Patriotism needs to be downsized from its current size. It’s damn too big to be defined and even bigger and harder to put into practice. It expects you to love a country a million sq miles wide while the feeling and emotions of patriotism are probably coming from your local expereience of smoking pot at the beach in the night.
Because that’s the extent to which most people ever go. Most people won’t be traveling the length and breadth of their country, and the ones who do, probably do it to brag about it to others and mostly to themseleves. Not to fucking feel patriotic and understand the pains and joys of a billion people. For that you read.
Think about it. For most people in Mumbai, there is simply no subjective experience to feel love and oneness with someone from Chennai or Bengal. Other than the fact that we all are humans there is nothing else binding us together.
And if the common humanity is a good enough reason to be patriotic then why stop it just at the borders of India and not stretch it to all the nations of the world. A global patriot.
Nothin in the life of someone born and lived in Mumbai has any direct comparisons with someone from most other states. And the only common ground Mumbai people will share with most other cities in India is the western culture of partying, movies, hollywood etc. Nothing about that component is truly Indian at the core.
And when we take into consideration the not so urban areas in India, the situation just breaks down. Abject poverty and sharia level cultural restrictions are the norm. It’s probably more easier for the desperately poor people in india to feel some common ground for patriotism in their suffering than for the well to do. Because the cultural norms further only vary when you think about how the middle class to the rich spend their time. A millionaire gujarati won’t drink, smoke, eat non-veg nor be into casual sex while a middle class muslim guy does it. And ten other combinations are possible when you add in the marathis, tamil, punjabis and so on.
Just nothing which binds everyone together.
If you were to think about America here. The entire country speaks just the english language. Most of them do the same form of partying in their teens, most drink, smoke, eat chicken and fuck a lot of people casually. Everyone has the same options with the movies, music, books and the TV as they all speak only english, simply no market for a multi-lingual entertainment industry—india has hundreds. Why do we need to look at the skin color? Everything most Americans do all their lives is the same thing, same experiences at different age ranges of their lives. Their local level experiences are the same throughout the land. Quite easy to be patriotic.
And we are acting like we are a one united country of shared values and whatnot but we do not even have the same shared values with our next door neighbours who are vegetarian. Then we try to sell the myth of cricket and bollywood uniting us—a sport and a film industry which makes movies most in the language most of the country doesn’t fucking speak. Not happening.
Then we try to forge unity in the name of the “freedom struggle”. The irony being we would have not been a country if the british had not invaded us and brought together all the bikering nation states. India probably would have been a islamic nation had the british never come in, the mughal rule was strong in that period. And coming back to the freedom struggle—always painted as a movement all indians were a part of—in reality only one man, gandhi brainwashed people into his christian wisdom of turning the other cheek.
We did not fight at all. There was no organization which created a strong anti-british army, we did not give our blood to wrest back the nation from the oppressors at all. All we did is get beaten up with sticks by fellow indians working for the british. All while not fighting back.
All of our common ideals and values and history which is supposed to make us feel united as a country is nothing but propaganda propped by a state controlled education system. No wonder that by the time we’re adults no one really has even and inch of patriotism left in them.