Patriotic Tourism

China is fast opening up as a credible alternative. Finally.

Not that I have any issue with Pakistan, despite political antagonism between the two states. I believe they have a similar set of ordinary, toiling, striving, dreaming, hoping human beings as any other place in the world, trying to make life comfortable for themselves and for their near and dear ones, living under the yoke of a successive set of incompetent, egotistic rulers with hidden agendas.

Of course, why any right minded Indian would want to go to Pakistan remains an issue. Similar topography. Similar looking people. Similar food habits. And they even speak the same language. So much so that when they play cricket, the Hindi-based messaging system that both Indian and Pakistan players deploy so effectively against other teams, becomes futile. Were it not for the  histrionics necessitated by the need to prove patriotism, a cricket game between the two would be a quiet one.

But, like it or not, so far Pakistan has been the only option for Indians. For travel. Or, to be more specific, for being threatened with forced travel. In other words, deportation. Not by authorities. But by that responsible and informed, self-appointed judge, the common man. The needing to publicly demonstrate patriotism common man.

And if you are not one who agrees with him, the needing to publicly demonstrate patriotism common man, that is where you must go. Pakistan.

Over seventy years since independence from the British, and still only Pakistan as a deportation option? In this period India has sent satellites into space, beaten Australia in Test cricket on their home ground and moved on from being a socialist state to a free market economy. But Pakistan. Still only Pakistan for deportation. Have you no shame? Or imagination? Or sense of responsibility? Have you not heard of market expansion? Or abundance of choices a free market provides? What will the world say? Though in times of no travel as enforced by the Covid-19 epidemic, travelling anywhere, even Pakistan, might sound like a refreshing change, it is apparent that the needing to publicly demonstrate patriotism common man has shamelessly neglected his duties.

And it is not that opportunities haven’t presented themselves.

Where were you when North Korea apparently made several attempts to assassinate South Korean leaders? Or when the Rangoon bombing happened? Or when tunnels were found under the DMZ? Or when they announced their first nuclear weapons test? Or when the South Korean warship Cheonan was sunk? Or, even as recently as the assassination of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur airport?

Even though they never directly or indirectly threatened the sovereignty of India, could you not have at least threatened to deport anyone to North Korea?

Where were you when this country became a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, bringing the world to the brink of a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Yes, Cuba. Where exactly were you when Cuba was suspected of being involved in a broad range of military activities, from Guinea-Bissau to Syria to Laos, to Sierra Leone to Cape Verde to Mozambique and many other places?

Even though they never directly or indirectly threatened the sovereignty of India, could you not have at least threatened to deport anyone to Cuba?

Or, when a western power initiates military activity in any part of the world to promote peace?

How much nicer, civil, developed, would it be to say, “As you have not forwarded any random unverified forwards proclaiming the bravery of India’s soldiers which will likely be contradicted by other accounts tomorrow, you have been found guilty of being unpatriotic and will be summarily deported. Please pick your choice of deportation destination out of North Korea, Cuba, USA, France, Venezuela and Pakistan and call our Contact Centre for further instructions.” Is it not better than blandly saying, “Go to Pakistan?”

In keeping with the developed world, perhaps throw in a group discount. One unpatriotic Indian will be deported free with every five. And some Amazon vouchers.

Finally, and thankfully, a credible option has emerged in the form of China.

After the Doklam standoff a few months back, the engagement between the Chinese and Indian troops in Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh continues to be a see-saw battle. Even though the physical engagement ended several days back, the tables continue to turn every few minutes with the needing to publicly demonstrate patriotism common man contributing newer and more creative accounts of bravery of the Indian troops and treachery of the Chinese, while the unpatriotic keep asking the government for specifics of the engagement.

Things have come to such a pass that even Shri Vipin Rawat, Chief of Defense Staff of India, has had to modify his game plan because of the threat posed by China. If needing to publicly demonstrate patriotism common man is to be believed, instead of working with the troops and their officers, he is honing his writing and social media skills to ensure that India emerges victorious. As a start, he, seemingly, has penned ten sentences about the Indian Army and is now in the process of making them viral through various means. The pen is mightier than the sword. This will certainly catch the enemies off guard.

We salute you sir. Actually, in all fairness, we salute the needing to publicly demonstrate patriotism common man, the great warrior of the social media world.

I, and many others like me, have been in the cross-hairs of the needing to publicly demonstrate patriotism common man. Because I pay taxes, and try to do so honestly. Because I maintain cleanliness. Do not litter. Even before the present Prime Minister announced the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) in 2014. I ask questions.

For the needing to publicly demonstrate patriotism common man, who had no way of knowing that cleanliness and hygiene were desirable behavioural traits since the Prime Minister had not revealed it earlier, and has been tirelessly extolling the PM’s vision in introducing this revolutionary concept that nobody else could have thought of, this surely amounts to treason. Following before 2014 the vision revealed by the leader only in 2014? Am I mocking the vision of the leader? Asking questions? Let us not even go there.

Now I go and shoot myself in the foot again by not forwarding unverified messages extolling the bravery of soldiers. What was I thinking?

China, here I come.

43 thoughts on “Patriotic Tourism

    • No worries Peter. Just to be level with you, while I SEEM to be ranting about the politicians, and sometimes I do, beneath the surface the rant is normally about the irresponsible, dithering, entitled, scheming common man. In this case, the armchair patriot who tries to occupy the moral high ground. I hope it comes through 😐

      • I understand you 100%, Ankur. I hope my comment did not create the wrong impressions. I’d wish I was a little more outspoken and had a little more courage to stay away from political correctness.

      • Not at all Peter. Though I have to admit I get ghosts of doubts sometimes. Not everyone will appreciate satire. It can open wounds and force one to look in the mirror. So, it is important for me that it is understood as intended while writing. Thank you for your comments and feedback.

      • Or parachute into one of the National Parks as airstrips probably won’t be allowed there. But this is a tough one to respond to. I have to say I have been a fan of America from my early years. Of course as one ages one becomes more ‘balanced.’ We all know that change is inevitable and nothing lasts forever. We also know humans are uncomfortable with change. In my view, America starts with an advantage. It has attracted the best minds from all over the world these last 50 years. It continues to promote free thought and speech; how many other places will allow a police chief in Houston to tell the President off? Most of the big tech innovations of this generation have come from America. Still, who can say what the future holds…

    • Ha ha! Thanks! Also has an intended side benefit. Will make Mr. Bezos even richer so that he can help more needy people, i.e. people who are making him richer, like our patriots.

  1. Dear Sir, It is refreshing in a most wonderful way to have an international commentator of such renown as you who has the foresight and understanding to link three major topics of importance in a way that the UN or the USA or the EU have not; putting satellites into space, winning a cricket test match on foreign soil and changing the whole political landscape of a nation. Well done that man!

  2. I did have to face the wrath of my classmate in school who is a Brigadier now in the army . This was for just commenting on an article which appeared to be exaggerating what happened at Galwan. My comment was ‘that this seems improbable due to ………….’ Brigadier commented that people like me should be sent to the front to fight the enemy. A major General (again a batchmate) agreed with him and so did many others. But the consolation is that no one suggested that I be sent to Pakistan.

    • Pakistan is passe. Flavour of the day is China. Comment again, and you might be able to tick China off your list of destinations. On a serious note, and I think joining the armed forces was a much more common practice in our schools, a classmate from school who would probably be one of the senior-most officers in Kashmir at present, asked folks to stop forwarding and commenting randomly on army activities and let them do their job.

  3. Since I am not very familiar with Indian politics, does Clean India Mission refer to physical cleanliness, or cleaning India of unpatriotic Indians by deporting them to Pakistan or China?

  4. Thought provoking, even more so from when outside of your culture. Your satire is still good to read and try to understand, so thanks for sharing.
    I loved the mention of gaining the upperhand – The pen is mightier than the sword – in relation to the India/China conflict.

  5. Looking at what is happening in this country, I don’t think anyone will mind getting deported. Now the statement might change to “Oh you think other nations are better and clean than our country. ANTI NATIONALIST. Let’s send you back to India.” That will be more scary now.
    And yes before 2014, India didn’t really know what sanitation is because they never saw 50 people cleaning the same road which was much cleaner before. 🙂 It was actually something which nobody could ever think of.
    Btw I loved the satire and those puns that you used. 🙂 Pen is and will be mightier than the sword. Although “publically demonstrate patriotism common man” might need ‘Saat Janam’ to understand the puns used here.

    • Ha ha! So true. More and more people are letting go of their ability to think and discern and just rely on the messaging coming from all sides. If that WhatsApp forward says the PM has made the road cleaner, it must be so. Everybody dreams of conquering the world without taking care of the responsibilities around us. But, what to do. “We are like this only, na!” Thank you for your kind words.

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