We need to Rewire our Brains, to understand Patriotism, Nationalism

Some soldiers on Indian TV Channel debates are more than eager to spread nationalism and patriotism. They are equally eager to flex their muscles and roll their blood filled eyeballs 360 degrees on the slightest mention of Pakistan. To what extent it’s necessary needs to be looked at. May be they are simply creating more clout for their fraternity (those being part of Armed Forces). Yes, all these ramble rousing attempts on TV channel debates, social media and public platforms to a significant extent are guided by the motive of attracting more resources for the fraternity. Or furthering the interests of the fraternity.

Before going all out, and ask how dare you! Please calm down.

There’s nothing wrong in being part of a fraternity. There’s nothing wrong either to demand more resources for one’s fraternity. But, what’s wrong for anyone (any citizen) is to use nationalism and patriotism to stir up the passions or prejudices of the public, every now and then.

Let I give you an example. On July 22, 2017, Major General GD Bakshi, a regular participant in various TV Channel debates, informed us about KARGIL PARAKRAM PARADE- 23 JUL 2017 ( All Upper case Alphabets!) held at venues across India. According to him, this year, the event aimed to arouse the spirit of patriotism; and to accomplish that the organizers intended to honour Indian Flag and the Kargil martyrs.

The itinerary of events mentioned the participation of Maj (Retd.) Gaurav Arya.

Major (Retd.)Arya is an ex army officer and television personality, who’s among the founding team members of the Republic TV. He joined Arnab Goswami ‘s Republic as Advisor Defence and Strategy. Major (Retd) Gaurav Arya served with the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army. He writes about the Indian Defence Forces, national security, Pakistan, Kashmir, radical Islam and terrorism and is a passionate advocate of the soldier’s point of view; and is often seen aggressively advocating this view on various TV discussions.

Now you will say, what is wrong in Major Arya’s claimed participation in the said event?

Although his being a team member of Republic TV is a reason sufficient enough to debar him from such an event; still if he wants to be part of the event then his current role in the Republic TV is surely in question. In a way that, irrespective of where he is, he cannot be seen as an impartial participant or Defense Expert. If you still have any doubts, then watch this video from 11:00 minutes onwards. You will find that Major Arya himself claims that he supports this government because he finds it pro-Army. He even claims that he will be happier if the person he’s speaking to does more important stories such as OROP (One Rank One Pension). In short, the next time, Mr. Arya speaks as a defense expert on TV, you can’t say he is doing so out of pure patriotism and nationalism. He may simply be bringing out one of the many manifestations of nationalism and patriotism — a manifestation which is in line with his thought process.

It’s high time we see TV news channel debates from a very analytical mind. Nationalism and patriotism are being portrayed as black-n-white to paint black-n-white realities. Many a times, the objective seems just to push some agenda.

As far as I’m concerned, I think, one must be weary of these attempts to further very narrow binaries. That’s why I don’t see any reason for blindly following such black-n-white attempts.

We often hear, TV debate panelists exhorting and daring the supposedly less nationalist and meek among us to join the Indian Army and fight the enemy. This is plain rhetoric. If joining Defense forces is the test of one’s nationalism, then the easiest way to make up for the deficiency is to make service in the Indian Armed Forces compulsory for all young men and women in India. The moment Defense service is made mandatory in India, the very wave of countless young men and women will break open the flood gates of the Defense recruitment offices or venues.

To conclude, it’s time we rewire our brains, and allow other definitions and manifestations of Nationalism and patriotism to get in. As far as the two are concerned, then I firmly believe that anyone who sees a soldier’s job disproportionately more tilted towards patriotism, and Nationalism, must need to introspect at his own patriotism & nationalism. Because any profession pursued with honesty and integrity, in itself is a service to the Nation. A service which in no means is lesser than that of a soldier.If everyone has to take the same job to serve the Nation, then who will do the rest of the work.