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One good way to demonstrate patriotism is treating those who have served this country and made it proud, well!



Here is the winning entry in the Seniors Category for the Essay Competition organised by Apeejay Education on ‘What does patriotism mean for the youth of today?’, written by Bhavya Tiwari, a class 10 student of Apeejay School, Noida

Bhavya Tiwari
Apeejay School Noida

The Oxford dictionary defines patriotism as “the devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.” This definition might be accurate but it is far from precise. India is a mega-diverse country, so it seems unlikely that there will be anything shared by all of its people. And if that is the case, how could it be that they all identify with each other as Indians? Everyone would agree that a patriot is definitely attached to their own country – India. But what might be the deeper reason behind a person’s love for their motherland?
There are a number of ‘local’ factors that the youth can see, perceive, interact with and influence in their usual life. They get to learn about their country from media and the Internet, textbooks, circumstances, locality, social circles, from the profession they practice, et cetera. These factors determine a person’s unique perception of their country.
Based on this image of their country, they classify those activities that, they think, bring glory to or invite appreciation for their country as patriotic. Patriotism can be seen from two viewpoints: one is the affection, the love and gratefulness towards the motherland. The other consists of what you want to do for your motherland, i.e., you want it to reach new heights through your hard work.
Indian patriotism has been about one’s devotion and thankfulness to the motherland, to show her that all the care and facilities that she had provided us with have not been forgotten or gone down the drain. The personnel of India’s Armed Forces are a quintessential portrayal of this philosophy.  
Patriotism is not a concept that is linked to any caste, religion, ethnicity, language or profession. It is rather related to the virtue of fulfilment of one’s social and moral duty.
What does patriotism mean in its purest sense? A good chunk of people base their patriotism on the wonders of (ancient) India before the British Raj and the Indian way of living life—Hindutva. They tend to be proud of indigenous culture and despise the distortion of Indian history by “foreigners”. But being proud of Indian culture is not the complete story.
We would have to travel North-East to Arunachal Pradesh—where patriotism is a whole different ball game altogether, because of the peculiar geographical location and situations. The pride and love that they have towards India is unparalleled. During the 1962 war, when China had occupied Arunachal Pradesh, the people there did not show the slightest sign of succumbing to the belligerent. They did not stop supporting Indian authorities like North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA). Their intense sense of belongingness to India forced the PLA to withdraw.
We can therefore conclude that a person’s notion of patriotism changes over time and because of extraordinary circumstances. To better illustrate the idea, let us go through a couple of case studies.
As a student, patriotism means respect towards one’s national symbols—The Indian tricolour (Tiranga), The national anthem (Jana Gana Man) and song (Vande Mataram), State Emblem of India (Lion Capital of Ashoka), and undoubtedly, our great constitution.
Students form a critical component of the Indian population. They are the ones who will grow up to become entrepreneurs who invest and launch start-ups, politicians who run the administration, scientists who make Mangalyaans, philanthropists who run NGOs and social service initiatives, coaches who guide the novice, et cetera.
Those who want to pursue their higher studies, want to see Indian institutes among the world’s best educational institutes—with facilities at par with world standards. That is why many prefer to study in India unless it becomes absolutely necessary to travel abroad. India is one of the first countries to witness the phenomenon of reverse brain drain.
Let us move from academics to sports. Recently, the Indian team won seven Olympic medals including a Gold at the Tokyo Olympics. There was a euphoria in the entire country, even though we had ourselves not even participated. It was because the players had represented India and that their win stood for India’s.
This highlights an interesting point. Youth representing their country at international events and then winning laurels is considered patriotic. In fact, Patriotism is also demonstrated by how you treat those who have served this country and made it proud.
A professional aspires that their country emerges as a superpower in their line of work. E.g. They advocate latest technology such as 5G and cryptocurrencies in the country, form math and science clubs to catalyse improvement in the rank of India at various International Olympiads, aim for more successful Indian businesses and start-ups, try to build world-class laboratories and equipment, better quality and more R&D et cetera.
A very relevant example in this pandemic era is that of doctors. Their work has been held in high regard by everyone ranging from ordinary citizens to the Prime Minister. This serves as a great motivation for those medical students who aspire to become doctors. News such as improvement in the manufacturing capacity of the pharmaceutical sector, more bed availability at the hospital, more people taking vaccines, improvement in the infrastructure et cetera ignite a flame of patriotism inside their hearts along with priceless self-satisfaction.
Patriotism is not merely loving your country, but a passionate feeling of “trying to make your country a better place”. Every part of India has its own history and glory that continues to inspire the youth of that place. Youth get influenced and inspired by these events. We, being Indians, are naturally competitive and this is reflected in our youth’s desire to improve India’s world ranking in their respective fields. If their energy is channeled appropriately and they remain “connected to their roots”, as the elders say it, no one can prevent India from prospering.

Happy Independence Day! Jai Hind.