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Vilakudy Days

Monday, September 26, 2005

INDIA ON THE MOVE

You can take Indians out of India. But you can’t take India out of Indians.
It is not just a heart-on-the-sleeve slogan. Most of the Indians really mean it. A recent survey by the BBC World Service and Gallup International commissioned to take views of more than 50,000 people in 68 countries found that a significant 34 per cent of Indians identified themselves as Indians. Most of the Indians said it was the defining point of their identity and that Indianness was most important to them. Only 8 per cent of Pakistanis said they identified themselves as Pakistanis. While a mere 19 percent in India said religion was their main identity maker, an astonishing 59 percent of Pakistanis said religion was their most important identity.
For India as a nation, it could perhaps be one of the most defining moments as well. Over the years, the idea of India has evolved itself.
Literally, India was born in darkness. At the stroke of midnight hour when the world was sleeping, India woke up to freedom. The West greeted an inchoate democracy with distrust by predicting a catastrophic future for India. No country with such an amorphous mass, an alarming growth rate and often under threat of succession could remain as a single unit. Instead, it handed out a carte blanche to a homogenous Pakistan. Things went the other way. Pakistan and several post-colonial Third World countries were plunged into crisis after crisis. Drowning the incipient doomy theories in the Indian Ocean, India sailed ahead.
Fifty-eight years later, the West learnt that India has indeed arrived on the world stage. Introducing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to his wife, President Bush in New York said, “He is the Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy in which there are 150 million Muslims. Not one of them has joined al-Qaeda.’’
As often said, it is not just cricket and Bollywod that bind India. More than that, it is the idea of India that binds us as a nation. To paraphrase Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City, “101 out of 100 in India are cheaters. Still my India is the best.”

Rajaneesh Vilakudy

1 Comments:

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