Its our 66th Independence Day. The ladies in our building put together a nice 1 hr program to celebrate the occasion. The kids had to sing ” Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara …..”. My 5 Year old was part of the group and she has been practicing hard for the last few weeks. Last night as we were chatting post dinner before bedtime and she asked me a simple innocent question ” Is India really the best in the whole world “.
I was in a spot. I couldn’t tell her lies , yet I really had to think how to prove to her that India is really the greatest in many many aspects. I was anyway sick & tired of all the negative press we see in our newspapers & TV every day (Corruption , rape , train accidents , murder – I seriously feel our media folks needs to focus on more positive commentary)- so here are some points I shared with her.
We have been Independent for only 66 years
When you look at the history of India of nearly 2000 + Years – we have actually been independent as a country for only 66 years. The concept of Bharat & Hindustan has been around since the Aryan era but from the late 800 AD we have been plundered again and again by invaders – Starting with Alexander , Ghori, Ghazni, Aibak , the Turks , the Mongols , the Dutch , The French , the British ….. . Think of any country that has faced the wrath of so many invaders – not many names come to our mind. The US has been independent for hundreds of years, Europe faced the effects of WW for a few years, Japan was bombed once – but we have been controlled, ruled , butchered , dominated for over a 1000 + years – and have still retained our traditions, culture & art . That really makes us the best in the world.
Idli, Dosa & Rasogolla has Global acceptance
Look at our diversity in food. Walking into the Indian kitchen its amazing how the housewife creates magical varieties of dishes from over hundreds of ingredients thats part of almost every household . They say in India if you travel every hundred kilometres the food and the language changes. And today we have absorbed different food habits – North Indians eat Idli , Dosa, S Indian Eat Dhokla & Sabudana Poha, Luchi Aloo Dam is a favoured dish Pan India , Rajasthani Thali is loved all over – food has truly integrated us as a nation all over. Why just India the humble Indian Curry is the most popular disk in UK and Saravana Bhawan has opened in over 25 countries to roaring business. So when it comes to food we are the best in the world. Nobody can match even remotely the variety of dishes this country can serve.
Culture & Arts
Learning Bharatnatyam takes many years – for a kid of 5 , a committment of 10 years to become a exponent of Bharatnatyam is not an easy one. Why Bharatnatyam – take any Indian Musical instrument – Veena , Mandoline, Tabla , Ghatam… its hard dedicated work to become a specialist. They say to become an expert one needs to spend nearly 10,000+ hrs in an activity – if you spend an hr / day thats 365 hrs a year and 30 years to become a world specialist. Yet we excel in this – every indian family wants their children to learn at least one Indian art form. In a city like Bangalore every weekend there will be at least 10 different stage performances happening of some traditional Indian art form or music. Find me a country that can match the sheer variety of dance forms , music instruments that we have in India. That makes us the best in the world.
The Power of Yoga
Over 1000 years of invasions all our manuscripts and scriptures were plundered , burnt , ravished (Read about what Mahmud Ghazni did at Somnath , and that was follwed right till the age of the British)
We find glowing references to India in the writings of pre-colonial Europeans quoted by Swami Vivekananda: “All history points to India as the mother of science and art,” wrote William Macintosh. “This country was anciently so renowned for knowledge and wisdom that the philosophers of Greece did not disdain to travel thither for their improvement.” Pierre Sonnerat, a French naturalist, concurred:
We find among the Indians the vestiges of the most remote antiquity…. We know that all peoples came there to draw the elements of their knowledge…. India, in her splendour, gave religions and laws to all the other peoples; Egypt and Greece owed to her both their fables and their wisdom.
Look at the Power of Yoga. A practise that retained its glory thru the ages and was imparted from Guru to Shishya , Father to Children. Anything that is genuinely good and delivery value needs no marketing or publicity ( Look at Apple Products!!). Today we probably have a Yoga teaching centre in every major city of the world. Millions practise the Surya Namaskar every day and profess of the benefits they have gained. Its the perfect example of Word of Mouth Marketing.
Yoga, spiritual thinking and the ability to share this knowledge by individuals and small teachers is what makes India unique. An example of this is Yoga House – a small Yoga Studio that has opened in Indranagar – started by a passionate Yoga Practitioner. She could have rented her house in this prime area and made a lot more money rather than try running a Yoga Centre with delectably tasty health food (Veg). There are still many practitioners like her across the world spreading the power of Yoga and Spiritual Thinking ( Not every one like Baba Ramdev & Sri Sri are running a commercial venture)
People like the lady who runs Yoga House or the many Yoga Ashrams across the country propogating health & spiritual peace are what makes India the greatest.
In Conclusion I had to tell my daughter – lets look at the positives around us that makes us a great country. The journey has started and yes there is hope that some capable person ( maybe its Kejriwal) can strike the right chord and wake the millions in this country from slumber ( The slumber of what Can I do ? ) and help us get our wealth back ( Black Money from Swiss Banks) , eliminate Greed (So that we are happy with one house and don’t buy 3 – and even if we do pay the right amount in Chk and not evade property tax) , Elect Good People ( Not Crooks) , Create a sense of Community and pride (Sadly other than Sachin, Dhoni and the winers of Olympic medals and maybe Aamir Khan there are no national heroes. There is no Ambedkar , or Sardar Patel who can bind the country as one).
There is hope and we definitely have a right to keep singing Sare Jahan Se Acchha Hindustan Hamara.