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When I was a kid, I always wanted to leave India n settle abroad. On television, other countries looked like a fantasy land-all clean and green. But, as I grew up, explored India and started to understand our culture, our values, our people, our nation, I just fell in love with my country.
I like traveling and have been to various parts of the country, have learnt different things from different people of different places. Many differences exist but the feeling for the nation is same. People might fight over various issues, but when they help, they try to help in all possible ways. There is a small story behind the sentence quoted before this. It goes like this-While going to Kashmir with my parents and relatives; we covered the whole distance from Rajasthan to Srinagar by bus. Our hotel booking got cancelled due to some reason, so a woman gave her own home on rent to us for a week till we were there. We were surprised to see the way people there go out of their way to help others.
I have literally travelled from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and have observed much diversity as we go from north to south.
Geographical diversities: Varying from mesmerizing snow capped mountains of the north, to the Taj Mahal of Agra, to the deserts of Rajasthan, to the back waters of Kerala, to the exotic beaches of Goa and to the Indira point of Kanyakumari; the never stopping rains of the north-east, walking in the clouds on the hill-stations such as Darjeeling, Ooty, etc., snow covered Rohtang, forts and palaces in Rajasthan, wildlife sanctuary in Kerala, the meeting place of Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal in Kanyakumari; be it any place, India is beautiful.
Cultural diversities: India is a land of diverse culture. People have been living here since Stone Age. People from diverse regions have come and settled in our country. There is a variety in language, arts and literature all parts of the country. All the religions- Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Christians exist in India. We celebrate so many festivals such as Holi, Diwali, Dusshera, Christmas, Onam, Pongal, Eid etc. All the festivals are celebrated in India in a good spirit. The traditions followed are also different in different parts of the country. Folk and Tribal dances of India are very famous and have been recognized in various parts of the world.
Food Diversity: There are diversities in food habits due to climatic conditions and other geographical factors. India is known for its love for food and spices. Punjabi Lassi and Paranthe, Rajasthani Daal baati churma, Goan non-veg food, Hyderabadi Biryani, Gujrati dhoklas, Rassam and sambhar of south-all these are moth watering dishes. A significant portion of the Indian food is vegetarian. India stands seventh in world cuisine ratings. Italian cuisines lead followed by French, Chinese and Thai. There is a huge potential globally for Indian cuisine. Indian herbs and spices are one of the most sought after trade commodities.
Clothing: Clothing in India varies across different parts of the country and is influenced by local culture traditions and climate. India's clothing style has continuously evolved over the course of country's history. Traditional dresses are "sari" for women and "dhoti/lungi" for men. Khaki clothes are famous everywhere. Now days the trend is moving towards western clothing style.
Despite all these diversities, we all are Indians and respect our motherland.
63 golden years after independence, and so much has changed with changing times. India has seen a change in culture, wealth creation and attitude. We survived partition, ushered in green revolution and industrial revolution and brought our country on par with international standards.
Be it sports, or technology or any other field, India is rising fast. From Hockey right from Olympics to track and field events; who can forget our "Milkha Singh", to cricket - Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, to Sania Mirza, we are unmatchable. In recent Common wealth games, India has won 101 medals and ranks 2nd amongst all the participating nations. Despite all the corruption and media's negative publicity prior to the games, the world saw a spectacular opening ceremony of CWG-2010, Delhi has hosted games quite well and have made us proud.
India is place of Ramayana and Mahabharata, where all the science was so pure. Till now there have been no inventions on those lines. It will take a long time to reach back to that level of science and technology. But India is fast emerging as a global military power. India has developed advanced defense technological equipments for the country's protection. Our country is becoming a major nuclear power too. After signing 123 agreements with USA, India now has the access to nuclear resources to fulfill its electricity and defense needs in the future.
India is mainly known in whole world for food, Information Technology and Bollywood.
We are a major IT hub. Many countries outsource their work to India because of cost effective labour resource available in our country. India has talent and because of that only, we are progressing faster than any other company. Our country was not affected by Recession as other countries. This shows that our economy is efficient enough to absorb such dips.
Talking about Film Industry, many Indian movies, actors are legends. They have no comparison. Many Indian movies are block buster in many parts of the world. Many patriotic movies such as Lakshya, Swades, Lagaan and old legendary movies have been made to show our love for the country, to inspire youth to do something worthwhile for our motherland. We have many renowned singers and music composers and instrumentalists such as Lata Mangeshkar, AR Rehman, Zakir Hussain etc.
Yoga also originated in India. It is believed to calm the nervous system and balance the body, mind and spirit. It prevents diseases and maladies by flowing positive energy inside the human body. Countries worldwide have taken this technique from India to stay healthy. In fact, many foreigners have left their country and settled in India for spiritual reasons.
Coming to Indian women power, in the Vedic era, Indian women was worshipped and honoured as Goddess Laxmi, Saraswati and Durga. With the advent of civilization, rules changed and woman, who was worshipped as Goddess, turned out to be a slave in hands of Indian male. Remaining on the mercy of her male counterparts, she got care and guidance by her father in her childhood, by her husband in her youth and by her own son in her old age. As a result she became a mere object rather than a human being.
Irrespective of such atrocities and violence against women, families are there who support in the welfare and upliftment of female section. Kerala is the only state in India that does not discriminate between man and woman. Also in Goa, women are treated as equal (my personal experience told me that!). Many woman organizations have made revolutionary changes in the whole arena of women upliftment.
And so far, we have the best women in sports, business, leadership and just about any field. We have Indira Gandhi, PT Usha-who made us proud in the Olympics, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal-gold medal in badminton in CWG-2010, Indra Nooyi- Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Kalpana Chawla- ace astronaut, Kiran Bedi- IPS Officer; all are amongst top leaders in their respective fields.
Now moving to some harsh realities
Every decade has had its fair share of problems and glories. As we glorify these personal milestones and sporting events, we also had our infamous riots, Godhra , Telangana issue; terrorist attacks in 2008, destruction of property and lost lives of many people; Maoists attacks; Naxalites; Corruption before advent of Common Wealth Games-2010 and many more. At the time of Elections, politicians use caste and religion as a means to gain votes. The new census is based on caste, which according to me is again dividing the people in name of religion.
India is becoming a land of paradox; we are a developing country full of characteristics that define the third world. On one hand we are growing at a substantial rate and on the other hand there is poverty, illiteracy, corruption, crime rate and related social evils. Not one but a series of jokes are cracked on the pitiable state of our country. The much lauded and acknowledged movie "Slumdog Millionaire" which bagged many global awards (Oscars -8 academy awards, Golden Globe & BAFTA) , Peepli Live-sent as entry for the Oscars and the 2008 booker prize winner "The White Tiger" showcased India in poor light which was sad yet true.
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), a new measure of poverty has shown that just eight Indian states have poorer people than 26 of the poorest African nations together. Although the Indian Economy has grown steadily over last two decades, its growth has been uneven. Rich is becoming richer and poor is becoming poorer.
This makes me wonder sometimes, is India really shining?
There is a lot that needs to be done. If every individual tries and makes one small effort, we can make India a superpower. Many Writers have written books about India. "White Tiger" by Arvind Adiga as mentioned above have criticized India very much. It has shown the facts to the world that portrays India sadly. Criticizing is not always the solution. One has to do something to make thing better. If we talk about the book "Shantaram" by David Roberts, we see how the character 'Shantaram' has helped the slums to live a better life. We need people like him to take our country forward. He sets up a free health clinic there. Despite having problems with the hygienic conditions of slums, he lives there, empathize with the slum dwellers, and does all he can to help them. He has talked about Mumbai and its diverse culture. The opening lines of the book, quoted below, really take one away
"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn't sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it's all you've got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving can become the story of your life."
He has proved that mere talking doesn't work. To prove that you care, you need to take the first step and change the world around you.
Many campaigns have been organized in India on a large scale to create awareness such as "Jaago Re"-to invoke people to vote, "Jaago Grahak Jaago"-to create consumer awareness, "Atithi Devo Bhava-Incredible India"-to keep India clean and for tourism. These campaigns have been effective among the masses to a great extent for their respective causes.
Though we live in such turbulent times, there is still hope. We have a 'Narayan Murthy', 'Ambanis', a 'Ratan Tata', and many more, making us realize our true potential. Our generation is demanding, but we know what we want. Youth today is aware and is keen on working for the cause.
We are a growing economy. The common man is trying among these trials and tribulations, and is coming out triumphant despite the very odds. It shows that 'will power' can do. India shining is now definitely India everywhere.
We will be called developed and happy when: 1) There is reservation for none and jobs for all; 2) Everyone is educated; Death sentence for terrorism, corruption, murder and rape. Court judgment within three months; 3) Electricity supply for towns and villages 24x7 and 4) No one below poverty line.
It might seem an unrealistic dream but 'Every human heartbeat is a universe of possibilities', so let us make a difference and be a part of Incredible India.