Be an Indian, Being an Indian!

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Vishav Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena etc. are known for the nuisance and hoopla they create during Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and many other such Days. Citing the reason that this is not Indian culture and it is westernizing our society, this is making the Indian youth move away from its cultural roots and they are forgetting the basic Indian values. Celebrating such occasions will harm the Indian culture and traditions. Whatever might be the political motives behind this, that they only know, and I am against the way they harm people and damage public property, but what worries me the most is the way we are losing our Indian-ness and look Westward for everything, despite being called would be super power.


For everything happening in India, good or bad, we have an American example to quote as a simile or metaphor. After 62 years of independence, we are still slaves. Now not of the Brits, but the Americans .We have nothing to quote as our own. For instance, from copying the scripts of TV serials, to movies to music, from Kaun Baga Crorepati , Indian Idol , Big Boss and Kya Aap Panchvi Paas Se Tez Hai, all these draw inspiration from Who Will Be the Millionaire?, American Idol, Big Brother and Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? respectively.


Sarkar Raj is a Hindi remake of God Father, to quote an example. Our very own Indian Film Industry is called Bollywood, to make it look like a subsidiary company of Hollywood. And we salivate for recognition at the Oscars, to prove that an Indian films was a magnum opus; why?


Not only this, we Indians call our very own national shames of 26/11, the 9/11 of America’s Twin towers in our country, and the Satyam fraud case as the Enron of India. Bangalore India’s Information Technology hub is called the Silicon Valley of India. Its identity as the City of Gardens has changed to Silicon Valley of India. Kashmir is the Switzerland of India. Mumbai, the financial capital of India, is also called as Manhattan of India. We copy America blindly in everything and are not willing to brain storm in this name game to explain what we are. This all is when America is stubborn with its “I am what I am attitude”, one need not mention their stand on Global Warming when it has refused to curb down its emissions, after being the biggest polluter in the world or what they did in Iraq. And not to forget, the subprime crisis, the innovative America’s gift to the world!


This Americanization of India is trickling down from the Indian film industry, to the corporate world, to politics, to urban areas, and now, to villages as well. From the English language becoming our mother tongue, to burger with cheese as our staple diet. In India, the youth today sing Christmas carols and celebrate New Year on January 1, but don’t know the folk song sung on lohri celebrations and those who know it, feel awkward singing them.


We feel empowered speaking English, but feel shy in speaking in our cultural dialects and languages in public places. How many of us know Hindi names of months, or for that matter, that the Hindu New Year starts in April on the occasion of Ram Navami? We want Mayawati to learn lessons from Obama to move away from cast and color politics. Isn’t it a big shame that among so many politicians in India, we are not able to find one single political leader from whom Mayawati can take lessons? I don’t think it’s that difficult to find one, certainly one doesn’t need a magnifying glass for this, but what worries me is that we Indians will start calling that one politician Obama of India.


We idolize America in so many things where we can do without them. But where we should, we turn a blind eye. For instance, there is nothing like female foeticide; their women need not think twice before moving out of their homes late at night. Their political representatives have received education at the Harvard Business School, University of California etc. But in India, we have criminals with court proceedings going on as our political representatives. Why don’t we idolize them here?


In today’s globalizing world, when communication and cultural barriers have been overcome and English is becoming world’s local language, this fusion of cultures is bound to happen, especially when we are doing so much trade with America. But that doesn’t mean the one should forget one’s own identity. As one of my professor’s always says, be flexible from outside, but strong from inside. That is being flexible in your mannerisms when dealing with others, but don’t let their identities and personas influence you so much that you forget who you are. Respect your own selves and only then world will respect you. In the present global melt down, when the worlds’ economists and statesmen are looking towards India to learn management and economic policies, we should stop looking towards America and start celebrating being just Indians. Isn’t it a morale booster enough that we are the best? After all, a tree is considered alive and can bear fruits only when it is attached to its roots.


Khushboo Luthra

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