Sunday, May 3, 2009

Being an Indian

When I was much younger, my father often encouraged me take up debating in school competitions. Though his attempt remained mostly unsuccessful at that, I do remember an anecdote of his till today, which is very important for my definition of being an Indian. 

When my father was in college, he took part in a Punjabi debate competition the topic for which was - 'Rabba main nai jana swargan'ch apne Punjab nu chad ke'. This literally translates as 'God I don’t want to leave my Punjab even for the heavens'. Well, as the competition began, speakers started coming and enumerating the good qualities of Punjab. Some spoke about its green fields, some about its strong men, some about economic prosperity and some about the vibrant culture. Nobody wanted to leave a Punjab so in its glory. Then came another student, ordinary like all others and said - Yes, Punjab is beautiful and bountiful. Yes, it is rich in its finances and culture. Yes, its strength of men and community is unrivalled. But, nevertheless today Punjab is riddled with corruption, greed and nepotism. Drug and alcohol abuse is rampant and so is crime and violence. Female foeticide and illiteracy are on a never before high. And till the time I don't set these things right, O Lord, I am not going to leave my Punjab even for your heavens.

For me this speaker was the only one who knew what is the true meaning of loyalty/ patriotism. It is very easy to belong to groups, communities or nations who are doing well. It does not take much to sell up everything and get a Canadian or British Passport. If you do that, then lovely; I am glad you know your priorities. But do not call yourself an Indian then. You may wear saris and kurtas, eath pranthas and drink lassi and be a sucker for bollywood but this makes no one more an Indian than Tony Blair or Madonna. Britain’s most popular food is Indian 'curry', how many Brits can be called Indian because of that? Bhangra is a worldwide hit. Everyone who dances on its tune is not Punjabi/ Indian. To be Indian is to know that for better or worse this is my country. I am made up its soil. Come what may, all my efforts go towards the progress and development of my country. If my country is doing well, I will glorify it and if it is not, I will set things right. To the armchair critic who can only sit and complain about the politicians and the bureaucracy, I can only repeat what our ex-Prez A P J Kalam had said- Don't ask what has your country given you, ask what have you given to your country! See the entire message -


So today, after you have read this, do stand in front of the mirror, look into your own eyes and ask yourself- 

Am I actually an Indian or do I simply like Indianess? 

If your hair stands on its ends at the question and gooseflesh spreads, you will know what I mean and everything will illuminate itself then.


  1. Brillianto Gringo!
    My Nigga u Cudnt be Bigga!

  2. smewhr down the line u have got the essence truly of wht u wanted to say....cant agree more on this than wht u have said
    jai gurudev