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Patriotism means love of one’s country. Patriotism is a commendable virtue. There is hardly anyone who does not love his country. The patriots sometimes sacrifice their lives for the good of their respective countries. This spirit of sacrifice has made patriotism a highly noble quality. There is the spirit of sacrifice in patriotism. We have some duty towards the country in which we are born and live. If a person does not love his country he will die “Unwept, unhonoured and unsung.” 

A man can be a patriot by maintaining a proper image of his country before the eyes of foreigners. He will never do anything to lower his country in the eyes of others. He will never criticise his government before foreigners. He will try to project the best image of his country when he comes into contact with people of other lands. 

Patriotism is different from nationalism. A patriot may be a nationalist. According to Rabindranath Tagore, himself a great patriot, patriotism is more important than nationalism. A patriot loves his own country, but he does not hate the people of other countries, A nationalist, on the other hand, might consider his own nation important and hate the people of other countries. A patriot is international in his outlook. He is broad-minded, tolerant and humanitarian. He considers himself to be a citizen of the world. A nationalist, on the other hand, may be narrow-minded. He may think in terms of his own country and hate all those who are not his countrymen. So patriotism is preferable to nationalism. 

A patriot is a person who loves his country country. Rabindranath Tagore is a patriot. He wrote his “Letter” to Lord Chelmsford rejecting Knighthood as a reaction against the mass killing in Jalianwallahbag of Amritsar by the British rulers. The massacre took place on 13 April 1919. Rabindranath Tagore’s reaction to the event was fierce. The British Indian soldiers opened fire on a peaceful gathering of the Indians at Jalianwallahbag, Amritsar of Punjab. They killed almost 400 Indians on the spot and left many others severely injured with after effects for the rest of their lives. The reactions from the common Indians were very fierce. 

They vehemently protested the brutal killing by the rulers. Tagore was shocked at the brutality of the British rulers. He wrote, “the very least I can do for my country is to take all consequences upon myself in giving voice to the protest of millions of my countrymen, surprised into a dumb anguish of terror.” The sufferings and humiliation undergone by the Indians have made the holding of the “badges of honour” a farce, a glaring shame. So, Tagore wrote, “I for my part wish to stand, shorn of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen, who, for their so-called insignificance, are liable to suffer a degradation not fit for human beings.” Thus, Tagore set up an example of bold patriotism by renouncing the title of the knighthood conferred on him by the British Crown.


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