If I asked you which is the word spoken far too often and yet almost NEVER practiced in India, what would that be ? You would jump off your couch and say righteousness or honesty but that's not what I was referring to. Although they can be very optional choices for this question, the word I am referring to is "Patriotism". If asked, almost every Indian will tell you proudly, "I am VERY patriotic."(with the emphasis on VERY) Ask him/her the next question. How do you practice your patriotism ? Umm,Ah,Well,Its,???,WHAT?...That's quite an answer, isn't it ? Of course there would be a few who would be able to answer that but most of our people are clueless about how to practice what they believe themselves to be. Ideally it should be simple. For example, if you call yourself Jew or believer of Judaism, you practice it by regularly going to Synagogue and living by the principles embodied in Hebrew Bible called Tanakh. If you call yourself a Hindu, you practice by going to temple regularly and living by the principles of Sanatan Dharma described in Vedic texts. Patriotism should be no different. There "ARE" simple ways to practice your patriotism. So today I want to share with you all how I practice my patriotism. You are welcome to share your views/comments.
If I told you Nyoma, Bomdila, Demchok, Chushul, Chumbi Valley, Dibang Valley, Pangong Tso Lake, Tawang you would start thinking I am naming some sights in China. Well, all these are places well with-in India. You may not have heard since these are towns/villages on India's international borders. You, being smart-chap is already wondering what is the connection between expressing patriotism and our nation's frontiers. IMHO(In my humble Opinion) the best way to practice patriotism is by "conveying" respect and gratitude to the people who guard our borders, OUR Army. One of you will ask, how do you convey gratitude exactly to Armed forces ? How do you convey it in your daily life to others for big/small favours they do to you? Either by a simple phone call or dropping by in his/her cube/office/home and saying "Thank you" ! For big favours we also tend to gift certain people, i.e. our boss for promotion. That is never hard. Correct ? Similarly how can we neglect to thank people on whose shoulders the burden lies to ensure we sleep safely every single night? All we have to do is pick up the phone and call the border check post, talk to any soldier there and tell him "Thank you"! Of course you will have to put some efforts to find the contact number but that should neither be hard nor discouraging. Depending on your degree of your patriotism you can also do what I do.(Since I am in USA, I only get a chance when I visit India) Visit such border areas/locations once a year(which are by the way stunningly beautiful landscapes), meet our soldiers there and thank them. If possible also bring gifts for them. Our Gujarat's Chief minister Shri Narendra Modi does that every year. Why can't you and me do that? It would be rather a perfect get-away along with our friends and family once a year from our banal urban life-style. If you travel, you will come back craving for next trip to the most beautiful, hidden and well-protected of India's geographical beauty. If simply thanking soldiers does not motivate you, the beauty of these places will. To me it is very appalling that people don't understand such simple things.
Opting for any Govt/public services professionally is also definitely another way of practicing patriotism and there could be many more ways but I wanted to focus primarily on the idea pitched above. I just have overflowing respect for our Armed forces.
One quick note : If you said, I express my patriotism by citing examples like I follow traffic signals OR I do not trash streets with my cigar butts or plastic bags then that's just common civic sense dummy ! It has nothing to do with your patriotism. Learn right way to practice what you believe in.