Manish started me on this post..His post on being a Singaporean. When people start talking about being proud of your country, I get very emotional. My voice gets a bit louder. My actions a bit more illustrative. And in the end most probably blast at the person. Having had too many of such moments, have been lying low for some time..Now back again…
Many would say many different reasons for being an Indian. Or why they feel loyal towards their country. Maybe I used to be like that too coming with various reasons for being a proud Indian that I was. But that stopped when I read a book for my Tamil literature class in JC. In that book, there was a middle aged widow who was living in chennai(Madras). She would say that many see India as a very dirty place with too many corrupted politicians. And that is true. But that doesn’t lesson my love for my country. It comes from the heart and not from what we have. That just made me pause. A big pause. Then I realized that all these while i was viewing my pride wrongly.
Many of those who know me well, would know my blood pressure would just shoot up when I hear anyone talking badly of India. And I used to get irritated and angry and defend India. Then as I grew up, I realized that in truth you don really need to defend your country always. At times, there are some things you cant defend because that is the truth. but that doesn’t mean you keep quiet if words go overboard.
Before I continue, I have to say that I only spend three of my years in India. From the age of one to three. At the age of four, I was Singapore and am still here. Many have been amazed with e passion that I have towards my country. To the extend that I did not apply for Singaporean citizenship. I preferred to keep my Indian citizenship. This i have to say a huge thanks to my parents. Truthfully, the way you feel towards your country starts at your home. If they feel the pride, you will too. If they cannot be bothered, then you wont be too. Unlike in that article, I grew up hearing stories about freedom fighters like thallaiyadi valliammai, V.O.C, Subramaniya Bharathiyar and many more…My parents did no english. but of course they could have told me the tamil stories that are usually to kids..but my mother esp preferred telling me stories about my country. My parents planted the seed in my young heart and watered it with their passion. Now you see how I feel now.
But now sadly, I do not see such parents. There could be such parents. But as far as I have seen, none. I have heard parents giving negative comments about their country, that the kids echo them. My heart just breaks when I hear the cant be bothered attitude among the young ones.
Many would ask, why should we even feel pride in our country in this fast moving and globalised world. Now everyone is almost a international citizen. But i give you one scenario. Actually I don’t need a scenario. I am sure everyone remembers the riots in Burma long time back. Many Indians lost their home, assets and loved ones. Many of them came back to India. A homeland is like your mother. When you fell down and run to your mother, she is one who waits for you with open arms. She is the one who gives solace. Just like that your homeland would take you back. Even if it doesn’t give you the best help, it would AT LEAST give you a roof over your head.
Do you know British people call their homeland Fatherland unlike many of us who call our country motherland. I have no idea. I too have a fatherland. It is Singapore. We came here because of our father. And now we stayed here for many years. Just because I feel that my loyalty lies towards to India, I m not ungrateful towards Singapore. I feel pride in having lived in Singapore for so long. I feel pride in Singapore for all the things it has achieved. And the way it looks after its people. I truthfully have to say, this is one country which really looks after its country very well. I enjoyed all the national day celebrations in my school every year. For me it was fun singing the songs. At the time, I do feel a bit of pride for being part of this country which has grown from a red dot to something great now.
It comes in threes: country, Tamilians and Tamil.
For now I have talked about country. But I wont talk about Tamilians. And I have talked about Tamil before. So here it is. Start from young. You dont need to give example of a abraham lincoln(even though I do admire him alot) or a mother teresa. They are great people. why dont you give examples of those who died for our country? Who gave their sweat, blood and life for our country. There are lots of values to learn from these great people too.