Sunday, July 26, 2009

Selective Altruism...

 DISCLAIMER: A very disorganised and disoriented post ahead!

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.
-George Bernard Shaw

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                    I have wondered about the same since I was in school. If I were to be born in Germany, wouldn’t have Germany qualified as the greatest nation for me? Wouldn’t then Deutsch be the most poetic language of all? And how proud would I be of the fact that my Great Nation Germany, and not India (As Indians like to claim), is the cradle of mankind. India for me would be the dirty, poor country of the Third World then. I would be ready to die for the cause of Deutschland. Same would be the case if I were to be born in Pakistan. I would be appalled at India’s insensitivity towards human rights, I would back Pakistan towards ‘saving’ Kashmir and cry indignantly every time India would accuse us for exporting terror.

         But then, wise people have argued with me over this. One even said, ‘God chose you to be born in India, which incidentally happens to be the greatest Nation of the world.’ I kept quiet then not really understanding the reason for God’s unprecedented generosity for me. On a more serious note though, I believe that Patriotism is a very artificially created virtue and it is maintained through a network of lies, falsehoods and assumptions. It is a menace, actually.

              It is great to love one’s motherland but why is everyone so arrogant about it? We don’t get to choose the place of our birth, so why gloat about something that was decided by fate? It’s not wrong to love one’s country, but why does the love have to stop at the border? Why is the hatred for the neighbouring country considered to be the barometer of one’s patriotism?                                    

Isn’t the Patriot the one who loves his country and would not hesitate to lay down his life for it’s cause? And isn’t he the same guy who has the moral authority to raise hell, run amok, and destroy public property in frenzied outbursts of morality? If not anarchy, isn’t Patriotism ‘Selective Altruism’?

       It is natural to think of Army men as the most patriotic of all people given the nature of their vocation. But is not the Old Man who stubbornly refuses to pay bribes to corrupt Government Officials a Patriot as well? Or the little Kid who plants trees in his garden after learning about deforestation in School? Or the Common Man who silently wipes a tear when terrorists hold his city to ransom? Perhaps, the zealot who bellows his lungs out about India’s cultural superiority over the rest of the world is greatest patriot of all.

For me, it’s selective altruism. Yes, that’s what it is.. Selective Altruism!!

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23 Grumblings:

HeArTsT0|3R said...

Nice thought indeed~*

Siddhesh said...

Very thought provoking indeed.....but a rational person can judge whats true and whats a common perception about nations,cultures,etc. Good goin bro....this one is your best i guess

Anonymous said...

Nothing in this world can be labelled as good or bad but the way of our perception makes it good or bad....
u know islam in todays world is so versatile and beautiful but it is misunderstood without differentiating it from some greedy politicians who uses idles of Islam at their end and its been imposed in their mind in such a way that even a child of 9 years is ready to take ammo's in their hands just for the sake of Islam.....even the same thing goes in Jewish community and even in Israel(shia Muslim) community is being bombed from places like Saudi and Iraq...so to conclude these are just some common perceptions which needs to be cut from grassroot level...

Anchal said...

I truly agree wid u. The way indians hav been lookin up at the cultural heritage 4 a edge over West, is silly.
Why cant we prove our patriotism in an optimistic way by moving the thoughts to action like mentioned as planting a tree, say no to bribe etc. so many things to do. Most of u s speak abt it & move on, while oders say yeh india iska kuch nahi ho sakta & move towards west to make it stronger.
The real patriotism is rare, patriotism for me &m many oders id just 15 august & 26 december.

Sikander Fayyaz Khan said...

I agree and disagree at the same time. Patriotism, when mistaken as hating thy neighbor or whoever, is no patriotism at all. It is plain and simple 'hate' and nothing more.

But other than that, I think a bit of crazy love and patriotism for your country is necessary. You may be born in a particular country by a mere chance, but now that you've been born, why not take pride in it? Your's may not be the best country in the world, but that crazy selfless love might contribute in making it one.

Anybody, and I mean anybody who performs his or her duty with honesty and best of their abilities is a patriot, may it be a soldier fighting at borders or a peasant ploughing in a remote corner of the country.

And having said that all, a bit of competition with your neighbor, a healthy competition and blood thirst, would never harm anyone.

Andrews Chinnamallela said...

every nation is equal....every man is equal....but its our fate and the foolishness of the power hungry vultures...who have dragged the boundaries with blood and hatred...Patriotism cannot be explained and understood well by a person who is away from his land....as wise men say...u know the value of a thing when you are away from it....

Nics said...

It is very evident as to why you took so long to complete this post!
My thoughts run on the same line as your friend Sikander.....
When overt animosity and hatred is expressed then that isn't Patriotism!
At the same time 'thoda paagalpan' about your country is perfectly normal!
Very well written though.
Thinking and writing prowess indeed.....

ayyo.... said...

@Siddhesh
Trust me, I have seen many rational people disappoint me big time with the cultural debate..!!
Don't know.. but I feel that this is a very disorganized post.. no wonder nobody is convinced..! :D

ayyo.... said...

@Anon
Anything, if taken/understood in the right perspective, nothing would be misunderstood..!
Why Anonymous, though?

@Anchal
I loved the SRK's argument regarding India's supposed cultural superiority in Swades..! And I couldn't agree more..!
Again, your definitions about Patriotism prove my point though! Patriotism is selective altruism..!

ayyo.... said...

@Siku
I knew how you would reply..!!
Still, I am sure you must've also seen people measuring each other's patriotism by the amount of hate they have for the 'Other' country..!

Yeah, you can take some pride in the place that you're born.. it's very natural.. but there is a thin line between pride and arrogance and more often than not, we're on the wrong side..! And THIS "crazy love" for Land incidentally happens to be the root cause of 90% of the problems across the globe today..! (10% being set aside for more frivolous reasons..!)
I agree. But why call him a Patriot? He is a conscious citizen..! By calling the unassuming, law abiding Citizen a Patriot, one sows the seeds of arrogance in him..!!
And your last paragraph makes me smile.. we're neighbours as well.. and we're bloodthirsty..! :D :D

ayyo.... said...

@Andrew
The earlier part is TOO idealistic..! Nations are not equal at least geographically..!
For the latter part of your statement, You contradict yourself..! :D :P

ayyo.... said...

@Nicol
I knew you'd agree with Sikander on some counts..! Still, as an Indian, you said 'Overt' animosity and hatred is never a measure of hatred for anyone's patriotism..! If I read too much into your statement, hating is a parameter for measuring Patriotism in your book though, right?
Not 'Thoda Pagalpan' , we Indians can be really Jingoistic at times.. to the point of being irrational..!!

And Don't you (And Sikander) agree with my statement that 'Patriotism is very artificial and is maintained through a network or lies, assumptions and falsehood..!'

Andrews Chinnamallela said...

hey there was a typo..it should have been "can" and "cannot"...sorry was high on spirits then......sorry

Pranav said...

Nice one dude. but to my humbleness i would say m very bad at vocab so i would have understood if u would have scaled ur language a lil down. but as the topic is sensitive i would take out dictionary n would read it 4 sure. but nice topic n creative writing bro

ayyo.... said...

@Andrew
I noticed it later too..! :D


@Pranav
Yeah, use the dictionary for now..! I'll remember it next time..!

Rohit said...

People in India generally tend to overdo their patriotism.....They always bring to fore only those points which they think best define their country in terms of cultural prosperity.... however at the same time ignoring other aspects which we lack......we as Indians like 2 rely upon our glorious past nd boast of the same...
but one thing for sure when it comes to our neighbouring countr(ies)y one cant help but be a patriotic in whatever sense he can be.....
donno abt the past but considering the present situations inflicted by our neighbours i too feel like being a true patriot by just cursing them....cant help....

meerasworld said...

Nice post. Last month I had an argument with an uncle on the same topic. He was saying our country is the best with its cultural heritage etc etc and all other countries are way below us. I am 100% Indian and feels more than just proud being one.
But at least between us Indians we can be honest and admit that we are not perfect! Hypocrisy .I agree totally with you when you say if I was born in another country, I would have been thinking that country is the best.

ayyo.... said...

@Rohit
See, you proved my point right..!
Hating/ Cursing someone else down not make you a patriot..! :)

The Sleeping Dragon said...

Agreed...it is a living menace! One can love a country one is born in, but there is no need for exaggeration of that "love". Patriotism can be fun - especially if it means that we can make fun of other countries and regardless of nationalisties, we all do it all the time. All int he name of fun.

Although on the other extreme, patriotism breeds contempt, violence and dare I say even the unnecessary racisms. That's when patriotism becomes dangerous as many lives are lost over such "cause"

ayyo.... said...

@Meera
Exactly, we never chose India as the country we wanted to take birth in..!

ayyo.... said...

@The Sleeping Dragon
Patriotism has done no good to Mankind. We have killed, maimed and orphaned Kids in the name of Love for land..
I wish we could do away with it..!

ketki said...

Perhaps thats the reason why hitler is called "the greatest patriot that ever existed on earth"

ayyo.... said...

@Ketki
Exactly..! And Hitler's last thoughts were like, 'I am Germany. I failed Germany. I shouldn't live.'
Sounds romantic but yeah, If ever there was an example of how patriotism is nothing but a bunch of concocted stories,lies and falsehood and the World could have been better without the Patriot, it would be Hitler..!