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Incredible India - I love India
I love India, this incredible land that I live in. I love the values, the culture and the traditions that make India unique and vibrant; the countless festivals, the colour and the hot beating sun. Her people are special, steeped in traditions that are old as the mountains. Their wisdom is as deep as Aryabhatta, the man who gave the numerical value ‘zero’ to the world. This is the land of elephants, monkeys and peacocks - strength, cleverness and beauty all in one.
India is a fascinating land, with her rivers and her mountains, the snow-capped peaks and her deserts signifying her nature as the land of peace and harmony. Though invaded many times over, plundered and polluted, she has managed to retain her culture and her uniqueness. I am proud to be an Indian. Her people speak many languages, each language, just as fluently as the other. Indians are varied in their religious beliefs, traditions and culture and yet they live in harmony.
The spirit and soul of India
As I was pondering about this proud country, I realized that it is the spirit of India that makes it unique. The soul of India is its spirituality. Every road, every street has a temple or a church or a mosque or may be just an idol under a tree to which people pray. These people seek God and his blessings day after day. The day does not start without seeking God’s direction and blessings. The temples have their spiritual music overwhelming the surrounding areas in the early hours of the morning. The churches are full of people praying and the muezzin,s call for prayer can be heard at all the fixed times of the day. Simple, humble and willing to submit themselves to the authority of the God of the universe is the nature of India’s people.
Traditional Indian Lamps in Brass
India - her customs, traditions, culture
Education is valued highly and every family saves to educate its children. Exams are just around the corner as I write this and I find mothers and fathers learning the lessons of history and geography with their children. The desire to make a name for oneself, being qualified as a professional – a doctor or an engineer - is the dream of most Indians. The family is the breeding ground of these dreams. It wouldn’t be a rare thing to see a family sell off the only piece of property that it possessed to educate the children. Even poor women work as house-maids, cleaning utensils and doing hard work under difficult conditions, just to see their children educated. It is no wonder that President Obama is wary of Indians and her people.
Most Indians are hard working and save money for the future; wasteful and impulsive spending is rare. Every bit of the money that is earned is saved, for the children and their welfare. The father is the disciplinarian, while the mother is the one who nurtures. Respect for elders is what makes the Indian people stand out in a crowd. No one is addressed by their names; it is always brother, sister, uncle and aunt that are commonly used for people who are not even related in anyway. Every neighbour is an uncle, aunt, grandma or grandpa; no one is ‘Vijay’ or ‘Preethi’.
There is so much openness. People care so deeply about each other that they treat family and strangers alike. Neighbours are ready not only to share in the happiness, but also when there is a death or when problems arise; they are the first to offer help. The sense of community is so strong that Indians would be lost outside of India, unless they are the second or later generation of Indians in the country of their adoption.
Indian life - her greatest strengths
It is the spirituality and the poise of India that has drawn people from other cultures to her. Yoga, which is so commercialised today and taught by anyone and everyone, is a product of the ascetic life of the sadhus. The fitness and self-discipline regime of the sages that has been practiced over centuries is now being sold like instant food over the counter.
The respect for life, be it a tree or a plant or an animal, is so deep that you find them being worshiped all over the land. Elders are always the ones who make the decisions in the families. Joint families where the parents, their children and grandchildren all live under one roof, are so common. Sometimes even cousins, uncles and aunts live together. But those are the days of the past; the huge families are giving way to nuclear units. Still, the threads of control may exist with the elders in the family who decide the most important events in the family.
Modesty and decorum is a virtue that was common in India until the advent of the influence of international television and multinationals operating in India. India has seen her share of change. Yet, she is in her heart, the modest, respectful, spiritual and peaceful country that she has always been.
The extravagance of Indians can be seen on special occasions like marriages in the family, when all that has been saved is used to treat family, friends or maybe even entire villages. Festivals are also wonderful days to look forward to. Festivals are colourful affairs; homes are cleaned, painted and decorated, new clothes are worn and the whole neighbourhood gets to have a share of the sweets and the goodies that are common to all festivals. Sharing is the reason behind festivals. Happiness shared is happiness doubled.
India is known for her hospitality. The sages have taught through the centuries the principle of “Athithi Devo Bhava” which means, ‘The guest is God’. The kindness and generosity of her people is also well known.
Art and culture in every form is given a high degree of importance and is greatly respected. The Bharathanatyam or the dance of Bharath (the other name for India) is sought after and learnt by people of all cultures world over. The skill and beauty of these art forms is something that you have to see to believe. It may not be possible to mention all the arts forms of India here, I may have to write one whole book, which is not a very practical task.
Some Great Indians - Illustrious son's and daughters of India
It would be unthinkable not to mention some of Indians illustrious sons and daughters, while I write about this great nation.
Mahatma Gandhi, who is the founding father of India, is an example of non-violence, peace and goodness in the face of hostility and aggression.
C.V. Raman is widely known for his discovery of the Raman Effect, which explains the inelastic scattering of a light photon by an atom or molecule. He was also the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize.
Rabindranath Tagore, a famous poet, novelist, painter and playwright, was the first non- European who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His works have been translated into many languages all over the world. He is also the only litterateur who penned the national anthems of two nations, namely, India and Bangladesh.
Srinivasa Ramanujam, an Indian mathematician who made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions. G. H. Hardy classified him with legendary mathematicians such as Euler, Gauss, Newton and Archimedes. He was also a fellow of the TrinityCollege, Cambridge.
Aryabhatta was the first in the line of mathematician - astronomers. The place value system, the summation of series, squares and cubes and the principle of the “Zero” were all the products of his work.
When you think of cricket, in this cricket crazy country you think of Sachin Tendulkar. This man is one of the greatest sportsmen that India has ever produced and he has changed the definition of the game itself. Still going strong at 38 years of age, he is a true symbol of the integrity, grit, discipline and determination that is found in almost all Indians.
Dr. Amartya Sen, an eminent Indian economist, won the Nobel Prize for welfare economics in 1998.
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a structural biologist was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009.
Rudyard Kipling, born in Bombay in 1865, is regarded as the innovator of short stories. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907 for his work, “The Jungle Book”.
Not to forget the Young woman Kalpana Chawla the deployer of the Spartan satellite who lost her life in the disaster of the space shuttle Columbia.
Another other brave young woman Sunitha Williams the NASA astronaut is the woman who has held the record for the longest spaceflight for women so far. It may be impossible to mention every one here.
Why I love India - the Incredible India
I love India. Yes, it is still dirty and is the land of many slums. It is underdeveloped, but it is one country that is and will always be on the radar of science, technology and advancement. India has been a blessing to many nations as she has lent out her brainy sons and daughters. The IT companies and IT-enabled companies will continue to depend largely upon India’s people. The world can cry foul, but India has marked her spot on the world map of IT and technological advancements.
India is thus, a land of such diversity, colour and life and it is these unique qualities that draw visitors from all over the world. Add to that, the kindness and loving nature of her people, and you have a country that is such a pleasure to live in, nay, a privilege. Yes, I love my India!