When I was about 8 years old I found awe in everything about India. It was a time when I was easily impressed and easily impacted. I believed what I was told and I assumed at the time that what was true for me was true for everyone else from my country. I wasn’t dumb, just to clarify, I didn’t think the circumstances of all people in the country were the same and I knew well enough that I was luckier than many around me who didn’t grow up with even half the luxuries I had. I mean that I viewed the country like a foreigner would. I considered one Indian representative of the country and let me tell you one thing, the google instant suggestions when you search for “why are Indians” or “why do Indians” do not paint a pretty picture of just how the world looks at us.
First I would like to address the ever so popular notion that every Indian worships cows. What is up with that? It’s not the notion itself that annoys me, so much as they way the notion is presented. It is always said with an air of disbelief. It’s is like “Dude how can you worship beef? More importantly why would you? Also have you ever been to McDonalds? Is that considered sacrilege“. Cows are scared to Hindus people, get over it already, but then again after the whole raping a cow and stabbing it incident in Delhi (or what I like to call the Rape City) maybe cows just don’t mean as much to us as they used to. Don’t worry beef-eaters I’m not here to judge.
The world seems to look at India and sees cheap people, people with too many relatives but also interestingly they are so very intrigued by the nation. I spoke to a well-respected Nigerian citizen who had come to visit India on a pilgrimage because he had heard of Sri Ramana Maharishi and decided to follow the great rishi’s footsteps. I was fascinated by how he took so readily to an alien culture giving up his strictly Christian family background for a different path. It was during my conversations with him that I realized how India must look to the people who have only heard about the country but never seen or visited it.
Despite the enormous surges in development and potential for economic growth the country is still lumped closer to third world than first. It is still used a location where film-makers from America, in search of poverty and skinny children for academy award footage, come to shoot movies. It is still a place where balance needs to be restored. Sure we’re better off than so many nations in terms of war, crisis, religious feuds and rebellion, but with a country this size and such an enormous population, the schism between where we are and where we should be is ridiculously huge.
I think about the people as a whole - we are untrusting, we are unyielding, we are inclined to be insolent and unwavering in our quest to ridicule those who do better than us, we don’t open our minds and we stick to our comforts, we are uncomfortable with change and unwilling to learn otherwise. I don’t know how it got this way, how over one billion people can have so much in common in terms of their personality, so much so that the rest of the planet defines them by it. I only hope we can make more of an impression rather than remain the cow-worshipers.