After staying three years out of India, the above statement separates me from the considerably large Asian population in Netherlands. After 9/11 the world has undergone considerable change and the Indian tag does give respectability and according to the reports in leading financial institutions, India is an emerging superpower so we are so proud to be an Indian.
So how does it feel to be an Indian? How does it feel to be a part of the emerging superpower? How does it feel to be the part of the world largest democracy and all that crap? What does it really mean to be an Indian?
India is a big country with more than 20 states and many languages and more than a thousand dialects. It has a rich history and a mixture of different culture and religions. It has beautiful geography and rich ancient architecture.
And then India has more than 20 states where half of them cannot provide their citizen clean water, electricity and food. The state choose their representatives in the government on the basis of religion, caste and language. The credibility and merit of the person does not matter at all. The ancient monuments are struggling to hold on to a past in the ruins and the variety of wild life struggle to stay alive between the growing and aggressive Indians who want to take over the jungle.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had drafted the constitution and the constitution say that we are equal before the law. Our politicians use Dr. Ambedkar to emphasis his low-caste status. Our elected representative try hard and rather successfully to emphasis that we are different from each other based on my religion, caste, region, state, gender and all other ways of dividing us. Many years back, the British used the ‘divide and rule’ policy. Even after 60 years of Independence, our politicians still use the policy.
Its true in the last 60 years, India did develop and its also true that we had much progress.
But its also true that my bureaucrats are the corrupt lot and I bribe them. Its true that the politicians look to earn on the job and I elected them. Its true that most of the cities are dirty and I throw my crap in. Its true that I complain and crib about the state of the country and still refuse to fulfill responsibility of a citizen.
We still bask in the Ancient Indian history, culture and glory and still I as a citizen have not contributed toward the development in any way.
In the movie Swades, Shahrukh Khan’s character says that he does not think India is great (mahaan). But like everybody else, I too choose to close my eyes to the problem and prefer to hide behind the age-old reason of my culture and history.
Why should I feel Indian?
I cannot use my country’s flag. Most of the Indians can’t even sing the National Anthem. My country’s National animal faces extinction in the next 10 years and I watch silently. I am happy comparing my country to Pakistan and Bangladesh and being happy that we have developed more than our neighbors. I am happy comparing my country with China and find pleasure as to how India is doing well compared to China. I don’t compare those aspects where China is doing better than India. I like to debate with everybody how the history could have been different if some person had done his/her job differently. I close my eyes to the future and try to always find a scapegoat.
I was told somewhere that the solution of any problem starts with the identification of problem. True we are a great country and I am proud to be an Indian even though I may not know the reasons but then I have problems too and lots of them.
I can continue to ignore them and still live in an illusion of India being great. After 60 years of Independence maybe and just maybe I can be more responsible toward my duties as a citizen of India. I am just as clueless like the next Indian I know but I guess we can do our small bit.
After 60 years of Independence, I guess its time to know the reasons of being a proud Indian excluding the reasons of our rich culture and history which brings us back to the question we started with;
What does it mean to be an Indian?
Wish you all a happy Independence Day!