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Published:October 5th, 2005 06:05 EST
What Does It Mean To Be A Patriot?

What Does It Mean To Be A Patriot?

By Ann Poludenko

What does it mean to be a patriot?

To live in a particular country, to speak its official language, to celebrate the national holidays of that country-- is this enough to be called a patriot? I am not going to say: "You are a patriot and you are not!"; that is something every person has to determine for himself and herself. But there are people whose love for their country merit at least respect.

Once the birth place of lord Buddha, who preached peace, love and harmony... but today a land of suppressed, and the land where, in the name of peace, cruelity is having its regime.

My country, where ignorance grows faster than intellectuals.

Where youth have to sacrifice their dreams to reach their aim.

Where  rich get richer and the poor poorer.

Where crimes are rewarded in the name of justice and goodwill.

---Subash Lamichhane

Having read the beginning of the poem My country ", written by a 15 years old boy, you may form a clear idea of what life in Nepal is like.

Nepal is the country of the highest mountain chain " Himalayas. It is a place where people get used to military men in their gardens so much that when everything is quiet under the windows something bad is expected to happen. The married women here must wear red Sari (the cloth), to show that they will do anything they can to have their husbands healthy forever.

The literacy rate of Nepal is about 45%. Many of those, who are well-educated, want to move abroad, to find a high-paid job "

In spite of, and because of, all this adversity, many of these people want to travel to other countries, in order to return more clever and wealthier so that they may help their country with everything they have attained. People of Nepal love their birthplace so much that they just close their eyes at everything bad they have to deal with and just go farther to fulfill their goal of seeing their country strong and its people happy.

It`s a unique place. Tony Hagen, a popular Swedish writer, wrote a book about Nepal. He described it as another world, so beautiful that you can feel like you are in paradise. The coolness of its jungle, numerous elephants of different size and age, the variety of flowers, crocodiles hunting fish, young people with a perfect knowledge of English language that are ready to organize a canoe trip for a very small price, hand-crafted statues of various gods and goddess, the Thanka painting that is ahead of modern art trend... these are among the greatest values of this country.

Behind it all is the amaranthine belief of Nepal people that everything can be changed for the better. In a country where children realize the needs of their beloved country, when they grow with a confidence that the power will be in their hands, everything defiantly can be made as it is expected to be.

  In the words of Subash Lamichhane:

Let the song of peace be heard again from every mountain and hill.

Let every river preach the song of peace and harmony.

Let there be humanity and everlasting peace in my country.

So what does is mean to be a patriot? Maybe it is simply loving your country enough to want and seek the best for its people.

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photos from: http://www.geocities.com/vwkf2000/nepal.htm