Extremism has plagued the human psyche since time immemorial. This problem puts into operation, a psychology that may take up a prodigious form of approach towards one’s own and other nations. Jingoism, an extreme form of patriotism, is a rather underrated issue at hand and encapsulates a belligerent perspective towards other nations, with an obvious upshot of hostility and warlike aggression as part of foreign policy or behavior towards other countries. It is practically impossible to distinguish between jingoism and patriotism, with the former taking up the radical form of latter and manifesting itself into an ideology that has become pervasive in India. Some prominent instances include the attitude of the urban middle class towards the surgical strikes conducted by the Indian Government by waging an armed insurgency as retaliation to the Uri attack.
Clearly, the move was a laudable one and long called for; however, the perception that neighboring countries such as Pakistan are nothing more than terror camps and that they exist for the sole reason of demolishing India is definitely not justified. Quite erroneously, the media has fanned the flames of such a radical form of Nationalism. One biggest example of the media’s fallacy is the unwarranted use of the term ‘surgical strikes’ for every sting operation, reform movement, and raid taking place in the country, making the people live an inflated perception of a triumph every day and downsize the righteous impact of such a measure.
It is not possible to look for concrete reasons for such patriotic sentiments, whose scale may vary, but from a broader perspective, the feelings of jingoism thrive on the sense of insecurity filled with self-doubt and an urge to project one’s own self-worth to others. The want of claiming possession, through association with the foremost becomes so deep-rooted that it breeds a hawkish stance towards other countries.
Jingoism defies pragmatism and an excessive cajoling about the country’s actions and its consequences divert our attention from the most pressing issues. It is easy to criticize neighboring countries while commenting on one’s nation’s grandiosity upfront without scrutinizing the conditions in which millions of slum dwellers are left to languish every day. Such poorest of the poor would clearly not distinguish between India and other nations because irrespective of their nationality, their situation is not improving anyway. Other issues, taken no notice of, are the aggravating situation of the safety of women, the pathetic state of implementation of traffic rules, sanitation as well as civic hygiene problems and much more.
Contemplating about the blatant challenges and evoking a call for action does not make us less of an Indian and more of a fault finder. On similar lines, turning a blind eye to some of the most blatant manifestations of the system in place and chanting love songs for our country does not make us more of an Indian. It is high time we acknowledge our shortcomings, appreciate the merit or superiority of other nations and strive to maintain our moral rectitude. India being the largest democracy in the world, we need to champion the tenets of democracy and edify the principles of tolerance to build a progressive and robust economy.