Introduction – Simple definition of patriotism
Patriotism is defined as an eagerness to be of service to the nation, in whatever way possible. It is an emotion that urges one to put service to the nation before self. A patriotic person feels immense pride in sacrificing his all, for the good of the nation and fellow citizens. Often, patriotism is understood as fearlessly defending one’s nation against threats and vulnerabilities; though, the concept of patriotism is much broader and extends to several spheres.
Types of patriotism
Primarily there are two types of patriotism, i.e. blind and constructive patriotism. Let us discuss each one of them in detail below.
Blind patriotism is identified as a dogmatic love and support for the country’s political class and its actions, even when they violate human rights and underline the principles of democracy.
It is a kind of patriotism wherein people believe that their actions are best in the interest of the nation; though, they might be insulting or oppressive to others.
Consider instances where a group of self-declared patriotic or nationalist individuals forcefully oppose festival celebrations, they think are not ethnic to their motherland. For example, groups opposing Christmas or Valentine’s Day celebrations in India may be a victim of blind patriotism.
Blind patriotism has its own logic and explanation that disregards the fundamental principles of democracy and human rights.
2) Constructive Patriotism
This kind of patriotism adopts an all-inclusive approach towards the citizens and the nation as well. Constructive patriotism is borne out of goodwill towards the nation and fellow citizens. This type of patriotism fosters unity and harmony among the citizens of otherwise different religions and ethnicities.
Constructive patriotism is the greatest strength of democracy and the people. The first and most significant consequence of constructive patriotism is unity among the masses. People are united, despite their differences, for the good of the nation. They tend to help each other, protecting each other’s rights, at the same time keeping bravely an eye on external or internal threats to the nation.
A soldier defending the borders; doctors, police officers, and all those working tirelessly and fearlessly for the service of the nation and its people are examples of constructive patriotism.
Examples of patriotism
There have been several examples of patriotism in the history of the world. There had been several persons who have sacrificed their lives to safeguard their motherland and fellow citizens.
It is worth mentioning here that we still have several living examples of patriotism around us. Let us discuss a few of them below –
1) Soldiers defending the nation’s interest
Could there be any better example of patriotism than a soldier who patrols a treacherous and dangerous border, to defend the nation and its freedom? Millions of American soldiers everyday face life-threatening situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nevertheless, not even for a moment, they think of retracing their path because they are prideful of what they do. This indeed is patriotism.
2) Soldiers’ families at home
The families of soldiers back home know that the risk they have undertaken, yet they acknowledge the duty of their sole breadwinner and ask very little in return. In fact, they derive immense pride from the fact that their wards are risking their lives in the service of nation. Those family members, of the soldiers, are no less than patriots.
3) Emergency services personnel
There are millions of emergency services personnel engaged in a challenging job, that compromises their own safety. Medical professionals attending to patients with some deadly contaminable disease is an example of patriotism. Similarly, policemen patrolling in the dead of the night to keep culprits under check, fire tenders, etc. These are some fine examples of everyday patriotism.
4) Volunteers and Social Activists
There are millions of social activists and volunteers spanning throughout the globe, involved in upholding the principles of humanity. There are millions who supply food packages to families trapped in conflict situations or those facing other threats. Many nongovernment organizations are feeding and educating children in the war inflicted Somalia region of Africa. Such people are a fine example of patriotism.
5) Situational Patriots
Last but not the least, there are commoners like me and you, whose patriotism comes to the front when subjected to exceptional situations. There had been several instances in history, when a common person likes you and me, displayed exceptional courage that you wouldn’t expect from a commoner, to help others or in the larger interest of the nation. There have been many brave hearts that displayed tremendous courage and saved people trapped in a situation like earthquakes, storms, etc. The courage displayed by such people is indeed patriotism, which has the interest of the nation and fellow citizens at its core.
Importance of patriotism
Patriotism is a very important feeling quintessential for the growth and safety of a nation. It binds people from different religious and cultural backgrounds, uniting them for a greater cause. It infuses in the masses a common sense of loyalty towards the nation and a sense of responsibility for one another.
Another importance of patriotism is that it is the structure on which democracy stands. The secret of a successful democracy is that there is a little bit of a patriot in every citizen. Choosing a common government, franchising their electoral votes, keeping the larger interest of the nation in mind, is patriotism.
Who is a patriotic person?
A patriotic person is not necessarily always someone who is defending the border or up in arms fighting for the country. Any person could be a patriotic person if he/she has the following attributes –
- Undeniable love for the country.
- Regard for the fellow citizens.
- A sense of responsibility for others.
- Eagerly protects the rights of others.
- Keeps national interest before self.
- Takes part in activities of national importance and pride.
- Participates in national events and festivals.
- Thinks of bringing glory to the nation.
- Refrains from activities that could bring a bad name to the country.
- Respects national flag and national anthem.
How to express patriotism?
There are several ways in which you could express your patriotism. You don’t need to be a soldier or an armed revolutionary, to be a patriot. You might be the guy next door but still, be patriotic. These are some ways by which you could express patriotism –
- Respect the national flag.
- Take pride in singing the national anthem.
- Value democratic principles and human rights.
- Go out of the way in the service of the nation and to help fellow citizens.
- Consider every other citizen as a brother/sister, despite the demographic differences between them and you.
- Bravely oppose political decisions that you think might be compromising to the nation’s security or welfare.
Patriotism vs nationalism
There is very little difference between patriotism and nationalism. The difference is so bleak that the two are often confused together.
Patriotism is identified by a courageous attitude to protect one’s nation and fellow citizens from threats, while, nationalism is a concept to keep national interest at the helm of things.
Patriotism is a wonderful feeling that is a mixture of love, pride, and responsibility. It arises out of one’s love for the motherland and its glorious past. Patriotism must be kept alive among the citizens in the larger interest of the nation.