Patriotism: Through the Looking Glass

Religion may be the opiate of the masses but patriotism is no less potent a drug.
In fact, it was the collective yearning for a land, a desire that developed, and strengthened over years culminating in Israel’s creation. TV channels, the newspapers, and social
media sententiously discuss the national feeling, ‘unity in diversity’, and the like to rouse our sentiments, more often than not, succeeding.

 

The recent past has proved again, and again that before the might of a people united under a common cause, the enemy’s capitulation is an almost fait accompli . It tells of many uprisings, and revolutions where thousands were killed, looted, and raped. These are now depicted as martyrs who sacrificed their life in hope of securing a better future for their children. A kind of Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori . In most cases they were general folk who died for no reason, glorified now to serve various agendas.

 

Today, patriotic zeal has regressed into something execrable. Emboldened by the blind trust of the masses, the government becomes a totalitarian regime where dissenters are repressed by chauvinists, and criminals. Freedom of speech has become quite démodé. The present atmosphere is hardly conducive for growth of genuine, healthy patriotism.

 

As the leader becomes irreproachable, any remarks less than complimentary about him are resented. That is not to say that patriots disempower the citizenry of their rights, but many extremists use patriotism to realise their nefarious objectives. Such a situation breeds a climate of intolerance. One has to have the courage to stand up to one’s own country, if it be in the wrong. Indeed, a patriot is who is brave enough to lambaste the flag-waving ‘nationalists’ and the government who sponsors them as the scourge of the nation.

 

A sort of jingoism, I believe has permeated the national mindset. People promptly go on the defensive if the country is called out for anything. From rational, analytic individuals, the citizens have switched to being poster-boys of the nation. However, we mustn’t disregard the massive role played by the mass media in shaping public opinion. Often the provocative rhetoric of political leaders prejudices the common man against a certain idea, belief, or even an entire community.

 

Indubitably, nationalism fosters a fraternity among otherwise unacquainted men, giving strength in national adversity, and a sense of commonness. Rallies, and processions are wont on special occasions; people celebrate their nationhood with such felicity, and fervor, that one can’t help but be awed by the force of sheer passion, and togetherness that patriotism builds. Many a dictatorial, and colonial government have yielded in face of united national resistance fueled by Amor Patriae. It is astonishing to know what sacrifices a man could make for his country.

 

Oscar Wilde opined ‘Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious’ . Many argue that it is silly to take pride in your place of birth when you could just as easily have been begotten elsewhere.
Not all are agreeable to this argument, and say that with no small amount of vehemence. I suggest we take the middle path: love your nation, recognize it’s failings, and work to mitigate them.

 

More and more youngsters are socio-economically aware; they realize that the institutions, and the leader aren’t
the very epitome of rectitude. It’s destabilizing nature now obvious, extreme nationalism is, and must continue to be shunned. Instead of debating, and discoursing on trifling matters, we must get to some real work. Patriotism is in some cases, a virtue, but in many, a bane of the society.
Au fond, Patriotism binds us, but blinds us

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Trifling Pleasures

Sometimes it isn’t
a major event
or something sudden
to make you content
it could be a thrill
something fate has meant
a mark of goodwill
bringing smiles reminiscent

A thoughtful gesture
will bring
to someone’s step
a happy spring,
or a genial smile
sans mischief, or guile
Seeing their gratification
and your resulting satisfaction
will make it seem worthwhile

When you awake
nigh on daybreak
in bed snug
like under a drug
feeling a fulfilment deep
then drifting back to sleep

Just a lovely eve
with the vestiges of light
poised to leave
soon to be night
ensconced on a bench, I
let out a wistful sigh

What Lies Ahead

A grim world awaits
like Devil at gates of Hell
a nebulous journey
the future does foretell
on my adult life my
mind does dwell

 

Often one wonders
how one shall perform
will my manner to
the standards conform
could the time hence be
a baffling maelstrom

 

Oh innocence
why dost thou flee
let me that simple,
ingenuous child be
For I do not believe
that I’m even ready

 

While I’m hopeful but
with a certain dread
some paint a bleak
picture instead
and the question ever-persists
What, ultimately lies ahead ?

 

 

 

 

Veritas

Deception surround
the very last vestige
In cacophony, a sound
subdued, yet of prestige

Triumphant mendacity
pervades far wide
while righteous veracity
is thrown aside

The power of truth
many resent
when asked for it
remain reticent

Truth is bitter
be that as it may
yet many times better
than a lie that’ll betray

Tenacious, many cling
to fibs, and lies
failing to see under
their saccharine guise

In responding honestly
never tarry
The burden of falsehood
never carry

Spurn encumbering untruth
to truth loyal be
you will find that
it shall set you free

Arabia

Unfree yet free
a land of complexity
gives off an aura,
of peace, and security

Munificence dwells
every place
A hauteur radiates
from people’s face

Heat of harrowing degree
strikes a bare desert
a nation of many
and daunting challenges

With the muezzin’s call
the realm rises to pray
such fervor for faith
unwonted today

This barren land
blessed in none
Men flock to a place
with resources but one

Something about this
region, and its inhabitants too
sand, and concrete
black, and white
brings home to you

 

 

 

 

Down the Memory Lane

Nostalgia strikes hard,
a sentiment arcane
wells up in the heart,
down the memory lane

Memories revive
in familiar terrain,
from vacant to alive
down the memory lane

Reminiscence of days
brings pleasant pain
of games, and birthdays
down the memory lane

A random remembrance
will a smile sustain,
passing soon into evanescence
down the memory lane

Clutching on to past
is in vain,
olden days don’t last
down the memory lane

The recollections of yore
beguile, and entertain,
those moments we adore
down the memory lane

An au fait smell, or sound
makes one fain,
and takes you down
down the memory lane
Now, that time
seems idyllic, somewhat inane
Awed I’m
down the memory lane

 

Ruins

Atop a flaming chinar
perches a nostalgic nightingale,
the placid waters of Dal
sketch many a sorrowful tale
of death, and despair,
and a war-ravaged vale

Her paradise is lost
though beauty still remains
in verdant meadows
besmirched with bloodstains

In the quiet of night
a mother weeps
for her son’s memory lives
in a photograph she keeps

This calamity ridden nation
is given no respite
at the end of the tunnel
not a flicker of light

 A comely princess
claimed by two princes
neither seek her consent
as the conflict evinces

Fate, here has foisted
many a ruinous bane
cant, deluge, quakes
and tyrannical reign

A gloom has
settled over life
Many maimed, killed
in a meaningless strife

Barbed wire, sand bags and
stolid soldiers are suffice
To say what has become
the once paradise

Social Networks Have Made Youngsters Bold


“I fear the day when technology will surpass human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”

Doesn’t this half a century old claim made by the renowned scientist Albert Einstein seem veracious right now. Bespectacled, stooping, gangly teens peering over their gizmos; (sigh) a sorry sight. Boldness is the willingness to take risks and act confidently. It is generally acquired when one interacts with people and his surroundings. With the new generation refusing to engage in face-to-face interaction and preferring communication through text and images, diffidence has developed as a trait common to many. To discuss the topic “Social networks have made youngsters bold” I, Ahsan Firdaus will present a few examples against the motion.

Today, misinformation among the youth is pervasive. Statistics say that 49.1 % of the users have read false news on social media. That means about half of our young people have got the wrong info. Bold doesn’t always have virtuous connotations. We see that nowadays, boldness has become synonymous with brashness, irreverence for the elderly, and unreasonable aggression. Youngsters think it ‘cool’ to break laws, disobey their parents and use profane language. If this is the boldness taught by sites like Facebook & Instagram then the Lord help us. The most frightening thing about the social media is its addictive nature. Users spend a lot of time surfing these sites. This hinders their ability in developing real social skills and confidence. Also, it leads to unhealthy competition between friends on profile photographs and teens acquiring narcissistic tendencies.
Hate speech directed towards certain communities is becoming rampant as the days pass by and this is because Facebook permits hate groups to recruit and distribute propaganda online. The temerarious youth are easily drawn to such things and end up ruining their futures. In order to generate finance, some social networks sell our personal information to organizations who use it for nefarious purposes. So, essentially, a new form of crime has evolved as the internet is expanding i.e. Cyber crime whose perpetrators are often difficult to apprehend.

Along with the law-abiding civilians, there exists a large numbers of criminals on social networking sites who stalk people and commit identity theft, often engaging in blackmail. Youngsters who fall prey to them suffer from low-self esteem and instead of being bold, they develop qualities of timidity. Texting has reduced the amenities of conversation to mere words. It has significantly affected the quality of english used by teens in communication. I would say that although social networks come with great benefits, their cons weigh heavily over the pros. The youth of our country is capable of becoming bold and street-smart by conversing in a real world with real people, playing games physically and not on the gadgets.

Death

Approaches sure and silent
Taking hold of the soul
for some a release for many violent
And it is ghastly

The body loses its vigor
its effect being immediate
being a sudden trigger
to the relinquishment of vitality

Men are born to die
Immortality is an unattained virtue
Life is a transitory period, sigh
the benefits of which we must pursue

It’s a strange thing, demise
an unwelcome guest
foisting an unpleasant surprise
not quite understood

Causing grief & pain
it picks out victims at random
all efforts at its prevention go in vain
it comes when it pleases

Death liberates
yet is undesirable
because it separates
from the world

It is felt but not seen
till those few moments
when mortal breathes his last breath
glimpsing at the pale face of death

Best Jokes Ever!

  • A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: ”Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!” The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: ”The driver just insulted me!” The man says: ”You go up there and tell him off. Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”
  • Two hunters are in the woods, when one of them suddenly collapses. He wasn’t breathing, and his eyes looked glazed. Thinking quickly, the other guy grabs his cell phone and calls for help. He shouts at the emergency operator, “I think my friend is dead! What do I do!?” “Calm down”, the operator says in a soothing voice, “I can help you. But first, we need to make sure he’s dead.”

The phone goes silent for a second, then the operator hears a gunshot; “Ok”, says the hunter, “now what?”

  • Two friends are playing golf one day at their local golf course. One of the guys is about to chip onto the green when he sees a long funeral procession on the road next to the course. He stops in mid-swing, takes off his golf cap, closes his eyes, and bows down in prayer. His friend says: “Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You truly are a kind man.” The man then replies: “Yeah, well we were married for 35 years.”
  • This woman rushed to see her doctor, looking very much worried and all strung out. She rattles off: “Doctor, take a look at me. When I woke up this morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my hair all wiry and frazzled up, my skin was all wrinkled and pasty, my eyes were bloodshot and bugging out, and I had this corpse-like look on my face! What’s WRONG with me, Doctor!?”

The doctor looks her over for a couple of minutes, then calmly says: “Well, I can tell you that there ain’t nothing wrong with your eyesight….”

  • An elderly couple goes to Burger King, where they carefully split a burger and fries. A trucker takes pity on them and offers to buy the wife her own meal. “It’s all right,” says the husband. ”We share everything.” A few minutes later, the trucker notices that the wife hasn’t taken a bite. ”I really wouldn’t mind buying your wife her own meal,” he insists. ‘She’ll eat,” the husband assures him. ”We share everything.”

Unconvinced, the trucker implores the wife, ”Why aren’t you eating?”
The wife snaps, ”Because I’m waiting for the teeth!”

  • Indians ask their new chief whether the winter will be cold or mild. Since the young chief never learned the ways of his ancestors, he tells them to collect firewood, then he goes off and calls the National Weather Service.
    ”Will the winter be bad?” he asks.
    ”Looks like it,” is the answer.
    So the chief tells his people to gather more firewood. A week later, he calls again. ”Are you positive the winter will be very cold?”
    ”Absolutely.”
    The chief tells his people to gather even more firewood, then calls the Weather Service again: ”Are you sure?”
    ”I’m telling you, it’s going to be the coldest winter on record.”
    ”How do you know?”
    ”Because the Indians are gathering firewood like crazy!”

Source: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-most-profound-jokes-ever?redirected_qid=248009