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Am I Proud of my country?


"I love you both but she was my first" says a young ambitious ready-to-serve civilian to his beloved. Her inner cries and laments and prays go unheard. Despite her respect for her motherland, she doesn't want him to go. She is too weak to live a life in fear awaiting his return everyday. But he treads on towards his dream. He goes on to serve his country. He says it is an honor that only some receive. I am lucky enough.

Even after 60 years of independence, the spark of patriotism resides in every Indian's heart. Embracing death with that tinge of satisfaction lest it is for his land, a smile pierces his torn face. A mother's heart pounds at the thought, while the subdued father succumbs to his son's demand. ''I am going to my mother, Ma. She needs help”.

What perturbs me, about the devout worship of these young soldiers towards our motherland, is the recent on-goings within the borders protected by these armed men. The dhoti draped and donned kurta pyjama white clad, who claim to run this nation, are definitely doing their job. Or is it? A weak heart like me dreads to switch on the idiot box for I might hear the shrieks again or read the daily for I might witness the uncalled transformation of a happy-go-lucky child to an orphan. I choose to remain shunned from this outside world, quite contradictory to my parents' advice. They say you gain awareness and live cautiously.

May be. I should notice the highlights. Politicians indulging in all kinds of practices except the ones aiding the nation's growth. A mild marginal win is all that remains the concern. Be it the indulgence in ugly malpractices- false promises, incorrect polling, spurious strikes. Police fires, bloodshed, loss of innocent lives utterly isolated from the cause, dismantle of the economy and disruption of a normal life result as a consequence of the elections aiming to elect the best to run the country. Rapes are on an alarming rise. For years, the meaningless and illogical ancestral laws and customs tied women within the walls of domestic shells. These are definitely being taught a lesson for breaking the ritual.

Public molestation, domestic violence and male chauvinism are the 21st century methods of gender bias, these male patriarchs have successfully established. This is one arena where discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, age and race does not hold. When a police marshal hits a girl for protesting against the injustice done to a five year old and a political leader commands a woman to surrender when surrounded by men, for it's necessary to meet his biological demands, the doomsday has arrived already.

Is this why a soldier parts his family, the sumptuous home made food, the breath taking first laugh of his child and the love of his wife? Kneeling in the hostility of the cruel chilly winds, icy snow gripped peaks, dry barren deserts, hostile insurgency prone regions, just so I attain a sound sleep every night, spending several sleepless nights  himself. The patriotic soldier guarding the borders, the rich illiterate power freak bureaucrat, the below poverty line frail subject of commotion, a middle class indifferent daily earner or a wealthy powerful businessman, that is what my society is composed of. Why join defense when there is a tumult within the borders caused by the law protectors? Why not encourage female foeticide for their own good? I am not sure if I am still proud of my country.

- Aman Agarwal   
   Thapar University

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