What is patriotism? Which is the best possible way to instill this noble sentiment in your children? Suba Vasudevan, a reader provides a perspective on the issue.
26th January. Republic Day or a public holiday. Which of these is the prime focus of your lives, as parents? A day off from work and office tensions? Or the Republic Day when you take your children to the local flag-hoisting program? Do you encourage them to participate in the Republic Day contests organised by schools and housing co-operative societies?
If one were to define patriotism, it does not merely indicate morals or ethics. Patriotism relates to a sense of belonging for the country that we are born in the motherland. It is about a sense of understanding, high tolerance level and a reasonable national pride.
The National Anthem
Parents should teach their children to respect the National Anthem. They have to be told to stand up as a token of respect for the Anthem. Such discipline helps to shape them into responsible citizens.
Your child must know when did India adopt its Constitution and when did it become a republic. Many children are confused between the Independence Day and the Republic Day. As parents, you should clarify the difference between the two dates. Moreover, your children must know about some historic facts. The Indian Constitution, finalised with 395 Articles and eight Schedules, was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. It is the lengthiest and the most detailed Constitution in the world.
January 26 was not some random date picked out of the calendar. It was on this date in 1927, that the Indian National Congress, then fighting its non-violent war for freedom, voted for complete Independence as against 'dominion status'. It was the date when members of the INC took the pledge to work towards a 'sovereign democratic Republic' of India. Therefore, children have to understand the concepts of democracy, sovereignty and non-violence.
Festivities and pageants held in the Indian Capital, (including the flag-hoisting by the President and the Republic Day parade), should be watched on television. It will generate a definite patriotic feeling. At the same time, it will mean quality time spent with your children. Children have to be told the significance of these annual cultural programmes. Otherwise, they are bound to grow up without any special fond feelings for their country. Parents tend to shy away from talking about such national celebrations. However, there is a need for this informal education.