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Five Things I love about being Indian

February 26, 2007

1) Multi-cultural, diverse
What I love the most about being Indian is that we are a mixed bunch of people here in India. Not just ethnically different, but also different in our culture and language. We have over 400 living languages and 11 extinct ones, although the government has laid down 15 languages as the “official languages.” These languages have different scripts and in some cases, different origins. If one has to explain this to someone who is not from India, I guess one can say that the differences between Tamil and Hindi and Gujarati are as wide as those between Polish and English and Italian. Maybe more, because the scripts are different. The cuisine of different states varies and so do the clothes and culture, and the way religious festivals are celebrated. For example people in Bengal celebrate Durga Pooja but other states do not. People from different religions live here – Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains, Buddhists and Jews. Also, Zoroastrianism has its largest centre in India. The Zoroastrians, originally from Persia (called Parsis here) came to India due to religious persecution.

2) Great History: I also love the fact that I belong to a country which had one of the oldest civilizations in the world – the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. In fact, the Indian subcontinent was the richest both culturally and commercially at one time, during its Golden Age. It is any wonder then that four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here? Our tradition of Indian classical music is one of the greatest in the world. We have great ancient texts like the Upanishads, which are rooted in philosphical thought. Yoga originated in India. Our ancients were well versed in mathematics, astronomy and other sciences. India invented the “zero”. In fact ancient India was never just the “land of sages and seers but also a land of scholars and scientists.” We had an ancient university of ancient university at Nalanda which was flourished from the fifth century A.D to the 12th century, when it was destroyed by the invading armies of the Mughals. It had a nine storey library.
In fact, the decline of India started with the outside invasions, but the decline ended with the end of British rule. It took some time for India to lick its wounds and start to rise again. But what I love about being Indian is that we never ruled anybody and nor did we wish to, even if it meant that we suffered for it.

3) What I love about being Indian is that just sixty years after the “rulers” left our lands, we have started to rise again. We are slowly getting rid of the chains that shackled us since the 12th century! Today India is the world’s third largest economy in purchasing power and the second fastest growing large economy. It is predicted that India’s growth will continue and that India will become a world power in another 50 years.

4) Another thing I love about being Indian is that we are by nature a spiritual people. It is in our blood.

5) The last but not the least – I love being an Indian because we are a democratic, peaceful and tolerant people. We are a secular country which has welcomed people from all religions into our fold. And in India we have one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Just an example: One can walk through a slum without any fear of getting mugged.

Related Reading: Multi cultural multi racial India
Rare manuscripts now digitised

(This write-up has been written for Engtech’s Group Writing contest.)

54 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2007 1:02 pm

    Unfotunately the notion of India exists only in minds of people high up on economic and educational ladder. Other are simply bengalis, marathis, kannada.

    remember the recent trouble between karnataka and maharashtra? or bengal and jharkhand? and so on and so forth? or gujarat, or malegaon, or 1984?

  2. February 26, 2007 5:00 pm

    Maybe. But I understand. I think it is human nature. You will find this all over the world. It is indeed not easy to identify with someone who is so completely different. The problem is that we expect too much of ourselves. Where else in the world are people this diverse living with one national identity? We have to accept this, and try to find solutions. Why should we we blame Indians for feeling this way? All humans are this way. What would have happened if all of Europe had been clubbed together? Would it have been easy for them? And I do now from responses to other posts I have written on this issue on this very blog, that even in England there are some people who do not think of themselves as ‘British’ but as Scots or Welsh.
    At the same time I do not think that the Indian identity is missing completely.It may be secondary to some people, but it is very much there.

  3. February 26, 2007 7:53 pm

    I would say the Nagas or the Manipuris are more conscious of this identity than we “mainstreamers” are.

  4. February 26, 2007 8:30 pm

    I am not sure what you mean. The Nagas for example are so different ethnically that they have a hard time with the Indian identity. I have lived in eastern Assam and I have lived in Kashmir. In both these places, the people find it most difficult to see themselves as ‘Indian.’ However, people from other states find it much easier to see themselves as Indian.

  5. February 26, 2007 10:02 pm

    Not quite so. India is a poitical mumbo-jumbo. It has no appeal among the masses. Have you ever thought about why regional parties are so popular?

    Manipuris from a distance see india through the Indian Army. That is why it is easy for them to imagine India as a single monolith.

    That is what I meant.

  6. Padmini permalink
    February 27, 2007 3:57 am

    What I love about India is the feeling you get when you visit sacred places like Benaras, for instance. It’s a feeling that it is a blessed place with an indefinable sense of the sacred which I have not felt in other “religious” places in different countries.

  7. February 27, 2007 6:02 am

    Manas, I am trying to see what you mean but I still think that if there is a huge presence of the Army in these areas, the resentment is even more towards those who own the Army. I have actually lived in these places and have not gone there as a tourist. I have talked to the common people there, like maids, drivers, shop-keepers. I think I have a feel of what people there think. Btw, my dad was in the army and we knew some civilians there too, those who were educated. They were ambivalent about their Indian identity.
    I have also lived in the south and in the west and in Bengal and in Delhi. I have been lucky enough to experience a full Bharat Darshan. People do have very strong regional identities in these areas ofcourse but they also have an Indian identity, far more than people from Kashmir or Nagaland do.
    Padmini: I know exactly what you mean. Its a strange sort of peace that one gets. I feel drawn towards it too. I think its the collective auras of the religious people over hundreds of years that have given these places a sacred aura.

  8. February 27, 2007 2:39 pm

    One of those feel-good posts Nita. But apart from relying on our history & religion I dont think we have much else to showcase. Dont get me wrong, I am as proud an Indian as any other but my trail of thoughts are leading me elsewhere. We have always been the ‘conquered’ people and never the conquerer’s. As for our diversity, it just happened to ‘happen’, a consequence of all those conquests. And yes, we have our mythologies that we keep falling back on.

    But we don’t seem to have any new innovation, some major break through associated with our country. What have we given to the world in recent years, except being the IT backyard??

    - A cynical me

    • Danny permalink
      June 7, 2011 2:50 pm

      Ahh you seem to misunderstand hinduism if you think we are the conquered people and not the conquerors! to own a peace of land is material but to own your mind is freedom. Why is it that in lands like Britain the heritage has been eroded, and the celtic or anglo saxon religion is non existant and they are self confessed conquerors. Same with many cultures who never survived past christianity! just like south america where traditional native indian religion has disappeared, indian heritage and belief is so strong it has survived and “conquered” successive invasions!

      And i find it very materrialistic that you think india will only grow if it mimics Japan! india is a cultural and philosophical hotbed and for years has grown in the semantics of life!

      p.s india has been at the forefront of many inventions becasue indians dotn have to be from india but born abroad and still hold that candle and india benefits from these NRI’s.

      And finally ” mythologies” the problem with man today is their lack of looking at history which always repeatrs itself, thuis the scramble for afghanistan has been going for centuries, first the british used it, then the pathan kings used it, the russians then used it and now the Americans, but indian “mythology” has expressed that region as a place of strategic weakness thousand years ago! so if the modern world is what you base progress on, then think that this capitalist world will be the death of us all via pollution and war and greed! sometimes you have to practice beign hindu not just wave the flag!

  9. February 27, 2007 5:26 pm

    Swetha, we have been under foreign rule since the 12th century. Our country has been plundered. And we have always been a peaceful, spiritual people. That is why everything was so hard.
    But aren’t yu proud that we rising now? We have a good future to look forward to – as long the Global warming by the rich nations doesn’t kill us before that :)

  10. February 27, 2007 6:43 pm

    Whom are we kidding by saying we are peaceful and spiritual? Yes, maybe a few educated ones today like you and me. But across the nation the majority of population are not spiritual but religious. Vast difference in both.

    Coming to peaceful..we have been a land of numerous dynasties & kingdoms. Each fighting with the other in a hope to conquer. We lacked unity and hence went & fell as a heap in the lap of the British. We did get a semblance of unity during independence but even today we have small divisions – North India vs South India / Karnataka vs Tamilnadu.

    What if the entire country was then under a single, ambitious & capable monarchy? Would’nt we have tried to takeover the British over?

    • Danny permalink
      June 7, 2011 2:58 pm

      Indian was not conquered due to our lack of unity, it feel due to one thing and one thing only and that was the Maxim Gun, thousands of bullets per second could have wiped out indias most advanced armies! that is why we have heroes like Rani of Jhansi!

      I live in britain and small blip of a country with scottish, welsh and irish divides, and then further north south divide, and a further christian and protestant divide, and then further ethnic and white divide! all of which has resulted int he highest secular crime rate in europe!

      and again this is what modern indians thrive for, this is reality in europe and less so in India, its time you stopped hating yourself because the europeans have labelled you so! next you will be tellign me Saddam Hussain was responsible for 9/11 and the war on terror was a war against terror and not oil! remember this india as a country governing itsel fis 60 years old and thats very yopung and they have excelled thus far with the US and Pakistan plotting on one side and capitalist corrupt crooks within india plotting the other side! every terror attack by muslims has had the hand of the US sponsors, and every terror attack by maoist has the hand of chinese sponsors, both of which are giants int he world and we have held our own! and proudly, even with some sikhs trying to split the country!

  11. February 27, 2007 6:46 pm

    Not for 1200 years. Actually 3000 years. You did not count the Aryans.

  12. February 27, 2007 7:03 pm

    Manas, I am trying to see what you mean

    I honestly don’t know how to express myself better.

    All I can say is what you write after that, is quite close to my point of view. We have differences on some finer points.

  13. Dilip permalink
    February 28, 2007 7:04 am

    You have a great blog and love the diversity off topics you cover. I do like this post and agree with you generally, India does have a good heritage. I would however not accept that India is a tolerant society. I am talking from a cultural standpoint. People seem to mix religion and culture, I know it’s a grey area but there is a clear divide. The Indian culture has to move as people lives change, sure we keep and maintain our core beliefs and fundamental principals but unless people are able to find relevance in cultural context, then the culture will stagnate and die. Some examples being, racial tolerance, I don’t believe (generally speaking) that there is an acceptance of coloured people in the society. Its hard enough removing caste barriers let alone living with another race. Can you imagine the out cry if an Indian girl was walking the streets with say a black gentleman.

    Acceptance of rituals and customs, which are completely out dated, example being a lady during her monthly cycle. I know of societies which will NOT allow the lady to enter the kitchen nor mix with the family during this time. I know the background as to why the custom started but it has evolved into something that is used as a stick by some people. Attitudes towards births of girls and I am not talking about rural villages but middle class folks in major cities. Again I am not talking about tiny numbers here, I am sure you know the kinds of numbers I am talking about.

    Attitudes towards child brides are changing and other changes are happening but unless we accept and learning that this is another way, India will stagnate in some time warp. I can’t even walk the streets holding my wife’s hand without people giving me a dirty look. Even small things I know (maybe not small), but hey I have known her for 30 years and have her full consent but the society will not accept it. I can’t even give my beloved wife a valentine’s card; there is a good chance the shop selling these cards has been burned down. I could go on and on……but I will stop with my examples, I have hundreds more…but hopefully I have made my point.

    I am sure there are awful customs in other countries but I am talking about India. Its great to see it grow but I pray it moves with the times and not go backwards, culturally speaking. Finally, not for a second am I suggesting we have westernised culture but whatever we move towards, lets make it something that is relevant to our lives and tolerate each other better then we done in the past.

  14. February 28, 2007 12:48 pm

    Dilip ofcourse you are right. In many aspects we are intolerant. But what I mean by ‘tolerant’ was that we do accept cultural and religious differences more than many other cultures. It is a comparision after all.
    We do have a long way to go and a lot of regressive practices, specially in smaller towns and rural areas.I am not saying that all families in big urban centres are broadminded, but there is a greater proportion of them. Actually it also depends on the community. Some communities are more conservative than others. I have been lucky to belong to a community which is very forward thinking.
    btw, I hold my husband’s hand quite freely, no one stares. In fact people stare if I am alone! People have a sick way of looking at women who are alone!
    But dating is also very common now. I have written on this aspect on my blog.
    As for valentine’s cards they are freely available everywhere. What happens is that the media blows out of proportion stray incidents where radical groups make a fuss. But never were valentine’s cards banned! And this year there were far more than usual. There were no protests either.
    I live in Mumbai.

  15. March 1, 2007 5:37 am

    Another thing: Dilip, a lot of people who have left India do not realise how much society has changed over here. Reading about it cannot get you a real ‘feel’ of it. Your one remark about valentine day cards not being available made me feel that you do not live in India.

  16. Dilip permalink
    March 2, 2007 7:15 am

    Nita, Thanks for the comments, good to get a wider understanding of your viewpoint.

    Yes I am an NRI. Hopefully you are not one of those people that flame NRI’s for having (informed) views. I do have direct connections (relatives and friends and in touch with them often) in India and so have a good feel as to whats happening. Although I do admit I have not travelled all across India and visit when I can. But I am sure there are great changes happening, which I am not aware off and yes reading alone is not enough. But in any case I am not completely distant as you may think. Whats more blogs such as yours are great for people like me to keep in touch with whats happening and does provide a good feel as to whats happening.

    The remark on valentine’s card was more about making a point; yes of course I know you can buy them. But my concern was focused communal attitudes. Individual’s liberty is critical and yet certain communities deem it necessary to infringe upon these liberties. Its more then just holding hands Nita. I am sure you have heard of stories whereby couples have been harassed by the police and the elders for simply sitting on a bench in park. These are not isolated stories either. Boils down to attitudes communities have in that a virgin should marry virgin (nothing wrong with that, if that’s what couples want) but my point being that this is cultural attitude which is the norm not the exception. There is an expectation that one should not have ANY emotional nor physicals contact between the opposite sexes. The reality is somewhat different, due to these attitudes; things happen in the dark, stays hidden, whispers behind locked doors.

    Should there not be openness in the society, starting with the parents. So young couples are able to discuss these issues without fear of death (metaphorically specking, however in some societies girls/boys are actually killed for dating). Its only then that we will overcome this radicals that wants the society to stay in the dark ages.

    Good to know that dating is a common practise within your community, great news. Lets hope it comes the norm. Its vital that the girls/boys not only get education on say safer sex but also emotional support from the larger society, or else you drive it underground, which is where is currently is.

    The issue about holding hands, well my experience is not the same as yours. Myself and my wife felt very uncomfortable with constant eyes upon from all walks of lifes. No we are not some alien forms either, so WHY. Anyway I am delighted your experience is a positive one on this issue.

    Thanks and take care

  17. March 2, 2007 9:13 am

    Society cannot change overnight Dilip. And no, I do not get angry with NRI’s when they attack India but I cannot help feeling that why don’t they come here and try to fix it? If a couple necking in a public park is frowned upon is the solution to not do it? How are things changing, although slowly? Precisely because people in India continue to do certain things that are frowned upon and as more and more people do it, society starts to change!
    A lot of NRI’s complain about the traffic here…but what is the solution? That more and more people drive properly and help in the civic movement. For example my dad, are retired service officer, is doing voluntary work for the Pune traffic Police. A huge movement has started there…there is far more work to be done here than in developed countries. I am not blaming anyone who chooses not to, but I say to them, if you are not here to change it, why do you keep complaining? Come and do something. If not in person, then by donating.
    When me and my husband were going steady so many years ago, we did go around together holding hands very freely. Sure, people stared then and we didn’t care! Today you find youngsters sticking to each other and yes people may stare but they (couples) don’t care! Girls wear short skirts and people stare but they (girls) don’t care! As more and more people do it things will start to change. I say kudos to them who dare defy society! Why do people stare anyway? Because its unusual. People who come from villages to Mumbai cannot take their eyes off the girls who are dressed in jeans…well, girls are still doing it aren’t they?

  18. Dilip permalink
    March 2, 2007 3:20 pm

    Nita,

    Please don’t state I am attacking India, I am an Indian and love the country. Yes of course cultural attitudes takes years to change, I am not that naïve. I simply have a certain viewpoint, NRI or not. I raise concerns simply because of my love for my country. I want to see it vibrant and flourish in the future, what has being an NRI got to do with it.

    In terms of doing something, well strong held attitudes are difficult to change as we agree. Credit to the people that stand up to such situations and yes myself and my wife did not stop holding hands, because we got stared at.

    Finally, I am a volunteer CEO of a Trust based in India, I am maybe an NRI but lots of my energy, time and effort is spend in helping social conditions in India. I manage a team of Volunteers (NRI’s and non NRIs). We are all working towards improvements in social situations in deprived areas, focusing on under privileged children. This is something we are PASSIONATE about. So please don’t assume NRI’s are not doing anything. I am probably doing more then most non NRI’s and I am one of many trying to fix things as you put it.

    Everyday I see the passion and conviction NRI’s have towards India and they do far more then you may think. As with any members of the society, some do a lot to help and others don’t, be it NRI or a non NRI. I can ask the reverse, I am sure they are Indians in Indian that express concerns and viewpoints and yet do nothing about it.

    This will be my last post on this issue.

    Be well

  19. March 2, 2007 4:01 pm

    I didn’t mean you ‘attack’ India. Please do not misunderstand. I was talking generally. I understand you were being very gentle and I appreciate that. I do not assume that NRI’s are not doing anything. Where did I say that? I abhor generalisations of any kind and I am the last person to make them!
    I said:
    “…but I cannot help feeling that why don’t they come here and try to fix it?”
    This has a completely different meaning.
    And I do not want to bracket Indians into NRI’s and non-NRI’s. I would say the same thing to any Indian who complains. Its a natural reaction I think. And not at all with anger. In fact I do not want to judge anyone. Every individual is different. In fact I do not think that people should necessarily do social work, either here or there. If I seem to imply that everyone should, then that was not my intention.
    Maybe India cannot change in our lifetime but those who want it to change can always contribute. Thats what I meant.
    I would never say it to a foreigner or even an Indian American. And in any case development brings with it another set of problems!
    So, if I have not been able to communicate properly, I opologise.

  20. Ravi permalink
    March 7, 2008 7:40 pm

    Nita
    I totally agree with your 5th reason to love india.

  21. Ravi permalink
    March 7, 2008 7:44 pm

    Nita

    Your reply to swetha is till pending :-)

  22. March 7, 2008 9:40 pm

    Ravi, I am glad to see you on this post. :) Not that I have convinced you, I can see that! Never mind…somewhere in your subconscious it may linger and that’s okay with me.
    And I guess it’s too late to reply to any one else now… and today I am particularly tired. Won’t be posting for the next 2 days either. Have a good weekend Ravi.

  23. March 25, 2008 11:16 pm

    Talking of democracy, my happiest moment in India was to see husband break into a smile brimming with confidence and pride when he saw the ‘welcome to the largest democracy’ sign at Wagah border. :)

  24. March 25, 2008 11:28 pm

    “And no, I do not get angry with NRI’s when they attack India but I cannot help feeling that why don’t they come here and try to fix it?”

    From an NRI’s point of view, an NRI wouldn’t bother saying anything if he/she didn’t care. My cousins and even my own brother, who has been born and raised in Canada, don’t care about India at all to even comment on it. All of us know that NRIs really can’t come back to live in India to fix the problems. However, it hurts them to see that things COULD be better than they are because they’ve seen better. They express their hurt, and try to help the only way they can. Pump money back home. I know of plenty of my relatives who’ve done that.

    If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t say anything. I know for a fact that my brother can’t even be bothered to travel to India, let alone crib about it suffering. He went there, didn’t like it much, came back and didn’t talk about it again. On the other hand, my dad still keeps in touch with Indian news, gets hurt when he hears about something not so great happening in India … he is still linked back to his roots. Expecting him to not care and express his care is not only unfair but it’s ruthless. Like the cliche my father often quotes, you can take a man out of his country but you can never take his country out of him.

    Therefore, I find it incredibly hurtful when I hear Indians tell NRIs to either shut up or come to India to fix it. NRIs moved out to provide better lives for their children because they had to. No way in heck I would’ve had the upbringing in India that I had in Canada. No one can argue that! There just weren’t that kind of resources in 80s and 90s when I was growing up. I don’t blame my father for uprooting himself from the place he calls home to take us abroad so that we could have a better chance at life. I am thankful to him. He suffered just so we could be happy. Also, he sent money back home to help those he could as well. No one has a right to take away my father’s right to express as he does about India. India is his home and forever shall be!

    Just an opinion. :)

  25. March 26, 2008 2:25 am

    Roop Rai, well said, and I share your sentiments regarding this issue. But I do think that how a criticism is stated can make a difference. I’ve definitely read some blogs by NRIs, or Indians who returned back to India where they criticize Indian conditions in a manner that’s not conducive to dialog, let alone change. Their aim seems to be to replicate America/West in India in a blind manner and without giving much thought to Indian society, culture etc. or weighing the pros/cons of a certain issue. For them, if things are a certain way in the US, it’s good enough for India.

  26. Ravi permalink
    March 26, 2008 3:24 am

    Nita

    I just saw your post to me dated may 7th. Thanks for the reply :-)

  27. Ravi permalink
    March 26, 2008 4:06 am

    Roop Rai

    People move out of india not just to make $$$ and anticipating comfortable life. Maybe be I m wrong. But Its really easy to prove your worth in countries like US, canada, UK,……where as in india there is a very high probability of the same person ending up as loser due to lack of encouragement and opportunities. I believe no one could be blamed in this aspect because india is not yet ready to appreciate the intellectual property it has in the form of people. One other reason that makes some indians fear india could be too much of selfishness among indians. Every indian cares about his home and that responsibilty ends there. I wish all indians must get an opportunity to come and see US and witness how much americans love their country and out of love how many good things they do for their society like not spitting in public places, smoking in designated places, following traffic rules and many more to list here.

    I think its pretty hard to live in a “foreign” land especially for indians. But we dare to take that drastic step only to get away from our homeland in pursuing our dreams for $$$ or career whatever. I feel so in secured and there are times I couldn’t get good sleep just because of thinking of being far away from parents and it has to nothing to do with home sickness. I had been living away from my parents since I was 17 and its not something new to me. Then I figured the fear is due to the thought of lacking freedom, which I had when I was in india.

    You can take my word for granted in saying that indians do care about india after they land in some foreign country. And I m a good example, actually I never thought of the problems india had been facing, and at that time I was enjoying the freedom of being in homeland. Now I care for it after I lost my “space” but I hate indians though. I hate the way they divide themselves citing million reasons like caste, region, religion and by default we are all selfish (a bit too much). You can observe our weird behavior as soon as you change the flight to india in Frankfurt, london, amsterdam or dubai. We behave in a decent manner like not pushing one another and keeping our bags in designated places until we reach any of the above mentioned places where we change for the last flight to india. Our indian behavior which was suppressed all these years gushes out and we behave without any courtesy towards fellow citizens. Surprisingly everybody behaves like that. How could one take for granted that they can behave in whatever way they can when they come across indians and india. Thats really sad. We should cultivate good manners I mean good manners towards public. Nobody cares if one respects one’s parents but having that small courtesy towards neighbors and fellow citizens is a lot more that what one could contribute by donating $$$.

  28. March 26, 2008 4:18 am

    Yeh, Amit, that I’ll agree with you. Trying to cure a disease without knowing its causes and also not knowing the side-effects of the drugs being suggested to cure … yep, it can sure create havoc. :) Agreed.

  29. desi permalink
    March 26, 2008 1:01 pm

    NRI = Non Resident Indian
    which means a person who is INDIAN CITIZEN living abroad for some reason. So unless you are an Indian citizen living abroad don’t claim to be an NRI.

    If you have taken some citizenship of some other country, I won’t call you a traitor, but you are definitely not a NRI. However, the least you can do is get a PIO card. If you even don’t have that, then all hope is lost for you and you should rather be concerned about high divorce rates, rampant gun violence, degrading race relation, or racism issues in whichever country you are citizen of.

  30. desi permalink
    March 26, 2008 1:03 pm

    Forgot to mention: and stay clear of drugs unless off course you already started when you are a teenage like many.

  31. desi permalink
    March 26, 2008 1:34 pm

    People can’t come up with five good reasons why they like India and consider themselves Indians, and then proudly proclaim themselves to be NRI (even though they may not have any citizenship), but yes they still have to have someone hear their critical comments.

  32. March 26, 2008 2:58 pm

    bitter, are we, desi? you are welcome to your opinions, kind sir. i just don’t agree.

    thanks.

  33. March 26, 2008 4:39 pm

    Desi, I have discovered that you are writing under the multiple identities of Desi, Northies and Pinto in different posts. This is not allowed and if you want to continue to comment, kindly stick to one identity. Also from now on only a comment with a valid email ID will be published. I shall have to verify the ID and your real name. For all I know you may have a fourth identity.
    Thanks.

  34. March 26, 2008 10:10 pm

    NIta, somehow i missed this blog :) You have so much stuff that it is not easy to keep up!!! – my eternal admiration…

    Really great post. I believe it is very important to be a global person, but this is not possible without realising your own roots – which you do!

    Actually I though of writing about Indian women…Like my post about Russian women… But this is a huge topic. But I can get inspired from you :)

    Thanks Axinia. It’s always nice when someone who is non-Indian appreciates India and Indians despite all our faults! :) – Nita

  35. cinderalka permalink
    April 14, 2008 8:50 pm

    I found your blog today and have been enjoying it immensely. I’m impressed with the quality and clarity of the responses as well. Looking forward to reading more.

    On the topic of being India, I wanted to share my satirical look on the Desi experience abroad. Hope you have a laugh.
    http://www.desis101.com

  36. Rani Baxter permalink
    April 15, 2008 5:36 am

    Hi Nita,

    I have been living outside of India for about 16 years now. Although I’ve never been much exposed to Indian ideals and culture, I’ve been captivated nonetheless and have gone back to visit India a number of times. I can relate to the spirituality you associate with India…I feel it’s the one thing that continues to bind me to the country. I’m awestruck every time I visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar, or the Ganges River…it’s the feeling of communal acceptance, where all embrace all, that is so wonderful. All the problems there might be, but there is something magical and very special about the land.

  37. April 15, 2008 11:21 am

    Rani, thanks for your response. If you are of Indian origin India will always fascinate you. I am glad you visit this blog and I hope we can have a interesting dialogue on various aspects of Indian culture. Thanks again.
    When you say there is something magical about India, I agree wholeheartedly.

  38. April 27, 2009 11:06 pm

    A beautiful post and I agree with it wholeheartedly. I liken India to a bouquet of assorted flowers; each adding to the beauty of the bouquet with its own colour, fragrance, feel and in so many other ways. Like you said, Our diversity, tolerance, spiritualism, and our intelligence are our greatest strengths. We do have a number of weaknesses too. Who doesn’t?

    I read the comments and have only one thing to say, “please don’t compare a Mercedes with a Maruti 800″. Give India time and a chance to industrialise – we jumped from the agricultural era to the information era and missed out on the industrial era due to foreign rule. We could not even produce salt – remember the Mahatma’s Dandi march. Has anyone seen the diversity like in India anywhere else in the world? How and why did it come about? Will one see this anywhere else in this world?

  39. Nick permalink
    May 3, 2009 8:23 pm

    Don’t get me wrong. India has a rich and beautiful history. I think it’s wonderful that you take pride in your heritage. But there are some extremely negative aspects to the culture as well. During my stay in India, I saw beauty and I saw ugliness. And I have seen some very positive, and negative traits based on my experience with Indians.

    Tolerance??? Indians are among the most bigoted and intolerant people. Indians are a very divided people who lack any sense of solidarity. Indians insist on categorizing themselves by and fighting about religion, caste, region, etc. There is a reason India was so easily conquered by the British and so easily held under British rule for hundreds of years.

    The idea that Indians are tolerant and respectful is bizarre and simply not correct based on my experience. Indians are overly race and class conscious. Indians are obsessed with skin color. Indians are overly concerned with what the West thinks and still kowtow to the West. Indians very rudely stare.

    This sounds like India bashing, but not really. In all fairness, there are some very seriously screwed up things about American culture which I could list.

    But I do think recognizing cultural and social ills is a big step towards alleviating them. Turning a blind eye isn’t healthy.

    • May 4, 2009 10:02 am

      Nick, the intolerance and bigotry, ironically is most pervasive among the ‘educated’ middle class of India. One reason is the appalling lack of liberal arts education in India. Also, India’s history although long and intriguing is also very violent and conflict-ridden.

      I think the tolerance Nita is alluding to is present more in rural India and among the poor.

      • Danny permalink
        June 7, 2011 3:28 pm

        Many British Indians and upper class indians celebrate their western values and mock hindu traditions, but i find this is mainly to try and fit in to the british racist society. Ive never been to india so i may not be the best to judge but i do know lots of hindus and muslims, actually my nephew is married to a indian muslim girl and the weddign involved hindus and indian muslims on the dancefloor together.

  40. lateralviews permalink
    June 2, 2009 11:19 am

    Good Article. Diversity, history, Democracy and Spirituality are strong enough reasons which make Indian unique. I read some of the comments. I think by being critical of NRIs we are missing the point- throwing the baby with the bathwater . There are a lot of NRIs who are doing good NGO work. You can check Indicorps for the kind of work they are doing. I think as Indians we take a lot of things for granted and also deal with a lot of stereotypes. Its our responsibility as part of this blog or an informed citizen to break away from these stereotypes. I strongly recommend the book – In Spite of the Gods, the strange rise of modern India as a good starting point for understading India in the different nuances.

    Cheers

    Prithwish

  41. Sumiran permalink
    August 11, 2009 3:58 pm

    Hi :)

    The foodie in me would make our cuisine and its vast variety a separate point altogether though it comes under the umbrella of culture :P

    Another is the amazing geography of the Indian sub-continent. Nice post :)

    Somewhere in the comments it was asked what has India given to the world recently. I would think Indian English writers have carved a niche for themselves.

    sumiran

  42. December 24, 2009 7:19 pm

    Here is a good article about the contribution of Indians to Mathematics – http://ashok-mystique.blogspot.com/2006/03/indian-mathematics-and-kerala-school_21.html

  43. December 24, 2009 7:22 pm

    Here are a whole bunch of articles on India’s contribution to science, technology and architecture – http://www.nriol.com/content/columns/ashok/index.asp. A large part of the information given here was unknown to me before !

  44. Darshana permalink
    May 4, 2010 12:57 am

    I love being Indian for all those reasons….but also because i love our music and if i wasn’t Indian, i would have never heard any of it. For example. Hey Ya from Karthik Calling Karthik. Its a couple of months old but i still love it! I think i get the best of both worlds because even though I’m completely Indian i live in Britain and am a British citzen. So i get to listen to really good British music as well as a good dose of Bollywood :D

    And I wouldn’t ever want it to be any other way.

  45. Harry Thomas permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:55 pm

    Since there was some discussion about NRI’s etc. You will find this article by Guha interesting: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?236258

  46. rama ananth permalink
    October 5, 2010 2:47 pm

    I really liked your blog very much, and I can truly relate to it from the core of my heart.I hate when Indians living abroad are so critical of India, they are always searching for reasons to degrade India.
    Okay it is known to us that, there are many areas that has to be cleansed, as corruption in the governments, but the NRIs must understand we are dealing with it in our own way.Nothing is hidden from the media, and with access to internet etc., everything is in the open, and we are protesting and fighting against all these issues. But one must also understand there is no overnight solutions to many of our problems.
    Things like Ayodaya issue has been there for a long time: we know the political parties are responsible for keeping the issue alive for their own ulterior motive, but ask any common man or women in that region or elsewhere they have no problem with either mandir or mosque, in fact we all would prefer a hospital or a school to be there so that every Indian can benefit from it.
    We have enough temples/ mosques to worship, we don’t need any more. Sensible people would know that Ram or Rahim would not be mad at us to build something useful for the people.
    Even in America a big debate is going on regarding building a mosque near ground zero, as if there is a shortage of mosque there in the city. Political parties are responsible for creating the divide among people, and they just thrive in the divide that they have created. A country like America can stoop so low is unbeliveble, but such politics are there everywhere so why just pick India?
    Then there is the advice dished by these so called Indian Americans that we must choose our leaders more carefully. but do we have a choice or do they have a choice, they too have no choice, as both parties that wants to govern are not fit for it.
    Only if more and more young , educated people come to the fore, we have to put up with these goons who call themselves netas or leaders.
    But for India I can see light at the end of tunnel, which can’t be said for many countries including America.
    Look at India it has come from where to where and look at America that was on the top is now rapidly sliding down. people who have left their motherland sadly try to merge with their host country and are failing miserably, and when they try to be Indian with an attitude they find them being allien in their own country.
    I am not saying leaving one’s country is bad but after leaving it if you cannot do anything good for your country at least don’t bad mouth it. Respect the country that has taken you in and learn all that is good there , and the same time spread the good word about India too to the people around the world. It is your duty to open their eyes to the good points, and not start to believe everything percieved by them. Now with the internet , you can gain lot of knowledge about your own country even if do not know much about it. Also come to India with out your myopic vision and see India as the rising star that it is and be proud to be an Indian: for it is an honour to be born an Indian.

  47. October 7, 2011 2:20 pm

    I agree except the points that we are spiritual and tolerant. Are we, really? We are more religious and traditional than spiritual, a person could be spiritually corrupt with greed, bigotry and hatred in his heart and yet, be considered a spiritually enlightened person because he has a reverence for his god(s). If we are so spiritual and tolerant, why are ethnic and religious riots so common in our country? Why has education failed to remove the corruption and hatred for “others” in our hearts? Maybe we are not that spiritual and tolerant after all…with the exceptions of people like Tagore, Vidyasagar or Osho.

  48. touseef permalink
    December 4, 2011 11:26 pm

    O,I C,BUT KNW 1 Cant imgine di prob at kashmir,bcoz indian govment olwayz hide di reality and pepol want democracy in kashmir….pepol suffring frm worst diffcltiez rezon iz indian politican and his acts
    …….

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