This piece was published in The Wire on Independence Day 2017. Here is the link, and below is an extract:
“While some may argue that it is possible to be ‘proud and responsible at the same time’, pride is too personal and egoistical to allow for the nuance that responsible citizenship entails. Besides, when we teach kids or convince ourselves to feel proud of India and its ancient ‘glorious’ past, we sow the seeds of complacency. It makes one so obsessed with past ‘greatness’ that current dismal failures are forgotten or ignored. A tragic example is of five-time Gorakhpur MP Adityanath, who is unwilling to take responsibility for the condition of his constituency and its health issues, but is ever ready to take pride in India’s so-called glorious Hindu past which he wishes to resurrect and impose on everyone.
This Independence Day, then, let us teach our kids to feel responsible, not proud, as Indians. Let us kindle within young Indians a strong desire to work for a better present and future, as against the ‘proud Indian’ who merely dreams of resurrecting some vague ‘golden age’ from the past.”