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Over the weekend, I was following some debate on TV where one of the participants, opposing the NDA government's "India Shining" campaign said that no one needed to teach Indians patriotism. Patriotism doesn't happen by seeing advertisements. How true, I wondered and I cast my mind back to an article in The Hindu a few months ago, possibly on the eve of Independence Day. The article talked about patriotism among the youth and given that I count myself in that category, I was appalled to read that quite a few of those didn't care about being patriotic or said they were patriotic only during cricket matches. I don't have too much time for those who say they're not patriotic, but narrowing down a definition of patriotism to being a jingoistic supporter of Team India during cricket matches is ridiculous. I'm fairly sure that those chaps would complete the slogan "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" by saying "Jai Maggi!".
So what is patriotism? Is it a feeling when you're unabashedly proud of your country and cannot tolerate someone pointing out anything negative about it, as seems to be the mentality of the current government who keep claiming that "India is shining", regardless of the fact that a whopping %age of the people don't agree. When someone raises issues like dowry deaths, farmer deaths, unemployment etc., the government brushes off these numbers saying that you should talk about the mood rather than the details, and sometimes even brands these non-believers as being unpatriotic and working against India.
According to me, patriotism is when you're proud of whats good abt your country, when you feel bad at what is wrong, but you're willing to do your bit to remove what's bad.
A Punjabi taxi driver is planning to drive in reverse to Pakistan as a peace initiative. Apparently he's been driving his taxi in reverse through the streets of Bhatinda for the last couple of years! I hope he doesn't suffer any reverses during his trip to Pakistan.
The heavyweight boxing championship in cricket has been underway for a week or so now. It started off with former Sri Lanka captain, Arjuna Ranatunga landing the first punch by dismissing the current Australian side as not being too good without the Waughs and McGrath and derided the spinners comparing them to Murali and gang.
Never one to hold back, Shane Warne then commented sarcastically about Arjuna's waistline saying that he probably weighed around 150 kg and wondered if he'd swallowed a sheep or a goat.
Ranatunga continued the jibes with a killer punch saying that it was better to swallow a sheep or a goat than swallow what Warne had been swallowing, a reference to the diuretic which Warne swallowed, leading him to be banned from cricket for a year.
These two go back a long way. In the 1996 World Cup, Ranatunga dismissed Warne as being overrated, and proceeded to dismantle him in the World Cup final. Before the 1999 World Cup, Warne said that cricket (and Sri Lankan cricket) would be better off without Ranatunga, in the context of Ranatunga's finger-wagging histrionics earlier that year in Australia after Muralitharan had been called for chucking by umpire Ross Emerson. Warne was hauled up by the ICC for his comments. Ranatunga responded saying that Warne's comments spoke about him and Australia's culture and added that Sri Lanka had 2500 years of culture and said that everyone knew where Australians came from, pointing out the fact that convicted criminals from Britain were sent to Australia as the first few inhabitants.
The war of words isn't over. Watch this space folks!
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