June 17, 2006

The peacock, the mango and hockey

Some more thoughts arising from a recent discussion.

  • I don't like peacocks -- got tired of them after being woken up by their calls once too often in Pilani. I don't look at them any more.

    Am I anti-national?

    Suppose I go to the curator at the zoo and tell him, if my kids look at peacocks I'll take them home. Apart from the laughing noises I expect to hear from all around me, am I interfering with the functioning of this country?

  • I've never once watched the Republic Day parade in Delhi. I haven't taken my kids there either.

    Am I anti-national?

    Suppose I go to the Lt Governor of Delhi and tell him, if my kids watch the parade, I'm leaving Delhi. Apart from the laughing noises I expect to hear from all around me here as well, am I interfering with the functioning of this country?

  • Some people say they don't want to sing Vande Mataram.

    Are they anti-national?

    Suppose they go to their kids' school authorities and say, if our kids sing Vande Mataram, we'll withdraw them from the school. Apart from the laughing noises I expect to hear from those authorities, are these people interfering with the functioning of this country?

  • Many kinds of mangos, but not all, I don't care for. I have friends and family who will not even acknowledge anything but Alphonso (Hapus) as mangos at all.

    Are we all anti-national?

    Suppose we go to the local fruit-market ... well, you get the picture.

  • Here in Bombay, there are regularly hockey tournaments featuring some of our best players. They play their games in front of completely empty stands.

    Are all of us who don't go see the game anti-national?

    Suppose I ... well, you get the picture again I'm sure.


    Hockey is our national game. Vande Mataram is our national song. The peacock is our national bird. The R-Day parade is arguably our most visible spectacle of nationhood and patriotism. The mango is our national fruit.

    Think about it.

    Michael Bains said...

    That's very well put, Dilip.

    In theory, I couldn't care less if English is the "National Language" of the US. In practice, I'm always more curious than perturbed when non-english speacking folks struggle with it in front of me in lines (oh yah! happens all the time! {rollin'eyes}) at Gov't agencies.

    vivre la difference!

    Hmm.. Now why am I craving mango for lunch...? {-;

    Anonymous said...

    Patriotism: " .. feeling of devotion and love for one's own homeland " ...(1)

    Feeling: " .. An emotional state or disposition ... An emotion ... A tender emotion ... A fondness" ..(2)

    Devotion: " .. Ardent, often selfless affection and dedication, as to a person or principle. See synonyms at love..." ...(3)

    Love: " .. A very strong feeling of affection .." ...(4)

    Homeland: ".. The concept of the territory to which one belongs; usually, the country in which a particular nationality was born .. " ...(5)

    Substituting 2,3,4,5 in 1 we get:

    Patriotism: " An emotion of ardent, selfless, strong affection for the country to which one belongs"

    Therefore expressions of patriotism are necessarily expressions of a certain emotion. We also know that different people do not "express" the same emotion in the same manner.

    For instance:
    I might choose to express my patriotism by staying in India and working rather than going abroad.

    Or by analysing social injustices in my community/neighbourhood/society and trying for reform.

    Or by rooting for India in a sports encounter.

    Or ... in an infinite number of additional ways.

    Or by myriad permutations and combinations of the above.

    And it is perfectly possible that you might choose some from among an infinity of other ways for expressing your patriotism.

    What a limitless variety of choices! What a luxury!!

    Sad that we have to bring it down to "if you do not express your patriotism in the way I decree, you are not a patriot".

    Why not devise some better litmus tests for patriotism if we must? Like whether our work benefits the nation in a REAL way? Even if it is in a small way?

    Unknown said...

    Lal Salaam !

    barbarindian said...

    Communists like you and Arundhati Roy are anti-national in my book. Unless of course the whole of India embraces communism as a philosophy.

    You deliberately spin lies and try to spread religious and communal hatred. These are serious offenses.

    LOL @Stalingam!

    Anonymous said...

    If you claim that you wont look at peacocks because looking at peacocks, which are Indias national bird implies giving respect to India, and giving respect to anything other than your Gos is forbidden in your religion - It is obvious that your loyalties to your religion are higher than your loyalty to your country.

    That makes you a traitor on a time delay fuse.


    Anonymous said...

    where is the argument about patriotism?

    U dont want to eat mangoes, dont want to watc peacoks...fine uptil there.

    What is the point in issuing a fatwa regarding the same condemning everyone in ur community to do these things?

    Now instead of going on harping about some issue that isnt, please answer in context of the issuing of fatwa here.

    One person has a problem, take apersonal decision. Why did it become one of the community?

    U dont like a peacock...can u bring out a fatwa in "nationa" interest saying its wrong for the whole community?

    Anonymous said...

    Dear Dilip,

    I am truly disappointed by reading both your posts especially when you claim they are pertient to the discussion we had on my blog.

    For some reason, you have taken a position that singing Vande Mataram is being touted as a test of patriotism. By lowering your argument to that of the lowest common denominator as represented by Shiv Sena, you have failed those of us who have taken a much more nuanced position. My opposition is to the blatant inteference of clerics in issues they have no business poking their nose in, my rant is against holding a community to ransom because a few have given themselves the power to decide what constitutes a good Muslim. My grouse is against those who have doubted our secular institutions. Far from being an act of individual freedom, it has degenerated into an act of collection coercion.

    You have chosen to ignore such considerations and instead concentrated on just the citizen ship part. That is not fair on your part.

    Let me say something else, apart from Shiv Sena loonies for whom no logic applies, a lot of people who have ranted against this fatwa see it as another act of minority communalism. They may not be as articulate as you are and they may not be able to make a reasoned argument but their concern is genuine. For some reason, those who have appropriated for themselves the labels of progressive and liberals have chosen to blink at acts of minority communalism, starting right from the Shahbano case. At their door lies a large blame for the rise of Hindu right. Such folks, however well meaning they might be serve neither the cause of secularism and nor of those whose cause they ostensibly espouse.

    I will be hugely disappointed my friend, if you chose to side with such folks.

    Anonymous said...

    Tum log kya boring log ho !

    Just Do the Dew, whichever way you want to and let others do theirs.

    - Z

    Anonymous said...

    I am most surprised by how Mr DSouza has written this post without linking to the discussion on another blog which forms the context and motivation for this post.

    That way his usual readers won't know how he stretched a genuine argument against collective coercion and made it into one of testing one's patriotism.

    Where's the integrity man?

    Anonymous said...

    Dd, where's the intergrity, man? Answer OK, because your being asked by Rustom Daruwalla aka Anonymous aka David chi-guevarulla ho chi minhuddin khan.

    Anonymous said...

    Rustom, DD's earlier post is here where he points to the confused (couldn't have got a better name) debate.

    Check out the last stanza of Vande Mataram. Why should non-Hindus sing a song that compares the country to Hindu gods?

    Anonymous said...

    Just the kind of post to bolster dwindling readership on this blog eh Dilip?

    >> Where's the integrity man?
    Dilip and integrity? Guy and his pappa pay 1 lakh each to Tehelka and doesn't have a decency to put a disclaimer at end of his article. You expect integrity from such a person?

    Why should non-Hindus sing a song that compares the country to Hindu gods?
    Why should hindu and muslim kids in our convents say 'Our father in heaven' everyday since those priests in those convents say non-Christians will won't go to heaven?

    a true "Salam" to lallu salam
    Naxal Terror Watch

    Dilip D'Souza said...

    Anonymous 10:03am, confused is anything but confused, so your dig is uncalled for.