What does it mean to be an Indian?

At home, we speak the language of our fore fathers and at office we do business in the global language and order; we exchange food with our immediate neighbours, no matter which religion, caste or creed they belong to, while we maintain our own individual stance on regional issues; we have immortalised Gandhi and Amitabh Bachchan in a corner of our minds, while we study theories of Drucker and Soros; we seek to become a super power in the coming decades, while we are constantly being crippled with terrorism and fundamentalists; we are deeply spiritual and try to keep our diverse relationships miles away from our religiosity; we have accepted anybody and everybody – whether it has conquered or destroyed us – but not even once have we invaded anybody in the history of our ten thousand year old civilization; we bathe our self in tradition and values, while we also take the lead in being a modern and refined society.

This is just a very minuscule picture of what India is today. Slowly, inch by inch, we have grown from a nation to an economy. And while we celebrate yet another Independence Day, either by cribbing about not being able to attend the ID rock festival or participating in a patriotic rally or by simply sitting at home, I found myself asking the question. ‘What does it mean to be an Indian’?

To me, being an Indian today is actually cherishing the freedom which is the result of the culmination of the struggles of people, that originated 150 years ago and due to its constant reinforcement in the most unusual manners (non-violence) the world has come to know of us possessing a distinct set of values and ethos that are deeply imbibed in our tradition, which truly sets us apart. Being an Indian I’m completely comfortable with pluralistic ideas and the constant contradictions one encounters with while growing up in this country of a billion people with millions of Gods and Goddesses; large number of socially suffocating cousins, uncles, aunts and aliens; culturally cued to the curious mannerisms of our individual communities; and politically perturbed to the plethora of politicians, parties and ideologies that are formed every day. Being an Indian to me is nothing more than that binding thread of commonality that connects me to the unknown person sitting next to me in a train. It is a way to identify with the people around me. It is about laughing at our weird habits, never ending discussions on sex education, nuclear deal, women’s reservation bill, religion, red tapeism and the legal system. It is about accepting the diverse outlook towards life of our people by stating “It happens only in India”! It is about getting goose bumps when I hear the national anthem.

Thus, according to me, my Indian-ness is more than our food, culture, language and religion. It is about the exuding sense of oneness, no matter how different we are.

I’m really proud to state that we are the only country in the world with the largest Hindu population that has elected a Muslim president, a Sikh prime minister powered by a Christian lady who is the president of the ruling party.

Maa tujhe salaam!

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~ by rb on August 15, 2008.

5 Responses to “What does it mean to be an Indian?”

  1. East or west India is the Best.
    Soon to be the next Developed country with all the diversities.
    I am too proud to be an Indian my bro.

  2. I DO SALUTE YOUR THOUGHTS BUT MY DEAR FRIEND BUT THE GROUND REALITY IS MUCH DIFFERENT.
    STILL….IF YOU REALLY WANT TO PAY HOMAGE TO OUR CUNTRY
    ALWAYS BE HONEST WITHH YOUR WORK….
    ALWAYS COMPLETE YOUR SHARE OF A JOB..
    DO THE DUTIES OF INDIAN CITIZEN….
    BE HUMANE….

    AND DO PASS THIS MESSAGE

  3. Great blog. I appreciate the work.

    Even i am a blogger and i blog to create awareness among the youth.

    Do visit my blog

  4. Being an Indian has always meant being social,being calm,being good n being generous………..

  5. INDIA is great
    its only about unity in diversity our rich and varied culture and our pious believes and festivals
    though we r developing but even then we have not lose our grounds with our deep rooted culture
    INDIA is great and im proud of my country
    i wonder why some people emigrate to foreign leaving our great mother land

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