- Trust our political parties and their duly elected representatives to pounce on any opportunity presenting itself carrying the potential to leave behind an indelible impression by resorting to whipping up mass frenzy and emotions. Of course, the aim is to garner attention and be in the limelight for whatever it is worth. A quintessentially strong urge to consolidate assiduously cultivated vote banks pushes these leaders, irrespective of party affiliations, to always be on the lookout to score one-up on their rivals by inventing ways and means to impress upon the electorate. Consequently, targeting a particular caste, creed, race, or religion has become an accepted norm with several regional parties taking birth by identifying themselves on these lines alone.
PC: THE QUINT
- None of the politicians care about widespread polarization resulting out of such measures leading to division within the harmonious existence of society. If such moves might eventually prove to be detrimental to the overall well-being of the country itself are not considered worthy of simple contemplation or course correction. Certain jargon never fails to evoke strong sentiments viz. patriotism, nationalism, religion, iconic personalities, legendary achievers, and martyrdom just to name a few. Now, catching onto the bandwagon is none other than Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rolling out its deshbhakti curriculum for Delhi government schools. The intention is to steal some thunder away from the BJP’s claims on being the only true nationalist party.
- The moot point to ponder over here is should patriotism, essentially a personal emotion, be allowed to be taught in school. The obvious answer is to balance it out without crossing the fine line between patriotism and jingoism. So long as the modicum of decency is maintained by disallowing parochial considerations, teaching on patriotic personalities, incidents, and events should not bother anybody more concerned about the pitfalls. However, the AAP chief’s plans seem to include not only teaching students about five freedom fighters and creating patriotic professionals’ but also flying 500 national flags around the city as a standard nation-state symbolism.
PC: Ramachandra Guha
- Of course, there are good and bad ways to speak of patriotism in school. Note that patriotism is emotionally resonant, a powerful spur to public-spirited action, and hence, not just about rituals, objects, or larger-than-life heroes. The nation has experienced how favourably patriotism plays out whenever monumental achievements occur in the field of science, technology, sports, business, education, and many other verticals making us swell with pure pride. Also, a patriotism class could help students think holistically about their communities and neighborhoods, value inherent diversity visible across the large swathes of the nation, mutually respect multiplicity, and appreciate the fact that we are all differently situated but of equal civic worth.
- Inspirational figures are in abundance in our long-cherished history which could be harnessed to undertake value-based teachings imbibing a sense of dignity amongst the young impressionable minds while sharing insight into all those remarkable achievements. As mentioned above, past experiences suggest our political parties are not wary of playing to the gallery even if it goes against the tenet of patriotism using harmless pedagogical methodologies. Ultimately, anything good furthering the larger interest of the nation is most welcome.