Hurtin’ each other, makin’ each other feel bad.
I don’t understand some of the things that mesmerise us and absorb our time and energy. For example, saying Bharat Mata Ki Jai is merely an extension of saluting the motherland… Or in cases of certain other countries, the fatherland.
It has nothing to do with religion, so why obfuscate the issue? Is it even an issue? What is wrong with people? Is this our problem of the day?
Where is the deification? Open to correction but when did you last go and purchase or be gifted a statue of Bharat Mata? There are pictures that are superimposed on the map as artistic license and you don’t want to espouse one, don’t. It is still your motherland. Nothing changes that.
But is it really an issue per se and does it deserve to be another scissor in the constant push to divide communities and generate misunderstanding? Even more depressing is when one of the most loving sentiments is made controversial.
Truly, I have no problem uttering any salutation if I am so addressed. Take religion in itself without going into the semantics of it. In a world where we call ourselves a global village we lose nothing when we respond with “Buddha namo” or “Salaam Aliakum” or “Sat Sri Akal.” If I met a Zoarastrian and I said, “Hamazor Hama Asho Bed,” would I become a lesser person, diminish myself in any way? If I went to church and said Amen, so be it.
The word ‘mother’ is so beautiful and all encompassing. We are a nation that hurls it happily at anyone with a few silver streaks in their hair, not always to their liking. “Mathaji” and “maaji” is a word of endearment and respect that is second nature to Indians and to mess around with it is unseemly and only underscores one fact: there are some people only looking for an excuse to foment trouble.
The issues have now become increasingly trivial and this waste of energy could be channelled for so much more meaningful activity. There is a growing suspicion that everyone with a mad hatter idea wants to air it in the hope of getting attention and basking in that 15 minutes of fame.
Let’s take it further. Does anyone in Ethiopia object to saying Widd Innat Ityopp'ya (March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia) or do they say it bursting with pride. South of the border they say, Sri Lanka Matha and no one falls apart. In Bangladesh who objects when they sing, “In Spring, Oh mother mine, the fragrance from your mango-groves makes me wild with joy-Ah, what a thrill!”
If we start picking on these things where does it end? Don’t watch ‘Mother India’, ban the book of that name by Catherine Mayo. Would you resist saying ‘Mother Mary?’ Don’t have Mother’s day. You wish to speak of fertility don’t use the term ‘Earth Mother.’ Don’t even say, ‘the mother of all battles’ in case someone misunderstands.
People die for their motherland. They play sport for it. They watch their flag go up and what greater glory than to have it whip in the breeze as a tribute to you. Our sweetest songs are those that speak of ‘patriotic’ thoughts… how we have intellectually curdled that word into a curse.
Leave you with a few other thoughts:
Mikhail Kalashnikov (inventor of the AK 47): I made it for my motherland.
Vladimir Putin:I don’t read books by people who have betrayed the Motherland.
Oprah Winfrey: My first day in Chicago, September 4, 1983. I set foot in this city, and just walking down the street, it was like roots, like the motherland. I knew I belonged here.
M.F.Hussein: India is my motherland.
Catherine Helen Spence: As we grew to love South Australia, we felt that we were in an expanding society, still feeling the bond to the motherland, but eager to develop a perfect society, in the land of our adoption.
Liu Yang; I am grateful to the motherland and the people. I feel honored to fly into space on behalf of hundreds of millions of female Chinese citizens.
Having said all this, if it still floats your boat to find some virtue in resisting a salute to your country keep these words in mind:
Breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who never to himself has said,
This is my own my native land,