Wednesday, 8 February 2012

India Shining? Definitely!

This post is a part of what I call a " Writers' Circle". We are a group of friends (some real life, some just online) who write on a common topic every month, in an effort to keep our love for writing alive (At least that is what is behind my posts, a few others do manage to write regularly without having to wait for the compulsion!)

This month's topic chosen by Deepa,  was India Shining: 2 Things I like about India and 2 things I would want to change.

As soon as I heard "India Shining", the first person to come to mind was the former Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. For those of you who don't remember his blink-and-miss tenure in the Govt, it was during that time that the phrase "India Shining" was first coined. It has been extensively used by everyone since then, sometimes with proud and sometimes sarcastically.
Since I have been living outside the country for more than 6 years now, this topic is even more significant for me. Overall, I feel that as a country we have come really far and I would consider India's standing in the world as an achievement. Having said that I also realise that there are a lot of avenues that need huge improvements, as would be pointed out by some of those cynics out there. Dont get me wrong, I am very pragmatic when it comes to my thinking and feelings but to just snigger over any comments of development by saying that there are so many things we lack is being very pessimistic, in my opinion.

Now before I get too serious and wander off from the topic let me start with the top 2 things I like about India. It is very tough to choose only 2, but I have tried.

Unity in Diversity - Cliche to some, but absolutely unique according to me. Where else can you see people from so many different backgrounds and culture, living together and flourishing in each other's company by sharing everything. On the last count there were 29 states and 6 Union territories in India. Each with its own culture, heritage, beliefs and language. In fact you would find many different dialects of the same language in a single state. Now add to that the population that India has, and you get numerous combinations of people in any given town/city. Barring a few communal and caste instigated incidents, we do manage to live peacefully with each other, enjoying every festival and every occasion equally. I can go on and on with instances that I have myself seen and experienced about this unity.

Tolerance and Adaptation - I didnt really know how put this one. Let me try. India has always been exposed to various foreign cultures and trends over the years. Now there could have been 2 scenarios with this - either the foreign culture could completely take over or it would be totally rejected keeping in mind the traditional values. But the thing I like very much here, is that we have managed to create a balance between the modern foreign trends and our own traditional values. An average Indian youth wears Levis Jeans, eats at McDonalds, dreams of owning a Mercedes Car, is hooked on to Facebook completely but is still deep rooted in the family values and traditions which we are so proud of.

Now for the things I dont like so much and want them to change

Civic sense in people - I think this would be a classic pet peeve. Why cant we think of others too when we are in public? Why cant all of us make it a point to throw the rubbish in the bins, not spit wherever it pleases us, respect others' right to the road and other public amenities, not always be in a rush and have some patience basically.  There is no point in honking your horns when there is a huge queue of vehicles in front of you. If the person in front of you could drive on, he most definitely would. He isnt really interested in camping out in the middle of the road, you know. And then again, if we all were a bit patient and did not cut lanes or force ourselves onto wrong lanes there wouldnt be a traffic jam to start with. So for once, why cant we stop blaming the Govt for everything and start acting responsibly?

Small - no the word I am looking for is trivial - Issues! - There are loads of things, very important and some even very critical that need attention in India, but the majority of our political brigade seems to be concerned with issues that are beyond my realm of understanding (and I am sure lots of others too!) in terms of their significance and importance. We have fights over naming of roads & by lanes, riots over the incidents such as a statue covered in bird poo, endless discussions over what to call the city/town, renaming of airports and other landmarks and not to forget what is being shown on TV & films and their names & songs too! Remember how "Billu Barber" was renamed "Billu" just because the the Barber association did not like it? We have several law suits filed to protest against how some one dresses up, what some public figure said what occasions we celebrate (Valentine's Day for example). Add to that the fuss created by top politicians & celebrities when they are required to go by the rules at airports, Govt offices and other such places and the list can go on.

Let me repeat here that it has been very difficult to limit myself to only 2 things in both the categories because there are a lot of other things I really like and dislike, but that could be material for another post some other time perhaps....