What is being an Indian?
Date: 3/28/2012 12:46:00 PM
About three months ago, I was first confronted with this question, by a Proffessor in a class. Well, not really. I first thought about it when I read a certain book by Ramachandra Guha, who began by asking a question, and never did really give an answer.
I'm not sure what it means to be an Indian.
We don't have a common lanuage or religion, things that bind most people. We are not a people unified by a particular set of capitalistic or socialistic values. We don't have a leader we all believe in. We're just a bunch of arbitrarily grouped peoples still finding our feet in identifying with a nationality.
I know that we're a people plagued by road rage, corruption, body odor, indigestion from too spicy and mosquito ridden food and torn by the practical implications of permitting to us the freedoms that are constitutionally our due.
Yes, there is corruption, so pervasive, so debilitating, but comes with that an exhilaration in watching a people's movement come together like it did, with this extent of vigor and hope for change. There is casteism and untouchability, but so much wonder and awe in sitting across a table from a former untouchable who boasts about his job at Goldman. There are caste based political coalitions, politics that is often brutally and overtly communal, yatras peformed with largesse and hoohaa, things that are so obviously wrong and at odds with what India set out to be. Yet, salvation lies in the fact that I am yet to see a people more impassioned and belligerent in their opinions, however misplaced, and as concerned with stuffing it down the next person's throat. There is chaos, there is dust, there is poor urban planning, shoddy architectural and construction workmanship, but ironically, or perhaps not so ironically, so much beauty in it's self proclaimed lack thereof.
If I had to venture a guess, to be irrepressibly individualistic, narcissitic, confused and belligerent, things I identify with and adore, is to be Indian.
I've said it before, I'll say it again. Everywhere else in the world really is a wasteland of the monochrome.