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Are you proud to be an Indian?

If you had to substantiate in a 10-minute argument that India is a great country, what would you say?

I was frantically trying to finish my presentation for tomorrow, when my Polish colleague decided he needs to know more about India, and that too, NOW. The usually peace loving person that I am, I found myself entrapped in an argument and I don’t even remember how a friendly discourse had turned into a heated argument. Maybe it was because I was caught off-guard or because I was half distracted with my work or because it was well past my normal working hours, but I could manage no more than –

1) We are the country with the biggest and most successful democracy in the world.

2) We are the country which invented 0.

3) We are one of the earliest civilizations in the world, with unparalleled contributions to literature and philosophy such as the Vedas, Gita, Mahabharata and Ramayana.

4) Unity in Diversity – We are a land of diverse cultures, languages and traditions which co-exist peacefully and have a single nationalistic identity.

5) We are a country that has had many great scientists, philosophers, writers, artists such as Tagore, Ramanujan, Mother Teresa and so on.

6) We are the country that successfully overthrew the British empire through the novel, non-violent ‘Ahimsa’ movement.

When you are debating with a European, whose image of India is limited to a picture of poverty, colonisation and political instability, you need to do better than this.

How do you say the Vedas are unparalleled, if in the first place he has not even heard about the Vedas? How can you say with conviction that the political instability that is often associated with India cannot be attributed to the democracy we have? If someone thinks 0 is just a numeral, not a philosophical concept to represent the void, how do you convince him otherwise? If he thinks there are constant fights between different religions in India and has read about the Hindu-Muslim riots and Babri Masjid, how do you say that is not the norm? For a country of a billion people, is it only statistical that you have some great achievers. To make matters worse, I could not list an overwhelming concentration that defied the rules of pure statistics. In fact even statistics don’t seem to help much sometimes – Why don’t we win even a single Olympic gold for that matter? Why can’t we solve our ‘issues’ with Pakistan the non-violent way?

Call him ignorant, you sure can. But the best of teachers excel in teaching the worst of students. Call him annoying, I sure did. But all said and done, I am proud of my India and I wish I was better at expressing it. After half an hour, I decided that regardless of whether my Polish neighbour agreed with my views on India or not, getting back to my presentation was no more a matter of choice.

If there are any Indians reading this, did I miss anything? For the “debate” hasn’t ended.

Posted in India on April 4, 2005


35 Responses

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  1. Vishnu Gopal says

    What’s unique about India perhaps is that we manage to assimilate everything that is thrown at us, and still retain our identity. Name any other country that has more than a thousand dialects, or a zillion different opinions (religious or otherwise), and still manage to be a democracy. Sure, we have our problems, but just the amount of national fervour that we have (evidenced by cricket matches) will show people that there is indeed somehting unique about India.

  2. Srijith says

    Frankly, the title of the post doesn’t mirror the content of the post.

    Am I proud to be an Indian? Damn sure I am. Why? I just am, there is no need for a reason for being proud citizen of your motherland. If someone continues to ask for a reason, I will tell him/her that he/she does not understand human nature, human beings.

    The post however deals with something different – what accomplishments or contributions of India (and Indians) are you proud of? Maybe these facts will help a bit – http://www.stephen-knapp.com/indian_contributions_to_american_progress.htm

  3. Surya says

    Cricket sure brings out the unity in us,anytime!

  4. Surya says

    The link sure helps..but whats gonna help even more is if u come down to office and tell Robert your first two arguements yourself. – then i can sit back, relax and watch a nice debate..=)

    >> Frankly, the title of the post doesn’t mirror the content of the post.
    ..I couldn’t think of anything else.

  5. vishnu says

    Iam vishnu of VIII standard . actually
    i had joined in essay competition.thanks for your information

  6. Surya says

    Hi Vishnu of VIII standard,

    I am glad that it helped you. All the best for your essay competition.

  7. Ayesha says

    I had to present a speech on “Why Iam proud to be an Indian” and your information helped me a lot.Thanks a lot for it.

  8. karmadude says

    There is one important fact often forgotten, which is Black Gold (pepper)–this one spice led to explorations that eventually led to the sea route to India, and dicovery of the new world, and enventually the world not being flat. If it was not for pepper the present could have been something else.

  9. nidhi says

    thnks fer de info..i needed fer an essayy…neways canya gimme sum mre info abt wat makes u proud of india..?

  10. pranav says

    hie.i m pranav….this helped mee a lot… can u give somemore info abt proud 2 b an Indian

  11. Saurabh Soni says

    Hi, I am Saurabh Soni. I need some more
    information on How Proud I am to be an
    Indian. Can u pls provide now.

  12. gavin says

    of couse

  13. subhashree says

    thank you very much , not only because you helped me a lot in my essay competition but to argue with myself over this .

  14. Nayana Priyadarshiny says

    Hai I’m Nayana I need some more information on How Proud I am to be an Indian.Can to please provide more details about this and this is urgent pls send me now itself
    Thanking you
    Yours faithfully
    Nayana

  15. V.BALAKRISHNAN says

    Interesting.yes,inspite of all the painful experiences I lived as a true INDIAN for 61 years. I am proud of it. Long live INDIA

  16. ena sar says

    hi me ena.i am a indian girl.i am proud to be an indin. i selut all army or polich or soldiers

  17. max says

    surya,you can now go and hit that polish FUCKER
    and say “india has managed 3 medals in the OLYMPICS”!

  18. arvind pareeek says

    hi, i want o know about my country more

  19. abhi sharma says

    ya i m proud to be an an indian

  20. Mihir Khandekar says

    India is the best place in the world and is the world’s 4th largest economy…..Who say that india is poor, they are the biggest losers…..I A PROUD TO BE INDIAN……Jai Hind

  21. Janneke says

    Hi Surya,

    when I think of India, I think the most vibrant colours, the most beautifully clad people, the riches of culture and the calmth of mind that its spiritual heritage brings… and I have never even been there!

    When someone asks me 10 reasons why Holland matters, I can’t come up with more than

    1) We colonized half the world in 16 hundreds (wonderful fact that is)

    2) We won a Nobel Prize for Physics some years ago

    3) We have tulips and windmills

    4) eeeeeuuuuhhhh o yeah, we used to not be so bad at soccer, but that is years ago

    5) did I say windmills

    See, not half as impressive as your list.

    But I am proud, most of the time anyway (except when Wilders is in the papers and all over the news again)

    So what I am trying to say is that facts are irrelevant when it comes to pride of country. Nor do the lesser aspects diminish your pride. Pride is in the people you know, the way you treat your visitors and how they remember you, the smells of the village you were born in, a smile on the face of a child and all the colors, words, sounds and songs combined.

    No use convincing the cynics of this world, it is energy wasted that is better put somewhere else.

    And yeah, I got here through your farewell mail and decided the best way to let you know I love the website is by posting a comment, the first one I ever posted online.

    Take care,
    Janneke

  22. Yogi says

    Janneka summarized it, as far as I think ..

    We will be proud of our country regardless of any facts. But the pride will be real when we will see smile on every face, every child, every elder person.

    then I guess, I will be totally proud and won’t be left with any doubt :)

    ~Yogi

  23. abhishek says

    good essay

  24. Ajay says

    If you are interested to know more about India, pl watch these links as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pueVNbuZ2A4&NR=1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8NpaG0cAGo&NR=1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgXq1dHLS0o&NR=1

  25. Ajay says

    If you want to know how India was in 1835, then pl read
    Lord Macaulay’s address to the British parliament 2 February, 1835:
    “I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them”.

  26. Anoop says

    because I am free to speak my mind out……..
    because I can go freely anywhere without hiding my thilak or cross or hat
    because we love to fall in love…….
    because we love, respect our parents, teachers, our friends parents, any elderly person…
    because our parents love us to the last of their breath……..
    because we love our friends, and friendship is a life long affair…….
    because we hate to say no………
    because we know to live within the means………
    because we know how to be happy, ambitious, and content at the same time….
    because we are faithful to our partners……
    because we automatically standup when seeing our school teacher even after 25 years…
    because we long to go back to our childhood home….
    because we are compassionate……….

  27. swati grover says

    I proud to be an indian because i love my country …

  28. deepansh agrawal says

    well accourding to me in one word india si incredible
    swami vivekanad says ya its true some countries r ahead of india but we r the base of the world

  29. mandar vaidya says

    hi i m mandar and i have to speak on this topic

  30. vinaya says

    I WAS BORN HERE…THIS IS MY MOTHER…I M PROUD OF HER…ALWAYS PROUD TO B AN INDIAN…JAI HIND!!!

  31. Sourav Porey says

    Hi, I am Sourav Porey. I need some more
    information on How Proud I am to be an
    Indian. Can u pls provide now.

  32. Parvathi Rajesh says

    a land where guests are treated as god……..where parents, elders, education, national falg and national anthem are respected……upholding morale is unique in our country..

  33. pooja dhiraj says

    i m 2 proud 2 be an indian ………. MY INDIA ROXXS ….!!!

  34. najm nisa:) says

    Ab bhi jiska khoon naa khaula, khoon nahi wo paani hai; jo desh ke kaam naa aaye, wo bekaar jawaani hai”….

    I love my country because its my country.
    And I will always love my country whether it become super power or not, whether economic development happens or not because its my country.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Remembering a journey | Silent Eloquence linked to this post on September 4, 2009

    […] where people are more happy than sad.” But eventually, when you write about your own country, pride and nostalgia trumps everything else: “The quiet, thick rubber plantations, the tappers who toil […]



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