So do you have national pride?
Are we Indians more critical of ourselves than those of other nationalities? And if we are, does that mean we are not patriotic? Well, I don’t think being critical is being unpatriotic, but perhaps not having pride in our country’s achievements is on the borderline of being unpatriotic.
I want to share this comment by Suchin before I continue
…we are losing on the cultural values we had for many years. this is directly related to patriotism, since the sense of pride for our country is missing…every one seem to bring out their patriotism at the times like our orissa floods or kargil war or say Gujarat earthquake. why this dies down when we are confronted with people from other countries asking us weird questions about India? why don’t we have answers for them, instead we tow their line and belittle our greatness? we can do this because we do not feel the attachment to India anymore.
I do agree with him that letting others know of our achievements and being proud of them is important, and its not enough just to donate money for good causes. However, as I know little about how Indians who live outside India speak about India to foreigners, I can’t write about that.
What I do know is a little something about what Indians in India say and feel about India. I think that they have a very fierce pride in their country, although they are equally fierce in their criticism. I am only referring to urban Indians and that too those whom I know and have met in India. It is very difficult to know about this in a broader sense, beyond my own world.
Therefore I looked for an opinion poll to see if it would bear out my feelings that Indians indeed have great pride in their country.
I did find an opinion poll conducted in 2006 amongst 34 countries by the reputed National Opinion Research Center (NORC) in the United States. Unfortunately India was not surveyed. The survey measured national pride in two ways.
- Asking people about their pride in 10 specific areas of their country: its democratic system, political influence in the world, economic success, social security, science and technological achievements, sports, arts and literature, military, history and fair treatment of all groups in society.
- Asking people to what extent they agreed with such statements as: I would rather be a citizen of my country than any other country in the world ; Generally speaking, my country is a better country than most countries; and I would support my country even if it were in the wrong
I think the second would be a better indicator of national pride than the first, because the answers to the first would depend on whether those various factors are present or not. If they are not present in the country and the person still says it is so, I think it shows a bluffing and boastful attitude rather than patriotism.
However there wasn’t much difference in the scores of countries on these two counts. In (1) the United States was first, followed by Venezuela, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and Canada. Russia, Sweden and Japan were low on the list! In (2) Venezuela scored first, followed by United States, Australia, Austria, South Africa, Canada, Chile, New Zealand and Israel.
Most European countries were in the bottom two-thirds and ex-Socialist countries scored lower than the other European nations. East Asian nations fall in the bottom half, with the exception of Philippines. The “new” nations had lower levels of “national pride”.
I wondered how India would score. I know if I took the survey I would say I was extremely proud of our democracy, our growing political influence in the world, economic success, science and technological achievements, military and history and arts and literature. That is 7 out of 10. But 10 years ago I would have scored 4 out of 10 as India was not a growing political influence and not was it a growing economic power.
So, I don’t think this can be an indicator of patriotism. Some people might even downplay these factors (as the Japanese have done and that’s why they got low scores) because of cultural factors (the Japanese consider it “boastful” to talk in glowing terms about their achievements).
As to the questions asked in the survey, I would say Yes – I would rather be a citizen of my country than any other country in the world , Yes, Generally speaking, my country is a better country than most countries; and Maybe I would support my country even if it were in the wrong (depending on what it was).
Here’s another interesting survey which was India specific and also conducted in 2006. 1,616 citizens in urban India were talked to. Here is the graph:
Just as I thought, most people are proud to be Indian. The answers to other questions show us that this survey was indeed conducted exclusively in urban India!
However, I was rather shocked to know that 55 percent of the people surveyed thought that the justice system treats the rich and poor fairly, and as many as 34 percent of people were undecided! I wonder if people deliberately lied?
The cynicism about fellow Indians is evident in the answers to the question two – 58 percent of people thought that it is other Indians whom we need to be wary of when it comes to security issues.
Also, its clear that we Indians still yearn for government jobs with the security and perks, even if it means less money!
People also seem to be complaining about the falling religious and cultural values and I see that around me as well.