Headlines and statistics shape our moods and views. Some of us think that India has a bright future as we have the greatest number of youth below 25. This means more energy, more manpower, and more ideas, we say. But then, a dissenting voice points out that we also have a huge number of poor whose lives have changed little in the sixty years since the birth of our nation.
An economist says that the Indian tiger will never catch up with the Chinese dragon. But a political leader asserts that China can never match us, as we celebrate people power through democracy. Who do we believe then? Should we be proud to be Indian, or admit that we have not seen much progress?
The debate continues and our mood oscillates as per reports of the latest calamity or success, the fall of the stock market or the rise of the rupee. But ultimately, most of us admit that we have been fortunate to have been born Indian, for there is much we have learned from being part of this huge melting pot:
Respect for diversity
We fight noisily and endlessly over resources and languages, leaders and borders. But we know in our hearts that we are united by this great nation, whatever our religion, language, caste or creed. And we are secretly delighted that we continue to function and forge ahead, carrying our millions with us.
We may not have trillions in cash reserves or governments that are models of efficiency, but we tackle challenges by being flexible, inventive and indefatigable. When a linear approach will not work, we try out options and thrive because we remain alert and aware.
Nothing can match the heat, the fervour, and the joy of life that our people exhibit ― in politics or business, sports or movies, melas or festivals. There is a zest to succeed, to create, to make our vote count. Our systems may fail us, but our passion carries us past obstacles. This focus is inevitably followed by success. As our sports icon Sachin said, when he took guard, everything else in the world receded to the background: “Then it is just the bowler, his hand and the ball coming at you. Nothing else.”
India is one of the few countries where bonds of family and community still prevail. Our attachment to our roots, our values and our culture remains strong. Ours is the land of thinkers and sages, seers and prophets. Spirituality gives us the equilibrium to face disaster and move on regardless. We believe, we hope, we struggle onwards. And when we hear our national anthem, we surge to our feet as one, our hearts uplifted and our minds inspired by the idea of this great nation that is India.
About Usha Narayanan
Usha Narayanan is a writer from the colourful world of advertising and media. Her first novel, ‘The Madras Mangler’, (http://goo.gl/lRMHgr) is chock-a-block with chills and thrills and has received several favourable reviews. Her next two novels, a romcom and an action-packed fantasy, have been picked up by leading publishers for publication in 2015.
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