I am an Indian, part of a country that identifies itself as the largest democracy in the world. Known for its multi-ethnicity, I grew up knowing unity in diversity. And I refuse to give up my identity of being an Indian, being a part of a secular nation, being able to celebrate festivals year-round from Diwali to Eid to Christmas, all one some or none. I refuse to be questioned about my interests in favour of my nation. I might be born in a minority, but my heart holds as big a love for my country as the self-proclaimed nationalists might have or maybe more.
My love for this nation is in the service I intend to render within my professional capacities. I might not be serving on the borders but with all due respect, I intend to build a nation where people work honestly and justify their jobs. We are after all a part of the social cycle with each one meant to be doing a job. I, therefore, intend to draw my salary with a heart knowing that I didn’t bypass my duties towards the job I have taken, knowing that I paid my taxes honestly.
My nationalism is in the idea of no corruption, no exploitation. From not bribing for the smallest things like a train seat to not hoarding money and land by wrong means for another few generations to come. My idea of nationalism is to raise that coming generation to serve the people of this country born to whatever religion, to respect fellow human beings, to be kind to everyone, to smile when you see your neighbours, to be hard-working individuals, to preserve the heritage and nature that constitutes this beautiful country. My idea of nationalism is to conserve the resources we are endowed with in light of fair share for future generations.
I can be of any faith, and proudly so but I will be an Indian the day I don’t litter the roads and neighbourhoods with the filth of my existence in all the possible ways. Filth like the garbage that I do not twice think before springing on to my physical environment, filth of my bigoted narrow mindedness which differentiates between which neighbour I want to live with based on whether they adorn a white, a saffron or a green attire, filth of my attitude when I teach my kids to not share their lunchboxes with so and so kids, filth of my heart where I secretly and pompously rejoice in inflicting harm upon certain section of society, filth of my pseudo-intellectualism where I mistreat people below me in notion of superiority, where I underpay my househelp and not think twice for blaming her of theft for a misplaced item at my home.
I refuse to be questioned by such nationalists who wrongly occupy lands flouting many norms and rights of many people to build institutes, hospitals, hotels and so on. I refuse to accept you as Messiahs of nationalism. Don’t say that you hoisted a flag this 15th August and proved your love for this nation. Say it the day when you worked towards the right to equality of the countrymen. I refuse to accept people who are abusive, violent, dishonest, corrupt, blinded by warped believes to be torchbearers of nationalism.
It is the idea of freedom, fairness and judiciousness, right over wrong, beyond the vices of lies, painted in colours of different identities existing homogenously, the idea of servitude and awareness that I want to represent as a nationalist.
I will claim myself to be a nationalist the day I identify what is amiss in the conduct of the country, where every individual holds himself responsible for wellbeing of its nation. Where it is simply not an indicator of any heroic image to play blame game and debate which government to choose. I won’t identify myself as a nationalist failing to prevent the country die a death in hands of dirty many things because I as an individual didn’t want to bring to action the heavy weighted claims I made on the social media platforms, in evening gatherings over tea.
My nationalism is not about sharing multiple posts on social media hurling abuses on humans named differently to me or my religion, it is about every tiny inconspicuous action that I take towards humanitarian causes, towards environmental awareness, towards peace and love that I say makes me a nationalist. And I dare say, these things will percolate beyond borders, beyond food habits, beyond lifestyles, beyond names or identities. I want to identify to that nationalism. My nationalism has no religion indeed!
Happy Independence Day 2019. Be the change you want to see in this country!