about our nation. It fills me with a sense of pride.

But at the same time, I wonder if this is the only time we turn patriotic. Wait, I’ll explain.

Here, I’m going to refer to two speeches by the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi. Please note that what I’m going to refer here are the contents of his speeches only, I’m not taking sides with any individual or a political party.

1) His public address after winning elections but before swearing-in as Prime Minister

2) His first address to the nation as it’s leader on August 15.

In the first speech, he mentioned that the leader alone cannot help a nation progress and develop but it’s the responsibility of each and every citizen of that country. He gave a few  analogies to explain what he meant. If you’re a student, you should work hard, learn and pass the exams without cheating. If you’re driving, you should follow the traffic rules and drive safely. He gave few more such analogies.

In his address on Independence Day, he launched the “Swachh Bharat” movement (Keep India Clean). This is the first time I heard a leader talk about keeping the country clean. Some ridiculed and made fun of it. But, we see that most of us who go abroad, praise their clean roads but the moment we’re back, we litter and complain how dirty our roads are (you may or may not be one of them).

Few weeks back, there was a citizen who threw something from his car onto the streets. A celebrity couple who saw it not only reprimanded the person for being irresponsible but also recorded it and put it up on social media. What surprised me was that there were a few netizens who came out in support of the individual who was littering the streets – their comments were “the couple were seeking attention and cheap publicity” or “they are making mountain out of a mole hill”. Whatever their intention was, I appreciate that they did this as it instills fear in the minds of others who’d think of doing such a thing.

In the developed nations, the citizens and residents of those nations are very diligent when it comes to their duties. They are completely dedicated towards their responsibilities – pay taxes on time, follow rules, vote without fail and do their bit to keep their country clean. Here, we have every reason why we are not performing our duties – leaders are corrupt, authorities are irresponsible, people lack civic sense…the list is endless.

Unfortunately, I find that our patriotism is restricted to saluting the flag, standing up during the National Anthem and forwarding patriotic messages (not always true, but in majority of the cases). When it comes to executing our duties, most of us either say “how would it help if I’m doing it when others aren’t” or say “I’m diligent but others aren’t”.

All I have to say is that there are chances that my actions will influence someone else who’s watching me – now the choice that I have is whether I want to spread good influence or a bad one. If each one of us can influence one more person watching us, it’ll spread like a wild fire.

Remember, there’s no stopping a nation that has a billion+ inspired citizens. So this Independence Day, let’s make our choice and live it.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in comments.

STAY HAPPY AND STAY BLESSED!

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