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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The essence of India

When I hear people talking about Indian culture, I get depressed, because with every sentence most of them drift away from culture or India. In the name of Indian culture, people want to preserve superstitious dogmas, half of which were never associated with India or even originated in the country. Some of them are middle eastern or western beliefs so much integrated in the system that now, they are attributed to the Indians. For e.g. the concept of ghunghat.

Firstly, British thought that earlier India was not a nation. They were wrong. India was a nation, and will always be. The political and geographical boundaries don't make a nation just as staying in the same house doesn't define a family. Family members may be dispersed throughout the world, but they remain family. Love binds the family, not the walls of a house. A nation is a group of people who are bound together by a deeper thread of underlying spirit of belonging, and culture.

The hue and cry of the custodians of the culture is dress. It seems that Indian culture is irrecoverably attached to Indian dressing style. Are you talking about the same culture of which Swami Vivekananda was also a part? Then, listen what he has to say:
The essence of India.

In 1893, when Swami Vivekananda visited U.S., he walked along the street, clad in his traditional saffron clothes. On seeing this unfamiliar attire, a woman whispered to her husband, “I don't think that man is a gentleman.”

Overhearing this remark, Swami Vivekananda said to her politely,“excuse me, Madam, in your country it is the tailor who makes a man a gentleman, but in the country from which I come, it is character which makes a man a gentleman.”

I don't think anyone has better right to comment on Indian culture than Swami Vivekananda. If he feels that dress don't define Indian culture, then the self appointed custodians of culture need to study Indian culture rather than worrying about trends in female clothes. Culture has nothing to do with clothes, religion or any of the outer trappings of human invention.

So, what is the culture which represents the essence of India? There are many qualities which define a country, but there is always one quality which supersedes every other quality, and decides the path of the nation's destiny. For India, that quality is its explicit trust in the goodness of human beings.

India was and will always be trustful of people. One of the causes for the high superstition rate in India, faith, isn't related to the amount of education. A highly educated Indian trusts people as much as an illiterate person next to him. India is ready to forgive, and give second chances to people who aren't worth it. Psychopaths, criminals, and politicians take advantage of this nature to influence the people with fake ideals, and false promises.

That is the reason in medieval times, a country like India has fallen in most of the wars. People of India in general, are never wary of foreigners. Even if one of them has given a cause of doubt, we are ready to give them a second chance. We still trust the Brits, don't we?

Is this attitude wrong or right? Frankly, attitude is always neutral so is trust. It depends on how the other person reacts. As far as I'm considered, it's always better to be a believer than a sceptic. Even a sceptic trusts people though he doesn't accept it. But, the problem with sceptics is, once they trust the wrong man they forever doubt the genuine ones, and miss the joy of unbiased interaction with people.

India is not a land of injustice like everyone believes, but a land where people fight against injustice. Indian people (not just leaders) fought for independence, they fought to get justice for Jessica Lal, and they continue to fight against rapes. 

Gandhi once said, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” This is exactly what Indian culture is about. Having faith that few bad people don't represent any country. That's why we don't believe General Dyer, or his supporters, represent the British or that Hitler represents German mentality.

This post is inspired by Indispire Edition 57

Indiblogger- inspires

Which quality do you think is the essence of India? Do share your views.


  1. So, what is the culture which represents the essence of India? There are many qualities which define a country, but there is always one quality which supersedes every other quality, and decides the path of the nation's destiny. For India, that quality is its explicit trust in the goodness of human beings.good post . You said a lot about Indian culture.

  2. Well expressed, Kiran!
    What a wonderful message by Swami Vivekananda.
    Indian culture is deep & very tolerant. Unfair when Indian culture is targeted/misquoted by people for their vested interests.

    1. Thanks Anita.
      Some people love to misrepresent others. Every culture has to face some prejudices. With time, and effort these prejudices melt away. Then, there is harmony.
      Have a great day.:)

  3. Loved to read Swami Vivekananda's reply. Completely agree that Indian culture has preached tolerance, but unfortunately Kiran - the kind of intolerance we read about everyday is not only propagated by the western media, but is very much practiced within the society itself. May prejudices and intolerant practices make way for a more tolerant mindset within all people of the country.

    1. Thanks a lot.
      Intolerance is not just propagated by the western media, but our own people and media. This doesn't mean that it has become a part of culture.
      The problem is the most of the Indians are unhappy. Corruption, poverty, and injustice has led to a depression. It's easy to arouse anger in the frustrated people. Some people use this for their own benefit, and spread intolerance.
      But, they can't corrupt the entire nation. Indians are fighters. People will soon conquer all the evils, and will revert back to their initial goodness.
      Have a wonderful day!

  4. Posts like these make me love blogging alot. So much positivism and hope. In times like these we need to reaffirm our faith in our culture in the right way.

    1. Thanks Roohi for the encouragement. Now-a-days, we need a lot of positivity. We already have many critics.
      Have a wonderful day!

  5. love how you have researched the topic and provided some valuable insights into Indian culture

  6. A good post with great examples. Well done, Kiran :)

  7. A balanced and mature take on the topic. Very well organised thoughts and a wonderful post!


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