Saturday, August 11, 2007

India - Shining and Rising @ 60

It sometimes requires a lot of effort to come out of your dumps, beat the blues and get into the real world amidst the thick of things. The last two weeks kept me busy with the unfavourable modes of life, and after sighing (a bit actually) and sulking, I came to terms with reality and now have moved on pretty well. A two weeks of hiatus from the world of blogging, I wanted to continue only if I found something stirring and moving to write about, instead of writing about the daily vagaries of life. What better topic can get more evocative than writing about the country! All Indian channels are beaming the news to keep us aware that India is turning 60, but that feeling lay hidden somewhere in the corner of my heart, and I had not truly felt the magnitude of the moment. Of course, the feeling was developing within over the last few days, but not good enough to express it in words. Some things are best left unwritten when the moment does not take you over. One has to wait for the right moment to express certain things, and today, I had a generous influx of unimaginable emotional and patriotic sentiments towards
MY country. There is always a sense of pride(I wish there is a better word in English to express this moment) when I talk about India, but today, the feeling was just overwhelming as I was flooded with a sense of patriotic fervour towards the country.

Lazing around the whole day, spending time on books and movies, the evening plan was made to watch Chak De India, where Shahrukh Khan(was one of my personal favorites in the industry; I used to love his mature thoughts in interviews) dons the role of the Indian women's hockey national team's coach, bringing together a group of girls from different parts of the country, integrating the national team, and driving home the importance of what Indianness is all about. The movie was gripping and showed our national game hockey (what an irony!) in wonderful light. The Indian mantra in the movie, the national anthem, the tricolour and the feeling of INDIA, just left me with a pulsating patriotic feeling running through my veins. I just could not curtail my excitement, as anything that has got to do with the country leaves me transfixed with an absolutely positive attitude and well-being.

So, the bottom line is, Independent India is turning 60. The blogosphere, internet, media, television, newsprint and almost every source is pointing to this fact. In fact, the TIME magazine has come out with a special edition to commemorate the occasion. What do I feel about my country, having lived in a foreign land for two years, first as a student and then, as a working professional. The 90s have truly been a turning point for India, what with the facelift it received from brilliant economic reforms, ease of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), an attempt being made to bridge the gap between the government and the common man, creating innumerable employment opportunities for the educated individual, enabling him to experience a standard of living like never before and more importantly, creating the impetus to achieve a good GDP.

Top Indian technology companies formed a base starting the silicon valley in Bangalore, later spreading the roots to Hyderabad, Madras, Pune, Calcutta, Gurgaon and Noida, and now striking the second tier of cities - Mysore, Coimbatore, Trivandram and Hubli. The average pay package of a graduate has increased from a nominal range of Rs. 50000 - Rs. 80000 per annum to a starting package of Rs. 3,00,000 - Rs. 10,00,000 per annum. The former yearly package is not even sufficient enough to qualify as the present monthly salaray. The times have just changed. Every company abroad wants to set up a base in India, what with a great talent pool, and more importantly, at affordable rates. India is creating the big names - Narayanmurthy of Infosys, Azim Premji of Wipro, Ratan Tata of TATA, Ambanis of Reliance, Birlas, Lakshmi Mittal of Mittal Steel and others have forayed well to create a niche for themseleves in the global arena. It is surely a matter of pride.

We have always prided ourselves on equipping ourselves with value based education. The whole system is designed in such a way, that for a typical Indian middle class family, education tops the priority list. This is a great boon for developing India to create and nurture talent, allowing young minds to think outside the box, and provide a platform that would enable them to excel proficiently in any field of interest. India has in it to provide the right guidance in almost any field of study. That really augurs well for the future.

In terms of agriculture, India is more than self-sufficient. Gone are the times in the early fifties when India had to import tonnes of rice and sugar from Japan and China. The five year plans were established to set up a progressive economy with industrialization and agriculture topping the agenda. India holds geographical patents in terms of Basmati, a type of rice that is consumed throughout the world, famous for its fragrance and delicate flavour. It is also heartening to note the rise of exports as far as the textile industry is concerned. India has emerged as one of the world's largest exporter of cotton and silk garments. Mysore and Kancheepuram along with Benares have emerged as acclaimed territories for high quality silk sarees.

It is just not enough to write about what one feels about India in a blog. The list is obviously endless. But, more importantly, we need to delve on the other side of India. What is it that we are missing or what is it that's going wrong. The infrastructure in US inevitably leads me to compare the facilities we have back home. Water, electricity, roads, natural resources are just aplenty and good in other countries. There is a big chunk of the country living without the basic amenities and that is truly disheartening. The disparity in income is glaring among different sections of the society. The conditions of roads are a big mess in most parts of the country. It is not that roads here do not get damaged, but people are put in place almost immediately to set things right. We need to have a system in place to put things in order. Here, people tend to follow the rules perfectly on road. In India, it is almost taken for granted that the other person is going to break the rules. We somehow have to shed this attitude and imbibe within ourselves a more structured way of public living. Public toilets are a revelation here. How many of them use the public toilets in India? Most of us leave the place unusable within a few days of its inauguration. A glaring thing that is noticed back home is that, anything outside our homes is treated as garbage. We are happy as long as we keep our house clean, but anything beyond the house premises is not our concern. Communal tensions and petty fights and squabbles have to end. We should learn not to burn our surroundings once we lose a popular figure in the country. Our country is not about a few individuals. We should realize that and work with a collective effort for the betterment of the country.

I definitely do not want to harp on our negatives. But the point is I want to see our country grow in the right way. We need to set certain things in order. Every house has some flaws, and in a similar way does every country. There is no denying that we have a great system in place, and if we can rectify the flaws, we will be heading towards a highly progressive India. At the end of the day, that is what each and every Indian wants to see. We definitely can do it, and if we don't do it, who will do it? Each of us have a responsibility to fulfill and it would be great to see things shape up well.

There is no doubt that inspite of the tall order, there is no denying the love and passion each of us have towards our country. As I keep saying (in my earlier blogs),one has to get out of India to experience what India is all about. Emotions fly thick and fast in a foreign land, and the kind of happiness that a fellow Indian brings to your face is one of the most wonderful moments. We try to create a feeling of home away from home, with talks centering on how we can contribute towards the development of the country. The feeling is there uppermost in everybody's minds with each of us wanting to contribute whatever we can over a period of time. All of us are certainly heading towards a vibrant India. At the end of the day, one thing is clear, the kind of happiness that thoughts of India bring you is unmatched by anything else in the world. India is a complete package - family, values, festivals, togetherness, sense of belonging and system, and right now it just suffices to say that I am missing all these things.

Wishing you all a Happy 60th year of Indian Independence!!!


  1. In terms of agriculture, India is more than self-sufficient. Gone are the times in the early fifties when India had to export tonnes of rice and sugar from Japan and China.

    you meant 'import', right?

    super post.
    you have very neatly brought out the patriotic fervour through this post. as you have said, it is just not enough to write about what one feels about India in a blog. surely, if we can rectify the flaws (which is easier said than done, but certainly not impossible), we will be heading towards a highly progressive India.
    happy independence day.

  2. I am glad you still hope for better India.
    But i don't understand how you experience India going out to a foreign land.You might miss the lifestyle here , but i am sure you will group with tons of ur Indian friends and create a similar lifestyle in some time there.I have seen Indian communities in Europe , it was like seeing India.
    Best way to experience India is to be here frankly.In Europe , the only thing i missed was food, everything we complain here is perfect there.
    This is the way i see it.

    There a lot of issues as you pointed out , i wonder who will solve them !!! else your 75 anniversary post will still have all these problems.

    Stock market is not growth , basmati rice is grown in punjab mainly , and s/w engineers earning 5L are just a very small part of the population.No doubt about the facts , but the real indian is still the same he was 60 years ago , poor , uneducated , fighting for survival.

    And this is not from newspapers, after traveling a lot in karnataka(for my own amusements) , this is what i have seen.

  3. Bellur: Thanks for pointing out the mistake. I have changed it! I am glad you liked the post. I thought this was the least I could do now sitting 16000 miles away from home!!!!

    Again, a very happy Independence day!

    Vasuki: That is exactly what I have tried to point out. We still have the negatives, the majority of the population are fighting for basic amenities. But, tell me one thing, people like us have to start off somethings somewhere to provide a headstart for the upliftment of the poor.

    Yeah, even in US, I do hang out with Indian friends, rather spend maximum amount of time with them. But, the point is, they are just samples. The real India can be experienced only in India. There are small things you end up missing here.

    One thing is clear, educated people like us should do something for the country, and like minded individuals should get together and start off.

  4. "Emotions fly thick and fast in a foreign land, and the kind of happiness that a fellow Indian brings to your face is one of the most wonderful moments."
    How true !! I always feel the same way.
    Here in India we take so many things for granted.. just like a routine to go for flag hoisting or we plan for an outing on 15th August.

    Well written post, popped up many questions.

  5. wonderfully written..and after a long time....i totally agree with all ur sentiments about India...And I too feel that it is the young dynamic population of the country that can take it to new heights....happy independence day to you and everyone...

    p.s.- didnt know ur feelings abt sharukh khan..;-)

  6. people(atleast few) seem to get more patriotic feeling when they cross the shores :-)

    One thing is clear, educated people like us should do something for the country, and like minded individuals should get together and start off.
    agreed, right now the number is really small. if u read the news papers u come across such people every day. i hope it grows fast.
    some person exposing the corruption in jharkand(?) and in the process saving 90000 trees.
    the media continuously exposing land grabbing and destruction of forest belt.
    Bottom line, start working towards removal of corruption and make the law more stringent.

    u remember an argument in sixth sem on shahrukh khan? u hated him those days.


  7. Cuckoo: Thanks a lot! Yeah what you say is very correct about taking things for granted back home!!

    Shubhika: Thanks!
    ps: Have never hated him or liked him, just that have always remained neutral in thoughts!

    Prasad: Yup, corruption is one of the major issues in the country. We have to make everything transparent. That would save a lot of trouble.

    As I said before, I have never hated him. It is just that it gets irritating when some people enforce their liking on you.

  8. Nice touch with the colours!