Joan of Arc, called the Maid of Orleans, was only nineteen when she protested against English domination in France. She was captured by the British and burnt, alive on the stake. She became a national heroine and was canonized in the 20th century.
Patriotism manifests itself in many forms but the desire to save one’s country from enemies exhibits the most exalted form of patriotism. In the event of a foreign aggression, people are known to give up their narrow differences and emerge as a united force. In the epic, The Odyssey, Telemachus, though young, tries to save his country from his mother’s suitors in the absence of his father, Odysseus. The Frenchmen, though much divided, rose untidily against the British subjugation after they were inspired to do so by loan of Are.
Similarly, all Englishmen were roused with patriotic fervour to repel the Spanish Armada. When Gandhiji gave the clarion to the people of the country, they, rose from their narrow bounds of distinctions, based on caste, religion and creed and participated in the freedom struggle. Patriotism towards one’s country is, therefore, one of the noblest virtues of human deed because it unites the people of a country against a common enemy as nothing else can. It is not only responsible for the unification of the citizens but also inspires them for the noblest possible deeds, the heroic deeds of those “who for the cause of freedom fell” are celebrated in many a song and legend.
The patriotism of the reformer is another noble form of virtue. Love for one’s country means a regard for the country’s welfare. The reformer endeavoursto eradicate the social oppressions faced by the society He fights against vested interests and vicious traditions and customs.
Swami Vivekananda believed at hat patriotism consisted in feeling from the heart for one’s people. He said “Do you feel that millions are starving today and millions have been starving for ages?” Do you feel that ignorance has come over the land as a dark cloud? Does it make you sleepless?” A true patriot would not be content with make speeches on social reforms or inaugurating social reform movements but would move to act. Very often he is not liked by the higher ups because his allegations are often candid and blunt. He3nce instead of receiving praise he is often condemned.
But his virtue is the truest form of patriotism. The exile can never forget his home. In his dreams he roams in his votive land. The patriotism of the statesman who wants to serve his country without any selfish motives and seeks to enhance its glory at home and abroad is another form of patriotism. The civic-minded and conscientious citizen who faithfully discharges his civic duties and obeys the law of the land is also a patriot.
He is always on the side of the righteousness and order. He strengthens the hands of those who with to improve the state of affairs and opposes those who are self seeks. In modern times, patriotism has degenerated to chauvinism nationalism and jingoism.
Leo Tolstoy had claimed that patriotism is an evil “to be suppressed and eradicated by all means available to rational man”. In his essay on patriotism he mote, “The time is fast approaching when to call a man a patriot will be the deepest insult you can offer him. “He felt that the feeling of patriotism is unnatural irrational and harmful and a cause of many ills afflicting mankind. The feeling of chauvinism exhibited by the different Presidents of the US has created adverse situation in various countries across the globe. The patriotic spirit fostered through education and other means by governments helps perpetuatethe idea that it is glorious to kill and be killed in pursuance of certain objectives. People are made to believe that their monition alone is superior. Many terrorists’ outfits in the name of patriotism train youngsters to kill.
The desire to kill and sacrifice one’s life and property in defense of one’s land or one’s people was considered heroic in the days of yore. But with advancements in civilizations, nations evolved themselves to higher ideals. This led to the abolition of several evil practices but the ruling elite held on to some which benefited them to carry out their vested interests.
Pakistan, in its endeavour to annex Kashmir, is abetting violence in the valley. By arousing patriotic fervour in the minds of the younger’s, it is provoking them to declare a Jihad or the holy war for liberating Kashmir. Terrorist outfits, across the globe, perpetuate the idea of killing for a common goal. In the hands of unscrupulous 14 and callous politicians, the noble sentiment of patriotism has degenerated into a cloak for passions and prejudices. Nationalism is the attachment towards the nation state, related to the entire nation. Nationalism, according to two recent theorists, Benedict Anderson and Partha Chatterjee, is specifically a western idea which has been accepted by the rest of the countries during the course of their independence. Patriotism and nationalism have given way to jingoism.
The unseemly jubilation and jingoistic pride that market the nuclear explosions both in Pakistan and India, the branding of the Pakistani cricket team as traitors on their arrival in Pakistan after having failed to win the cricket World Cup are examples of exaggerated nationalism’ which is termed as jingoism. The demand of certain leaders that the” thespian 15 of Indian films, Dilip Kumar, return the award, presented to him by the Pakistani government, to prove his patriotism is indicative of the level of narrow-mindness, of the people. It was this chauvinism and jingoism exhibited by the Germans that plunged the whole world into a holocaust. The jingoism displayed by the Americans led to the annihilation of the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Mere patriotism is not enough. Though the scientific inventions and discoveries have shrunk the world the political walls of jingoism are still intact, stronger than ever before.
Man has failed miserably in achieving moral and spiritual unity which could have aided peaceful co-existence of all nations. It is said when God makes a prophet, he does not unmake the man. So when we are told we are Hindus, Muslims, and Indians. French or Germans, we do not cease to be human begins. In the words of former President, Dr S. Radhakrishnan.
“If there is not a drastic change in our ways of thought and practice. Our race may die not of a natural catastrophe or disease, but of nationalism. Change or perish is the law of life to all her children.” Leadership: A leader is a person who leads or exercises dominion over a group of people. Leadership is the personality trait of a person which enables him to become a leader. In every society, community or nation, there is bound to be someone who stands out from the others and acts as a guide or leader for them. A leader emerges from a crowd of people because the rest lack the intiative2 of taking up the responsibility of the crowd and are intellectually and morally inferior to him. His leadership quality sets him apart from the crowd.
Great deeds make great men. Any person who excels himself in any sphere of activity sets an example for others to follow. He becomes a leader whom others try to emulate. In recent times, Mahatma Gandhi became the leader of the masses because of his exceptional appeal and leadership quality. He initiated his struggle against the colonial rule in South Africa with his principles of Satyagraha and non-violence.