When Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani had proposed back in March’16 about employing retiring junior commissioned officers and soldiers as physical training mentors at central government schools, the motivation behind her idea did not solely lie in the physical and mental influence the soldiers were going to have on children. It was also about inculcating a spirit of patriotism among school students. The minister felt the soldiers’ stories of unmatched heroism; sacrifices and their utmost strength in keeping the securities of India first in all circumstances would undoubtedly help in sculpting India’s future.
Jesse Ventura, the American Politician once said,
Patriotism is voluntary. It is a feeling of loyalty and allegiance that is the result of knowledge and belief. A patriot shows their patriotism through their actions, by their choice.
Venturing into the wisdom of such estimation we understand how patriotism can build up its ground among the youth from an early age with the choice to freely evaluate, analyze and perform accordingly. So, the question lies in what can educational institutions at the primary level do about it – are the school assemblies or taking pledges before starting classes or singing patriotic songs occasionally helping enough to defer that the idea of patriotism is relative or not. Ofcourse patriotism cannot be forced on children for the sake of it but to plant a seed of understanding of its basics, there are initiatives that schools can take.
Connect the students with the idea of patriotism
Teachers carry the burden of responsibility of setting examples of good and positive attitude. Since a teacher’s attitude, good or bad, is picked up fast by students, they must be careful about the comments they make. In this time of political disorder, where politicians exhibit little respect towards the flag and nation and are very much discourteous towards each other, it is very easy to adapt bitterness.
It is good to be critical of the government but a constructive criticism gives way to intellectuality among children. Spreading hate based on personal biasness is another way of manipulating the existence of our country which is eccentric for the value of its freedom. The motive of teachers must not be only to boast of the country’s importance but to make students aware how the good and bad are combining together to form India whose embracement lies in the students’ understanding of the principles of liberty, equality and justice.
Modification of lessons
There is a dire need to change the way history, governance and literature is taught at the primary level in our country. Using lackadaisical approaches, monotonous and half-detailed textbooks hardly helps in igniting the students’ imaginations, or in stimulating their sense of gratitude and enlightening about the prices our nation had to pay for retaining its identity. By the liberal use of some original documents and enabling access to not only the great speeches but unconventional ones of our freedom fighters to the unsung heroes can encourage a sense of relativity with patriotism for our country, as the background of understanding retains truthfulness based on evidence. Teachers can also take the help of videos and lyrically-important songs which shall give an insight into the lives of our forefathers before and after independence.
Sharing stories through our role models
Schools can imbed a sense of belonging among students if they often invite defense dignitaries and significant personalities to share their stories of struggle and victory with children. This will not only provide the children an opportunity to have proper close interaction with the respected dignitaries but also fuel up their curiosity drastically as interpersonal communication is anytime better than reading facts from pages.
Learning about Indian history not only instills patriotism but it is the best way to discover a sense of responsibility for one’s own country because history comes with a baggage of sacrifices of our previous generations, its predictions on creating a land of integrity and prospect and its disposition to safeguard the democracy of our nation.