I’ve tried not to publicly comment on the ongoing debate on respecting the Indian national flag and national anthem. But I’ve been reading some opinions of people on both sides of the argument and I feel compelled to add my two paisa.
In my opinion, respecting or disrespecting the national flag or anthem has absolutely nothing to do with patriotism. Patriotism is an emotion. You feel it. You don’t necessarily need to express it yourself or force someone else to express it. By that logic, it shouldn’t matter if someone doesn’t stand up when the national anthem is played at the start of a movie or desecrates the national flag.
But it does. Very much. Here is why.
The thing is there are people who are ready to die trying to hoist that piece of cloth from the deserted mountain peak. In fact, many have died doing just that. For those people that piece of cloth is a symbol. A symbol so strong that they are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for us. The national anthem is another such symbol. These things matter to them. And that’s the reason we should respect the national flag and anthem like they do. For them.
Would you do knowingly do something that your parents dislike? In fact, you would go out of your way to do something that your parents like, in spite of you hating it. So why would you want to do something that would hurt the feelings of the people ready to give up their lives for you? Just because you have this thing called “freedom of expression” or “right to protest”? If it wasn’t for these people, you would probably be part of some Chinese province by now longing for these freedoms and rights that you now take for granted.
I don’t care whether you love your country or not. It doesn’t matter whether you are patriotic or not. But be an Indian worth dying for. If you can’t, then at least pretend.