Thursday, September 27, 2007

Patriotism to the core, maybe!

On 15th of August, I worked. Its not like I had a choice considering the fact that it was a working day over here. Back in India, it would have been a public holiday, where one could get penalized if he/she decides to go to office and work. In schools, there would be Independence Day celebrations and compulsory attendance for flag hoisting. Coming back to what I wanted to relate, I am a very patriotic person and my heart weeps for all those brave Indian soldiers who have given up their lives defending the country. However, I still believe that a Pakistani common man also has the right to live and not be condemned just because he is from Pakistan.

On the same day, I went out with my colleague for lunch. She wanted to treat me so I relented (never a big deal) and we went out to this select Sandwich place near the office. After lunch, the owner remarked that she was celebrating the Independence Day. To me, they seem to know each other. She smiled and agreed with the old man. He asked her whether she was celebrating the Pakistani Independence Day, and there was a big outburst from her. She literally shouted at the old man saying that it is the Indian Independence Day that she was celebrating and how dare he ask her that question. The old man all terrified replied that he himself being a Pakistani thought that she was also one. I just feel that she should have politely refused that she wasn’t celebrating the Pakistani Independence Day since she was an Indian. The outburst was uncalled for. When we came out of the shop, she told me that she will never ever enter that Pakistani shop again. I thought to myself, what about all that times she had dined there earlier, how would she undo that?

It is so very intriguing to note that almost all the Indians out here depend on grocery stores, eateries and restaurants in Canada owned by Pakistanis either knowingly or unknowingly. When it comes to survival, I feel people ignore the source of the food or the grocery item. The only thing is that I get amused when someone gets shocked one fine day, when he/she comes to know that the shop where the groceries has been coming is actually a Pakistani’s. I wonder if the shock is for everyone else to see rather than that person to feel. Maybe, it is to show that he/she is so patriotic that a question of buying stuff from a Pakistani would never have come up if it was known earlier. Is that patriotism?

Yesterday, I was sitting with my colleagues and having lunch when someone mentioned a grocery store called Iqbal’s. All of them were talking about the merits of that particular store, when one person suddenly mentioned that it is a Pakistani store. It was very funny to see the expression of most of the people changing. Since Canada is a multicultural country, it is not hard to find Indians and Pakistanis living in peace and harmony. I only wish if some people would change their mindset and broaden it a little bit when it comes to kindness to fellow human beings, no matter where they come from.


alpine path said...

Yeah! If only people could define patriotism as love for their country and not hate for other countries, the world would be a much better place. And, patriotism is much better if we can help our countries develop positively and give a positive image of our country wherever we are... Just my thoughts!

syrals said...

So very true, indeed! If only people could be like that.