Monday, February 24, 2014

What are you? A Religious first or a Patriotic first?

Before you read this article

Ask yourself "Do you consider yourself a Religious first or a Patriotic first?" You may be both but what comes first to you? Save your answer in your mind and with that context continue reading ahead ...

Are Indians religious first or patriotic first?

A decade  back, I was reading a news about some religious clashes in India. I felt disturbed on why are we so religiously influenced that we end up fighting and killing each other. Don't they understand that ultimately it is our own Indian brothers and sisters who are being killed? Why do our religious sentiments get over our patriotic sentiments? Are Indians religious first or patriotic first?

What Am "I" a Religious first or a Patriot first?

The only way to find out was to ask myself, my family, friends, colleagues and people I know, if they considered themselves Religious or Patriotic first. I started with myself, and the answer was a clear "I am a patriotic first". I had ample reasons to believe that - I respect religious sentiments but I rarely go to temples or do pooja and things usually associated with religion. On other hand, like any other patriot, I will give my life for my country.

I continued asking the same to almost every one I knew, and a good 90% answered "I am a patriot first". This answer confused me - While 90% people said that they are patriots, then why is India fighting on religious sentiments? I doubt my people sample was wrong - I collected data from teens to adults, across various class of our society, religions, sex, professionals including politicians, business, government. I knew there was a disconnect some where - but where?

Really? You are patriotic first? Then ask this to yourself ...

Taking a step back I challenged myself to one simple question to - Am I really a patriot first? The answer led me to a surprising self-discovery that shook me inside out! I asked myself "How easily can I decide to change my citizenship?" I thought for a while and said it's not very difficult - for a better quality of life, growth etc I can do that. Then I asked myself "How easily can I decide to change my religion?" ................ I was stumped ... I just couldn't say what I thought I would say ...  within seconds my answer changed from 'May be ..." to "No way!" ...

What was it that an Indian like me who hardly follows religion, who never differentiated anyone or anything based on religion, who believes all religions are equal and it doesn't matter if one belongs to whatever faith. How come I said that I will NOT change my religion but willing to change my Citizenship? In reality then how come I am a patriotic first? .... The fact is that I am not - whether I myself agree or not some where sub-consciously, there is a strong force that is driving me towards religion - perhaps its the social, cultural Indian fabric that I am made of. Perhaps its something else.  I don't know as of now.

I plan to find the truth behind this and cover it in my next article, but meanwhile did you get stumped by the question "How easily can you decide to change your citizenship/religion? Then please write your comments below, your answers will give me new insights and a reasoning that could answer this strange behavior for those who say "I am a patriotic first" ...


  1. Read the first para..where u asked the question..n my ans to it was Religion..till the last para :)

    1. :) ... thank you for your comment. I am now more curious to see if the answers from other netizens is primarily Religious first :) ...

  2. I don't think we should compare religion with patriotism. Patriotism is love for the country and religion is belief in God. Both are two different things that cannot be mixed or compared.Religion is what is taught to us when our brain is not developed and patriotism is developed in a person out of education and knowledge.

    Changing citizenship only changes location to what we desire and changing religion means to change oneself which requires a lot of thought.

    So I think both are two different things.