As always on this day, India’s Independence Day, I saw a lot of patriotic spirit. Orange, white and green balloons everywhere; flags waving about; the paper flag pinned to the chest; students hoisting the national flag in their schools; the parade and the many speeches from Red Fort. It was the independence day after all. And it has been 67 years of independent India.
I used to feel the patriotic spirit many years ago. Today when I receive messages wishing me, I feel uneasy. This uneasiness made me ask myself a few questions. Firstly, when did I stop feeling this patriotism? And importantly why did I stop. Despite much soul searching, I don’t have an answer to either of the questions. I know that failing to feel this popular definition of nationalistic doesn’t make me any less Indian. (Whatever that means, though.) Yet, I find myself questioning what not feeling it means.
I wonder who decides what actions mean a renewed allegiance to the country. Celebrating this day alone? Feeling a rush of pride for how far we have come? Running on the roads waving a flag fanatically? Dressed in the colours of the flag on this day?
Today I don’t have any answers. Just questions.