I find it curious that people unthinkingly claim credit where none is due. “I proud to be an Indian” and “I am proud to be a Hindu” are examples. Here’s an example from a Youtube comments’ section.
My answer to Supriya Varma went thus:
I am a Hindu. I was born a Hindu. I did not choose to be born into a Hindu family. I have respect for the philosophy and the religion of Hinduism. I have studied and understood Advaita Vedanta. But the fact is that I had no active part in being a Hindu, just like I didn’t do anything to be an Indian. I did not choose it.
Pride in being something is justified only if it could not have been achieved without effort. If, for example, I write a lovely story or paint a beautiful picture, or train to run a marathon — anything that requires effort and has positive payoffs to me and to society at large — that I can be proud of.
What’s there to be proud of if you have had nothing to do with it? How can I be proud of the fact that I am a Hindu if I was born a Hindu? Suppose I had been born a Christian and converted to Hinduism. Then I could claim “I am proud to be a Hindu.” I did something and that made me a Hindu.
I am proud to be an economist. It’s a noble profession and I worked hard to become one. I attended a very good school (which required effort), and I spent years writing a thesis (which required effort). I am proud of that, and justifiably so.
I am happy that I am a Hindu. I am fortunate that I was born an Indian and a Hindu. I cannot justifiably take pride in my being a Hindu. I hope you now understand why I responded to Lakshmi Kumar’s “I’m proud to be a Hindu” with “Why.” I wanted to know what she’d done to earn that credit.