Sunday, August 14, 2016

Musings of a Veteran on the Eve of Independence Day – Jingoism and Patriotism

JINGOISM and PATRIOTISM
Musings of a Veteran
By
VIKRAM KARVE

NB: The generic term “soldier” covers all uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) 

Musings of a Veteran on the Eve of Independence Day – Jingoism and Patriotism 

Nowadays  we see plenty of jingoism. 

Many individuals – especially politicians – feel that jingoism is a substitute for patriotism.

How many politicians have their children serving in the Armed Forces...?

What about rich industrialists and businessmen – civil servants and corporate executives – or the urban middle-class – are any of their children serving in the Defence Services...?

Nowadays – even Defence Officers are not motivating their children to don military uniform.

And it is mostly these persons – especially politicians – who keep making jingoistic statements about war and teaching our adversaries a lesson.

Jingoists want the soldier to risk his life and limb – while they themselves will remain safe and secure.

Haven’t you seen some politicians – who want layers of security to protect them – but expect the soldier to sacrifice his life for the nation.

Are there any politicians who are willing to risk their own lives for the nation – or motivate their children to the join the defence services?

If you see today’s self-serving politicians  you won’t believe it  but long ago  there were exceptional politicians who were genuinely patriotic – who ready to risk their own lives for the nation  and led by personal example.

One shining example is the inimitable Biju Patnaik (05 Mar 1916 – 17 Apr 1997).

His heroic exploits as a pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force in the early 1940’s during World War II were legendary.

Later  after independence  when he had become a politician  he took to the skies again and undertook daredevil flights to airlift army troops into Kashmir during the 1947 War Operations.

He was always ready to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the soldier.

Biju Patnaik demonstrated that he was a true “soldier” and politician.

He was prepared to put his life in danger for the sake of the nation when required.

Is there any politician today who can emulate such stalwarts...?

Times have changed.

Politics is no longer a profession of sacrifice.

Politicians do not want to put their lives in danger.

Politicians are no longer prepared to suffer physical discomfort.

That is why they politicians like to monitor things from a safe distance  while the soldier slogs it out in the field.

Will politicians change for the better...?

Let us hope so.

Till such time that happens:

Soldiers will slog incessantly in war and peace.

Soldiers will do the dangerous work and risk their lives.

On the other hand – politicians will indulge in jingoism and rhetoric.

And – shameless politicians will fight with each other to claim credit for the soldier’s achievements.

Before you resort to jingoistic rhetoric – you must remember that:

Jingoism is not a substitute for Patriotism.

Genuine Patriotism is far superior to a show of Jingoism.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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