Patriotism is the love of one’s own country. It is a divine spark in the human breast. I teach a man to love his own native land more than anything else. A patriot thinks no sacrifice too great for his country he is ever prepared to die for his motherland. Cowper says, “England with all thy faults, I love thee still.’
Patriotism is a noble virtue. The Sanskrit proverb says that your mother and motherland are greater than the heaven. In our country’s distress or danger we should be ready to stand by het to work for het, to lay down our lives for her if need be. But this should not bind us to the fact that patriotism is everything, it may not be always the highest duty of man. A narrow-minded exclusive patriotism is a positive danger. Nothing is more criminal than the senseless cry of the English poet, “My Country, right or wrong’. This sort of spirit to applaud whatever belongs to your country and condemn what belongs to others is also equally foolish. ‘Patriotism has become,’ says H.G. Wells, ‘a mere national self assertion, a sentimentality of flag-cheering with no constructive duties’. This hand of patriotism has been denounced by Rabindranath Tagore in his Lectures on Nationalism.
Patriotism as such, often makes people unjust, unfair and ungenerous in their estimate of the people of other countries. Every nation, every country has something definite and distinct to contribute to the cultural heritage of the world. It is foolish to say that anyone nation has all the monopoly of God’s good gifts. Patriotism must be sobered by a proper respect for other people’s culture.
Mahatma Gandhi declared, Patriotism is good, but it must not supersede the feeling of universal love for all humanity. It most not make us indifferent to the growing concept of ‘One World’.
Patriotism should not be mixed up with mere nationalism. If we keep this distinction quite clear, patriotism will never mislead us into vain glorious boastfulness. We must love our country, but we must not hate the people of other country. A true patriot must respect other countries because he respects his own. He must be prepared to learn from them, to help them, to co-operate with them. Then patriotism will gradually be superseded by the cult of universal brotherhood.