Values and patriotism

Amal Chatterjee
11 min readSep 19, 2018


Source : Google photo

Synopsis : A country is known for its core values that its leaders are expected to adhere to because these values define the people who choose their government in a free and fair election. Where the people fail to choose wisely, the consequences can be catastrophic for them and they suffer.

I refuse to watch TV programs where transvestites in miniskirts, fake hair and painted lips make jokes at the expense of others and use vulgar language to entertain the audience. Often they do not stick to the time allotted to them by the television channel and go over time because they think they are entertaining the audience that wants them to continue.

When the camera focuses on the audience, you will notice that they are mostly the uneducated people with missing teeth and wearing hand me down clothes or what they call ukay ukay here and who wait for hours outside to get a seat in the auditorium. I call them the grass root people ( GRP )who comprise the vast majority of the population in this country whom the transvestites entertain in hour long programs every day.

Beyond the studio, there are millions of GRPs who avidly watch these shows and flock to movie houses to watch the comedy movies of the transvestites because they want to be entertained and laugh to momentarily forget their pitiful existence and daily struggle for life. These shows are sponsored by the business people who want to advertise their products every five minutes of the show selling soap and shampoo or skin whitening products.

This saturation advertisement seven days a week, hundreds of time a day gets its desired result and their sales go up. They reap a windfall of profit so they sponsor these mindless TV programs to influence the vast audience that go out and buy their products in small sachets because the GRPs cannot afford to buy the full bottles.

What is remarkable is that they almost never discuss anything that matters to the people, the country and to the future because their sole emphasis is on cheap entertainment. They do not know nor do they care about the issues that the cheap talking and baby kissing politicians claim as their reasons for running for the public office who make a lot of fake promises to uplift the country and help the poor out of their vicious poverty.

The GRP voters do not ask serious questions about the country and its future so there is no debate and the goons surrounding the politicians make sure that there are no trouble makers in the crowd who ask embarrassing questions. The crowd often demands the politicians to dance and sing for them so a presidential candidate dances and sings to entertain the crowd. This is televised nationally.

So I ask myself what is wrong with this scenario where the uneducated masses are more concerned about the entertainment and less about the country, its problems and the ways to overcome them. They also know from their experience that the politicians always lie and make fake promises which they soon forget when they get elected.

I ask why the vast majority of the uneducated population does not care about the country, its lack of progress and why the millions of poor people remain poor decade after decade and why there are no mass movements to raise their consciousness about the issues they should be concerned with. They vote often in rigged elections where they take money or food from the candidates for their vote and curse when they receive money or food below their expectation.

Is this how a democracy works or should work where the voters do not participate in the nation building? They are the same kind of people who elected a rogue president in another so called democracy who thinks he is above any law and does whatever he likes.

I was watching the U tube videos lately to learn what it means to be a responsible citizen and how to participate in the nation building. The speakers at mass rallies to energize the youth to make them better citizens in India were retired army generals, intellectuals and religious leaders who organize such camps where thousands of young boys and girls from all over the country are gathered to learn from the soldiers what it means to be patriotic, what they have sacrificed to make the country safe and what are the core values of a nation.

I wish I could include here a few links to such videos but unfortunately they are all in Hindi that my international readers will not understand so I will just write about it.

The core values of a nation define that nation. Its army represents its core values and respects the flag. The soldiers who sacrifice their lives in wars so that we can remain free come from the masses and do not hesitate to face the dangers of combat because they believe in the country that needs their help in defeating the enemy. Many die; some are gravely injured so they can never live a normal life while others come back from the battle field to tell their dangerous stories and the bravery of the soldiers.

If the nation abandons its core values of fair justice and equal treatment of all, its humanitarian work through the UN mission to make and maintain peace somewhere, its aid to development work in poorer countries, its aid to refugees and willingness to take in refugees who only seek a safe life somewhere, its willingness to give asylum to those who seek it for security and political reasons then that nation isolates itself from the world community in the name of political expediency like what is now happening in America and in some countries of Europe.

This core value of caring , sharing and giving aid to those in need comes from the mass consciousness of its people who believe in those values and contribute to those values even if they can’t afford. They are the recruits who join the army to fight for the country when the country needs them. In return they get nothing more than a cheap coffin and their names etched in stone somewhere that people soon forget.

Often this kind of patriotism that propels them to join the army gets them to a war in other countries because of their faith in their commanders who tell them that fighting the enemy in their own country is better than fighting them on the homeland soil so they went to Germany to fight the Nazis and Guadalcanal to fight the Japanese and defeated them.

But when this sense of patriotism is betrayed by their own government, they lose heart in fighting in a country when that country had never attacked them. Then they start asking questions like why we are here and why we are fighting and killing people who meant no harm to us. They asked why they were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan that had never attacked them and why they are still fighting in the Middle East.

So the core values of a country and its people is like a moral compass that tell them to do what is right and fight what is wrong and do it voluntarily but not under forced conscription and false premises like during the Vietnam War.

But a country is run by the politicians who get elected fairly or unfairly and assume the role of leaders in a democratic society where they decide or fail to decide what is good for the country. People seldom play a role in such decisions so a president decides to drop an atom bomb on innocent men, women and children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that kills hundreds of thousands and maims more for life but he is not accountable to anyone or any court of law, local or international.

When the citizen’s role in nation building is only limited to casting their votes in a rigged election to elect corrupt politicians and where the elected politicians show only contempt for the voters because they feel so powerful once elected, the country loses its heart and soul because it loses the opportunity in their elected officials who are supposed to be accountable to uphold all that are a part of their core values.

People say that the scum always floats to the top so this is also applicable in any society where the bad people get to the top and become corrupt to enrich themselves at the expense of tax payers because they feel omnipotent and do whatever they want and not what the country wants. In such countries the aspirations of people are set aside and their core values are trampled upon.

The politicians play one group against the other to their advantage keeping an eye on the next election. The baby kissing and dancing or singing to please the uneducated voters just to get their votes is a small price to pay to get to the top where some become immensely rich and make their friends and relatives rich.

Believe it or not, there were elections in Haiti, Congo and in Iran where the voters were required to put their names on the ballot counterfoil to show who they voted for so they voted out of fear and not out of sympathy for a certain candidate. In other countries there are purges of voter’s names from the voter’s list if they are known to support and were going to vote for a good candidate and not for a corrupt and brutal man. In Asia, it is a common practice to eliminate the opposition by killing the candidate just before or during the election so that a corrupt politician wins because it is hard to pinpoint the mastermind who covers his trail well.

The young generation that comes of age to vote can then make a difference in electing a government that represents them and represents their values. Do not forget that it was mostly the young people of America who protested in the streets all over the country to end the war in Vietnam in the 1970s that put pressure on the government to leave Vietnam and bring the war to a close. Do not forget that it was the young who marched in a nationwide protest in France that brought pressure on De Gaulle to end the war in Algeria.

Source : Google photo of Netaji Bose and the Indian national Army (INA)

Do not forget that 65000 young soldiers of the British Army in India joined the Indian National Army of Bose that forced England out of its colony. They were very young soldiers who believed that fighting their oppressors was the right thing to do because it was a part of their core value of fighting injustice wherever and whenever possible.

So young people who are idealistic and are carriers of their core values to the next generation can and do make a difference when their core values are threatened by anyone like they did in France or the United States. When they knew that they had to go to Europe to stop the Nazis, they went gladly although thousands did not return to tell their tales to their children or grandchildren.

Source : Google photo of General Patton

General Patton once addressing his troops in Europe exhorted them by saying “ It is not your patriotic duty to die for your country because there is no glory in it. It is all crap. You should make your enemy die for his country. You should go through them like shit goes through goose.”

Patton never minced his words and was known for his straight talk and colorful language. During his time the patriotism was so defined but later this sense of patriotism declined during the Vietnam war because young people started to question the wisdom of those who said that we should go and defeat the commies because they are the enemies.

So when a country wanders away from its core values, the young often are the ones who start questioning and take to the streets to protest. Young Jane Fonda had the courage to go to Hanoi to stand with the Vietnamese against the war that angered her Hollywood famous actor father who was a strong supporter of the war.

Source : Google photo of Jane Fonda

Source : Google photo of Bob Dylan

Source : Google photo of Joan Baez

Source “ Jane Fonda, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and John Lennon as activists

Jane Fonda was also constantly harassed by the FBI and the war hawks who called her names but she had the courage to stand up to them all and later proved that she was right all along. She also had tremendous influence on the young generation that came out in very large numbers to protest. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and many others were also the inspirations to many in the antiwar movement. John Lennon’s Imagine ( listen here)is still sung by millions because it is such a beautiful song.

The core value I am writing about are moral and humane that are just the opposite of those values that are espoused by the dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mobuto or Duvalier who have all been relegated to the dustbin of history because their values were immoral, inhuman and opportunistic to serve their own ambitions.

Source : Google photo of General Bakshi

So I was very impressed by the straight talk of General Bakshi in India who said that “we the soldiers who have fought to keep the country safe are now old and will pass on the torch to you ,the young generation who will someday become someone important to lead the nation in a just and moral way and honor the core values of the nation”.

The crowd of young boys and girls who had gathered there from all over India went wild and cheered him with standing ovation that brought tears to the General’s eyes. It also made me feel proud to be a part of a country that has produced such generals.

In conclusion I can say that a country cannot develop and make progress unless its citizens believe in core values of morality, justice for all, fair and equal treatment of all irrespective of caste, color and race or ethnicity, in inclusive growth for all and not just to serve the elites, in food, shelter and clothing for all at a cost they can afford, universal healthcare and old age pension, care for the old, sick and orphans etc. so my list is long.

However, the most important thing to remember is to awaken the common people especially the young generation and remind them that they all have a role to play in shaping their country so they should not just be spectators but rather take a participatory role in the development of their country.

They can’t do it by just asking the politicians to sing and dance to entertain them. Leave that to the transvestites who are good at it.

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