"Ol' Blighty" is an affectionate term for "Britain". As I pack and get ready to head back to Ol' Blighty, i recall my fondness for the word blighty. Although it sounds very much like an infection a plant would get, Blighty has a much richer meaning than a rotting veg. Blighty is more than a 50's pin-up magazine. The word has a much richer meaning.
Long before the poets Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and songs of World War I popularized "Old Blighty" -- its roots derive from British India, from the Urdu/Hindi term "Bilayati" which means "foreigner". Ironically the term that Indians used to describe foreigners in Asia is now used to describe locals in Great Britain.
For the first 30 years of my life in the UK, I was treated as an outsider, a foreigner in the land of my birth. The strange thing was that when i finally did go to India all my relatives kept referring to me as "bilayatia" (30 years later they still do). We have continued to be refered a "bilayatia" in Canada and America. My wife, brothers and I are quite distinct from our cousins who came straight from India. To them we are pardesees or "Bilathia" - i.e., 'outsiders'.
The Australians added the "Ol" to Ol Blighty to bear witness to the old country from whence they came. Perhaps if we all stop to uncover our ancestry far back enough we would discover that we are all foreigners and that there is nothing wrong with being foreign, that perhaps it is a necessary human (natural) condition?
Walt Whitman in his opus Songs of Myself, wrote "I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable". Birds and beasts are not bound by national boundaries. Why should we be so constrained and fathomable? As Whitman says further in the same poem - "I exist as I am, and that is enough!"
Perhaps being a 'bilayatia' is our noblest blessing? Free to be ourselves, naked, unadorned, unburdened of the emotional shackles of nationalism. Perhaps "Being Blighty' is a calling to be who we are is perhaps something far more vast and essential than merely being defined by where or to whom we "belong"?
Blighty might be a pin-up girly magazine to you, but this is what it means to me.
"This blessed plot, this earth,
this realm, this England".
King Richard II
Act II Scene i