I shy away from the jingoistic version of patriotism and other forms of total bias to ones birth nation. After all, to be born of a certain nationality is nothing but an accident, a mere coincidence. We have no control over what our nationality of birth can be or should be. So the extreme bias, the chest-thumping fervor, and the feel of superiority (or inferiority) for one’s nation somehow eludes me. I merely go by the fact that I was born within the geographical boundaries of India and to parents who were born and raised within India. But generally speaking, I consider myself a resident of this planet who happens to be born in India.
When I express this to other Indians, I almost always get criticized as someone who is ashamed of identifying oneself as an “Indian”. It is difficult to make these people understand that this position of mine does not by default make me someone who is ashamed to be Indian or that I do not harbor any love for my nation of birth. On the contrary, actually. I do not want to defend my position since those who harbor an extremely jingoistic version of nationalism cannot and will not understand my position.
So, I got carried away a bit there. The reason for the post is not how patriotic I am or my version of nationalism. The subject is India’s national anthem. There is no single tune that evokes a strange mix of emotions in my stomach like the Indian National Anthem does. Every time it plays in any which form, it has me enraptured. It calms me down and holds my attention like no other composition can. It does evoke feelings of love for the land and its people, it does make me starkly aware of my roots (however displaced my physical and emotional core might be). So as the nation where I took my first breath celebrates it’s 66th independence, I take a few moments to reflect on the India that resides within me. Happy birthday dear motherland.