India celebrates her Independence Day every year on 15th August, and as such, every single person, for one day, becomes patriotic. They sing songs about the country, watch movies about the spirit of India, wear traditional clothing, and celebrate as a community, all while saluting the flag. And that’s wonderful. But what happens on the 16th? Nothing. Everyone goes back to their regular lives, and probably won’t think about all this right upto the 26th of January. Till then, our ‘patriotism’ goes on hold.
But what if we told you that you could be more patriotic, show love and respect towards your country, all in your everyday life? And traditional wear and flags have nothing to do with it. It’s about you and your civic sense towards not just your country, but also towards your fellow citizens, and even yourself.
So here are five ways you can serve your country, and make her a better place:
1. Obey the laws of the land
Yup. All of them. That means that you should follow traffic rules like wearing your seatbelt or helmet, wait till the signal turns green before you cross, have a valid license, all of it. It also means that you should pay your taxes (on time), file for the necessary licences for your tasks/business, and drink alcohol responsibly.
This is probably one of the most important tools given to any citizen as one turns an adult – the power to vote. You have the power to decide where the future of the country is heading, and it is a responsibility that you need to both acknowledge as well as fulfill. Make sure you register for voting, and when the time comes around, go out and cast that vote, whichever way you feel is right.
3. Be open to all religions and communities
One of the first things you must’ve learnt in your civics class is that one of India’s biggest strengths is it’s Unity in Diversity. With a culture that is a culmination of various states, traditions, religions, languages, dialects, and backgrounds, all coming together. Isn’t that what makes India so wonderful and colorful? It’s high time we started celebrating our differences instead of fighting over them.
4. Invest in social work and charities
By invest, we don’t necessarily mean money. You can easily invest your time and energy into social work too. But whatever you do, never lose sight of the fact that if you are doing well in life, there’s also someone out there who isn’t. And if India is to succeed as a country, all it’s people need to succeed too. You can donate to charities, or volunteer with NGOs. From old age homes, where you can give company and some much needed stimulating conversation, to animal shelters caring for the forgotten ones, there are endless options. And if you are pressed for time, and cannot do something of the kind on a regular basis, you can assist in occasional projects that come up now and again. A regular requirement at exam time is for writers for blind and handicapped students. The options are many, you just need to figure out what will give you the most happiness.
5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This one is not only easy to do, it’s a change you bring about in your every day life that will bring a genuine difference to not only the country you belong to, but also to the environment as a whole. Reduce the amount of waste you produce, and try to use as many eco-friendly, responsibly sourced, sustainable products. Reuse the products you do own. If it’s not possible to reuse them in the same way they were meant to be used, find a way to repurpose them. Old clothes can be turned into everything from cleaning rags to bags, depending on your level of creativity. Milkshake bottles make not only great, non-plastic, water bottles, they can even be used as vases. And finally, recycle. Whether it is old newspapers and magazines, shampoo bottles, or even rubber tyres, it can all be recycled.
All of these points might seem too minor to make a difference, but the truth is that each and every one of us makes up this country. We, as a whole, define and shape what India is. So how each of us conducts ourselves really does make a difference to the whole. After all, each drop of water is responsible for making up the ocean as a whole. Let’s make our country great by first being great citizens ourselves. Happy Independence Day!