Our Heritage

It might look very familiar to you when in a group of Indians, people start talking about the problems India has. Comparing India with western countries and coming out with all the problems we have. Surprisingly it has become a big gossip topic and I get amused and bored whenever I find it.

Sometimes I think they really don’t realize what we actually have. Think about it. Satyajit Ray gets his due credit in India after he receives an Oscar award. Similarly from the time “Yog” became “Yoga”, we began to realize its value. And why do we want to call our cinema as Bollywood instead of just Indian cinema like any other world cinema (french, italian, chinese etc)?

People talk about problems and chaos and say, may be they will not be able to perform in best possible way because of sheer amount of problems we have compared to western world. Recently we invited the founders of “Lean Software Development” in NCR and got an opportunity to talk with them. Similar question came into picture that in a system of chaos and so many problems we have in India, can we really perform the way western companies do. The answer she gave was satisfying and reinforced my thinking. She said, solutions and big economic drive comes in an area of chaos only. Countries which are satisfied with themselves and are already developed and have a good system will not be able to do that. USA in 19th century was a similar case. It used to be known for its complete lawlessness and absolutely no system. That time became the playground of so many initiatives and ideas and we see USA as the country we know now.

Sometimes I feel people don’t know/underestimate their roots and are endlessly following their western dreams. It’s a fashionable statement or a status symbol when a child talks about reading Harry Potter books. Similarly talking about Hollywood movies and English songs is also taken in similar fashion. However I get surprised when these children have no idea about our own heroes, cultures and mythology. No idea about Ramayana, Mahabharata and our value system etc.

Sometimes back, my polish friend told that he found some Indians so westernized that even his compatriot western people are not. I was amused to hear that. When we talk with western people, we talk about things which that person may be knowing already or is already comfortable with. Recently our company gifted bottles of wine as gift to our western guest even though we know Indian culture doesn’t encourage alcohol and I think there could be better Indian gifts instead.

I felt the value of being Indian when I stayed for sometime in USA and talked to many people there. I felt so confident and comfortable in being myself that I think that was a kind of rebirth for me. I had so much to share and had so many different perspectives which those people never had and never thought of.

Before going there, I used to feel a bit of inferiority complex compared to my so called “westernized” friends. In US and Netherlands I could open up many communication channel and reaffirmed it again and again that we Indians have so much in ourselves that people in India don’t understand or recognize it. We have our share of problems but tell me which country doesn’t have them.

We talk about the chaos Indian system has but let’s compare it with those countries. US has 6 times bigger space than India and 1/6th of its population. So in total a person in US has 36 times bigger spaces and resources to use compared to her Indian counterpart. You put the same ratio of people in States and you’ll find a similar chaos there also.

I feel we should not leave some of the best things our cultural heritage provides us. From the very beginning, we are open to the new ideas, so much so that none of the western world has done so in their own history. So we should take forward the part of our heritage, values and culture and try to improve on the part we have problems. But following western values without any proper thought will not work in long run. It will create a rootlessness which I can already see in our younger generation.

1 Comment

  • Yes, I agree with you. Taking pride in proving oneself to be a more westernized is spreading like a viral disease. Till now, it has infected the metros and few other big cities/towns and the village population(where our major population lives) is still shielded from it, but that’s only for now. Nothing can be guaranteed for future, and I am afraid that those part would also get engulfed in it.
    But it’s also true that we still have few conscious people, who understand this and are aware of it. It then becomes the responsibility of those mature persons to work hard and try to save our heritage and core principles. But the volume of the problem is so big that these minor efforts are not enough to tackle it. But then, why to worry about others. Why not be concerned about ourselves and the people around us. Why to stop anybody for doing what he thinks is correct. They should better be left to themselves to decide what is correct or incorrect for them. Everyone is on his own evolution cycle and they should be left to evolve by their own.

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