Tuesday, 21 August 2012

' INDIA ' --- Either LOVE her or HATE her

INDIA....The most diverse land in the entire world.  The second most populous land in the world.  One out of every 6 people in the world lives in India.  A land even mysterious to its own people.  A land rich in culture and traditions. A land rich in spirituality and ancient medical science.  A totally different world for most of the people visiting it.  Its extremely interesting to know the perceptions of travelers visiting India and also of those who while sitting back in their homes in another countries, either dream of making a trip to India or speak about the lack of courage that many have to visit a world so very different from theirs.

In the last few years, especially after joining couchsurfing I've been fortunate enough to meet people from all continents of the world.  Some I met while I was on travels in India, some when traveling out of India, some while hosting or surfing, some I met on social networks or on social gaming networks.  And its a great experience to have known how people perceive about this mysterious yet magical land.

I still remember few years back, while playing FB games I started chatting with this lady how she used to think of India as a land which she would never ever want to visit.  And how we used to argue on her perceptions about India. I guess I was the first Indian from India with whom she must have talked and argued... ;)  Agreed the people here are very conservative compared to the western world, but still as I've always believed there is always something good and bad about everything.  Its just what you want to see and how you want to see.  And surprisingly today she's dying to visit India and meet some of the friends she has made right up from north to south.

The right way to drink CHAI ... ;)
And then how can I ever forget my wonderful friends from all over the world whom I met in Ahmedabad.  Right from South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Ah and yes a friend from Australia too.... ;)  Well now that all of them are back in their respective countries, but still I remember how they used to hate the dishonesty of people, especially the rickshaw drivers.

Ask them what they noticed the first thing they noticed and all had the same answer, 'the streets are so dirty'.  Well yeah something that we Indians seem to have never learned.  We keep our houses extremely clean, but not the public places, streets and whatever else that is meant for public use.  How almost all of them loved to sip 'Chai' anytime of the day.  And of course the variety of Indian cuisines.  Indian bread, paneer dishes, mangoes, food from the street side eateries and tandoori chicken... ;)

Also I'm fortunate enough to have hosted so many people from all over the world and most of them loved how this land surprised them everyday.  I would say most of them are lovingly surprised but there are many who are shockingly surprised.  The cultural shock travelers get when they arrive and travel in India is something many want to experience in their life at least for once.  While I've known some who are just too scared to come out of their comforts and experience the shocks of moving from one place to another in India.  Its just so different.  Yes this country is simply and totally different from the rest of the world.

But when one sits around and starts to ponder over the cultural shock that this beautiful and colorful country gives to its travelers, one needs to look and understand the people of this country.  A great country, a great civilization with a great and inspiring history.  But are we citizens of India today worthy of the greatness of this country ?  I have doubts.  Its not one simple thing that has raised such doubts in me.

Ancient caste system some of which still
continues in some rural parts
I can start with illogical and useless religious rituals, stupid and rigid customs, gender inequality, big time hypocrisy, lack of importance given to education and hygiene, extremely careless attitude towards cleanliness, dishonesty, extremely corrupt political system and to a certain extent corrupt private enterprises too, lack of respect and tolerance towards fellow citizens, relentless greed for money and power leading to unequal distribution of wealth, ugly religion and caste system and highly male dominant society. 

Its not that the entire population is like this.  But majority is.  How can than someone love being among such a population.  Its so difficult.  But still its going on and attracting more and more people.  Attracting people to come again and again and again.  And its not just people who travel across this wonderland, but people from all over the world are studying here, working here, traveling, felling in love with people and many are visiting time and again.  And not surprisingly there are some who land here and in few days are on a flight back home... ;)  For them India is just not the land to stay even for few days... ;)

Indian states Vs. World countries in terms of GDP
If one sees this country from economic point of view, than what ?  Its very easy to understand that when a person is living and managing to earn bare enough to just sustain himself, every economic opportunity might lure him to do something which is wrong in the economically rich world.  A country in which nearly 30 % of the people are poor and whose per capita income makes it one of the poorest country what to expect from this big percentage of poor and lower middle class.  What they only dream of is a better life which in today's world can be achieved with some money.  Some money ?  Well some more money ... ;)  As I view even this can be one of the major point if changed, can change the scenario of this country drastically.

Well we are changing, but slowly I guess ?  Just hope that with the new generation we change more fast and better.  Well what else to say, I love my country but I doubt if I would say the same for the population.... :(

But still I'm proud of the grand history that this country holds.  The festive celebrations that add so much zeal in the day to day life of people.  The colors of Holi, the lights of Diwali and Christmas, the flights of kites in Uttarayan, New Year celebrations of respective religions, fasting ways in the months of Shravan and Ramzaan make this country so lovable and enjoyable.

I still believe in spite of these few problems that people face while traveling in this country, its just because of the greatness of this land and its rich true customs and celebrations that keep attracting more and more people from all over the world and most of them returning back with pleasant and everlasting memories.  To some the impact is so beautiful and deep that they keep coming again and again.  And I'm fortunate enough to have known them and talked with few of them.... :)

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