Essay No. 01
Patriotism is the virtue which urges men to do all they can for the good of their native country. When a nation is governed by a wise and good king, patriotism and loyalty may be so closely combined that they are almost identical. A patriotic Saxon in the reign of Alfred the Great would have found it no easy matter to distinguish between his—feeling of love for his country and his loyalty to the king, who was the center of the national life. But when a king appears to act in a way opposed to the best interests of the nation he governs, the distinction is easily made. No one doubts that Hampden, in opposing the demand for ship money made by Charles I, was actuated by patriotic motives.
The virtue of patriotism is most conspicuously, displayed in times of war, when it is brought into conflict with, and overcomes, the fear of death. All great nations can point with pride to illustrious patriots who willingly sacrificed their lives for their country. In the ancient world perhaps the Romans excelled all other nations in patriotism, at any rate in the earlier period of their history. It was chiefly by the intensity and prevalence of this virtue that they succeeded in extending their dominion over the entire known world. One of the finest illustrations of the strength of Roman patriotism is the story of Regulus. This Roman general, having been captured by the Carthaginians, was sent by them to Rome with ambassadors to negotiate peace and an exchange of prisoners. It was expected that he would exert all his great influence in favour of peace, so that he might be released from captivity. But, as he was -convinced that the interests of Rome required that the war should be continued, and that no exchange of prisoners should be made, he advised the Roman senate to refuse the offered terms, although by so doing he condemned himself to return as a captive to the city of the enemy and undergo all the cruel tortures that there awaited him.
In modern Europe the Swiss are deservedly celebrated for their patriotism. The story of William Tell is known all over the world. His contemporary, Arnold von Winkelried, deserves at least equal glory. It. is related that at the battle of Sempach, the light-armed Swiss were unable to break through the serried line of Austrian spearmen. Then Winkelried, having commended his wife and children, to his country’s care, gathered as many Austrian spear points as he could into his breast, and, dying pierced with many wounds, opened a path for his countrymen into the center of the hostile ranks.
An Indian Winkelried may be found in the annals of Rajputana. A Rajput army was besieging a fortress, and attempts were made in vain to induce an elephant to charge the gate, which was defended against such attacks by iron spikes. Seeing this, a brave soldier placed his body as a cushion before the gateway. The elephant then charged and burst opens the hostile gate, at the same time, of course, crushing the devoted Rajput to death.
Although it is in the war that patriotism is stimulated to the highest pitch of self-sacrifice, it must not be supposed that this virtue can only be displayed on the battlefield. Many men have signalised their love of country in the field of literature, as, for instance, Burns and Scott in Scotland, Shakespeare and Milton in England, and Virgil in Italy. In fact, there are few great writers who have not consecrated their genius to the glorification of their native land. Milton debated whether he should write his great epic in English. He thought that if he used the Latin Language, he would be sure of worldwide renown, such as no English composition could be expected to obtain. But from patriotic motives he preferred to write in English, and by so doing, as it turned out, promoted his own fame as much as the honour of his native land.
Politics, as well as literature, may also afford a large sphere for patriotic labours. Indeed, patriotism is displayed in every branch of life. Not only great poets, statesmen, and warriors, but tillers of the soil and artisans may feel intense love of their country and do their best in their humble sphere to promote her honour and glory. In their case, any self-sacrifice that they make for their native land is even more meritorious than in the case of eminent men, because it is done without the hope of thereby obtaining for themselves personal fame.
Essay No. 02
Patriotism means in essence, the love of one’s own country. An individual citizen who loves his country and is loyal to it at all cost, even at the cost of his own life is, a patriot. A patriot is one who is always willing to sacrifice all that belongs to him at the altar of his country. This is the measure of a patriot’s extreme love for his country and in common terms, it is called patriotism.
Now, the question that arises is, why does a person get so very attached to the country of his birth, the reason is not far to seek. He is born here, nurtured here, blooms into a full-fledged lovable youth here, and becomes the very soul of the place. Thus, it is not surprising that he should love the country that has given him so much. It is to be expected that an individual loves the country of his birth, just as a person loves his mother who gives him/her birth. Rather, on the contrary, it would be shocking to see people without any affection for their country, an individual not caring for his country would sound unnatural strange, and even unethical.
India has seen a spate of several patriots in the early decades of the 20th century. When the motherland was writhing in pain under foreign rule, these patriots took birth and helped the country to come out of the wilderness of foreign domination. They sacrificed their lives, their pleasures, their families at the altar of freedom for their motherland from the shackles of foreign rule. The list of such patriots is rather long, and, we have to read of their achievements to understand what they went through, and, what patriotism really means. It is these patriots who worked tirelessly for the cause of freeing their motherland from foreign rule. They worked so selflessly and loyally that success could not have avoided their frontiers. It will suffice to remember a few stalwarts of this patriotic hue the list of which starts from Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, and the list goes on.
The fruits of their untiring efforts are being enjoyed by the generations to follow. This is the gift of a patriot, he works to his full capacity, and the fruits are enjoyed by the generations to follow. We are all breathing fresh air, living in a free country, and enjoying all kinds of freedoms those patriots never lived to enjoy. Thus, the freedom that we are enjoying today is the gift to us from our patriotic forefathers. Let us always remember them and at least silently pay homage to them.
With this backdrop let us now consider our own standards of patriotism, these days. We, the present-day Indians being the descendants of the patriots who gave us the gift of freedom, are absolutely opposite to them. We Indians of the present generation are willing to sell anything of our country to anyone just for a pittance of money to be used for our own personal benefit. We are found passing on vital secrets, passing wealth to outsiders, just for petty gains for our individual selves. What a contrast to the forefathers who left all that was their’s for the nation. Also, we are keen on going out of India and settling there just because we get more money there. This is like going to live with our neighbour just because he is richer than our own parents. How absurd it sounds, and how illogical. However, this shows the modern standard of our loyalty to our country that is India. We go out of the country, learn there, earn there, provide all benefits of our knowledge to them, the outsiders, and, never spare time for the growth of our own country. A striking example I would like to quote here. Our Indian Institutes of Technology spend lakhs of the country’s money on each student that is turned out from these institutes, and, when the product turns out of the IIT, he at once goes to get settled elsewhere to give the advantage of his knowledge to others, and who cares how far backward his own country India maybe. This is not his concern at all.
This drastic change in our attitudes towards patriotism has appeared on the national scene because, we, as individuals have become too selfish, too self-centered, and individualistic. We never think of helping our own country in its growth and development. If our next-door neighbour is rich we never go and stay with him as he is better, off than our own parents then, why do we prefer to go and settle anywhere we must only get money more than what our country can afford to give us.
Our loyalties to our country have faded to such an extent that we do not restrain ourselves from even attacking the coming generations of our country. Our own men are smuggling drugs and selling them outside schools and colleges where our next generations are being nurtured. We are, ourselves helping to make our children into drug addicts, and thus destroy the youth of the country and all this just to become rich ourselves. Is this not a shame, the lowest kind of disloyalty to our motherland.
We, in our desire to earn more and more wealth, do not even hesitate in destroying the coming generations – what loyalties were, and what they are, a dismal fact. This degeneration and deprivation have seeped deep into our Indian psyche – we live only for ourselves. The society, the future of the nation, the nation are of no consequence to us.
Essay No. 03
Patriotism, which means literally the love of the motherland, is a noble sentiment and a national virtue; and the man who lacks it has indeed, as Sir Walter Scott says, “a dead soul.”
“Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said!
This is my own, my native land!”
But the word has been so misused to cover the most selfish aims and narrow passions that Dr. Samuel Johnson said in disgust, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”. We must, therefore, distinguish between true patriotism and the spurious article.
False patriotism is an enlarged selfishness and a narrowed nationalism. Patriots of this kind support their country simply because it is to their own private interest to do so, and they do so blindly. Their motto is, “My country, right or wrong”; that is, whatever foreign policy our nation adopts, whether just or unjust, we must support it, without criticism, simply because it is the policy of our country. Such spurious patriots are narrow nationalists and teach that we cannot love our country without despising and hating all other nations. They form the Jingo, or war-loving, party in any country, which is always crying out for war with other nations on the slightest pretext. Their motto is, “Might is right”.
The true patriot, on the other hand, is an unselfish lover of his country. His sincere desire is to serve it in all ways possible. He is proud of his country: but just because he loves it, he does not hesitate to expose its sins, denounce its abuses, and, if he thinks it necessary, to criticise its policy. He is more anxious that his nation should be right rather than that it should be powerful. While he loves his country, he loves other nations too and gladly recognises their virtues and achievements. He would therefore cultivate international friendship, and hate and oppose wars. But if war breaks out, he is the first to fight for his land, and willingly sacrifice his life even in its defence. Such patriotism is one of the noblest virtues.