I Love My india


"I WANT TO GO ABROAD" This statement was put to me by some friends who are fed up with the current state of affairs in our country today. So fed up in fact that that they are waiting for an opportunity to get away from it all and settle in a nice foreign land. Sadly, I feel pity for them.

It really set me thinking! I haven't traveled to Europe, the US or even to Africa. I admit that my knowledge about them is limited. From what I have read and seen on T.V., I learned much about different cultures and marveled at the extent of development and social security which exists in the advanced world. However,I am sure that within a couple of weeks of leaving my motherland, pangs of homesickness would begin for me and there never would be a greater feeling than the joy of returning home. I must be seeing something that some others don’t so I must share my optimism!

First, let me try to understand the frustration of my friends who perhaps have tasted the joy of living abroad and find it difficult to readjust on their return. Wherever one goes, in our big cities, one sees similar sights. Less privileged people going about their morning rituals on railway tracks, open spaces and even in secluded subways. Then again, there are those who are better off, but think nothing about stopping their cars on the roadside to relieve the pressure on their bladder. As we look further, the filth and squalor of our slums is appalling. In major cities, poor people are used to live under the local train platform of station. I would see people squatting on the tracks until the train was almost upon them and then disappear. My stomach would churn and then as the train sped away they would re-emerge from below the platform! That I later understood was their home. Dharavi in Mumbai’s monsoon, the open air camps in the peak of the Delhi summer and winter, all tell the same story. The infrastructure industry, people say is booming. We are building more roads, more flyovers, more offices and more housing. Migrant labour flows in from everywhere. What arrangements do we make for them? No toilet facilities, inhuman living conditions and half the prescribed daily wage which is abysmally low anyway. If that will not encourage filth and squalor what else do we expect? The myth of India Shining and an 8% growth rate seems to explode in our face.

There are many sides to the marvellous Kaleidioscope that is India. I have found it in some of the journeys I was privileged to make and some that i want to make through our vast and beautiful land. Few sights I have seen in this lifetime can match the tranquil peace of Old Manali. The surreal beauty of the Alps is matched if not bettered by the majesty of the Himalayas which I have seen on my trips to Chardham in the Garhwal Himalaya. The beauty of the coffee and pepper plantations in the Mercara area of Coorg and the tea gardens in Assam soothes the senses and inspires the soul. The charming innocence of the hill children of Darjeeling has to be seen to be believed, as has the hope in the eyes of the many Tibetans who have made Darjeeling their home. The Darjeeling tea and the awesome view of the Kanchenzonga come a distant second. The sonorous chants of the Buddhist Monks in the Dalai Lama’s abode in Dharmashala are a far better stress reliever than any new fangled management exercise. The savage beauty of the Brahmaputra valley, the silvery glow of the upper Ganga and the Alaknanda and the emerald green of the Mandakini rivers are a sight to behold as they make descent to the plains from the snow clad Himalayas.

In addition to natural beauty, the magnificent grandeur and architectural brilliance of our historical monuments would give Rome and Florence a run for their money. I could go on and on but I think I have said enough..

Moreover, while extolling the virtues of India, how can I not mention our cuisine. That however is on another blog of mine! There are of course many wonderful cuisines round the world but in my book, there is no match for a homely Indian vegetarian and Non Vegetarian meal.

If you are looking inspirational stories in business and industry our India abounds in them. Success stories like Dr. Kurien and Amul are now part of the management curriculum in B-Schools. The Dabbawalas of Mumbai have attained 6-Sigma levels and are the subject of research for PhD scholars.

In 1959, seven women started making papads for supplementing the family income, with a loan of Rs.80/-. Lijjat papad is a 300 crore industry today and a truly enduring sign of self enabled women empowerment.

In 1958, a young lad of 16 with no education worth the name left his village in Gujarat to seek his fortune in the Middle East. He worked as a petrol pump attendant, a clerk and various other odd jobs. He made some money in arbitraging currency and silver. With the capital, he returned to India and started a trading house which gradually grew into a huge textile company. The man of course was Dhirubhai Ambani the scion of the Reliance Group.

In 1977, a bright young man returned leaving two semesters of his course in Stanford University unfinished, on hearing of the death of his father. He never returned to Stanford and stayed to run the family business “Western Indian Vegetable Products”. The name of the young man was Aziz Premji the family business grew into Wipro and Premji made it to the Forbes' list of billionaires. Narayan Murthy and 6 of his friends decided to float a company which wrote code in a Bangalore apartment with a seed capital of $250 and the good wishes of their spouses, in 1981. The company was Infosys and the rest as they say is history.

Finally, there is the story of the son of a boat builder in Rameswaram, who grew up watching the seagulls fly and dreamed of making planes. His father rented out boats to pay for his education. After much heart burn, frustration and hard work the boy got a degree in aeronautical engineering. From then on, he went from strength to strength and is regarded as the Father of the Indian Missile program. Yes, he is none other than our President, Dr. Abdul Kalaam.

Do you still see no hope for this country! Our country is what we make of it. If we choose to only retain the images of traffic jams, slums and corruption, we are doing ourselves and our great nation injustice. For this is a nation built on sacrifice, valor and culture that no other country can match. So then why do people go abroad?! For money?! for Better sights? For better living conditions? I guess if a person is not comfortable in his own skin, then he won't be in someone else's as well.

Jai Hind.

3 comments:

well never really looked into the what is indian people great about...they are no doubts...the only reason i would love to be in india....dude...im an indian. i can't stay away,... y should i?

October 31, 2007 at 6:00 PM  

ditto! Thanks for sharing my enthusiasm.

October 31, 2007 at 10:13 PM  

Great rhetoric.

November 1, 2007 at 1:24 AM  

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