Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Truth About India

India stinks. It’s a wreck of a place.
It’s nothing more than a lump of poor houses built with mud and plastered with cow dung. It’s nothing more than a bunch of filthy rich, power hungry, immoral creatures running the wheel of ‘democracy’. It’s nothing more than a sad little chicken that has been trying to stand up on its feet for the past three fourths of a century, in vain. In fact, it’s nothing more than a sad excuse of a miserable piece of land in the name of a ‘country’.
That’s India.

The 'holy' Ganga

It’s a land that has mystified the world for centuries with its splendid tales of wealth and beauty. And when wide eyed tourists step onto the shores of this country, they are ripped off, robbed and raped. No other questions asked.

It’s a land that has been ‘poised’ for the leap for decades now; it’s been ‘developing’ for years now; it’s been liberalized, privatized, globalized and in every way, thoroughly sanitized. Yet the streets of its financial capital, Mumbai, are choked with the stench of overflowing gutters, heaps of garbage, and sometimes, the remains of immobile ‘citizens’ themselves.

It’s a land where the man and the woman who vote are nothing more than helpless, frustrated spectators of bomb blasts and terror attacks; justice just cries out silently for mercy from under the shackles of an omnipotent bureaucracy.
That’s India.

The 'road' to development

I wish I could leave right now. I wish I could grow wings and fly away to some far-off country in the glorious west. Or that I could grow fins and swim to some nearer country in the east that is smaller but happier.
But I can’t.

I can’t leave India.

Not after I’ve heard all the sounds on the streets- the mad honking, the screaming of drivers, the crying of hawkers, the mooing of cows, the barking of dogs and the cursing of fisher women. For I know, that beneath all that, there is a child waiting to go back home from school into the open arms of his grandmother. There is a husband who is going to make his wife’s day unforgettable by giving her half a garland of small, white flowers.
There is a working woman hurrying back home after buying vegetables for dinner that night. There is a college student on her way to coaching classes for the next six and a half hours. She has to top the entrance examinations. It’s her parents’ dream.

India Tomorrow

I can’t leave India.

Not after I’ve seen glimpses of life in the village- the half-starved bullocks tilling the land, a toddler suffering at home from malnutrition, the sweat gleaming on a farmer’s forehead as he works in the field, an aged Brahmin marrying off a man and a woman who have never met each other in their life. For I know, these folk still find happiness in the splashing of water in the muddy rivers. They still enjoy rolling a bicycle wheel with a thin stick because willow bats are too expensive. In the age of the internet and computer, they gather around an 80 year old man around a bonfire on a starlit night to hear fantastic stories about ‘those days’.

I can’t leave India.

Not after I’ve seen the colors and sounds and lights of celebration all around me. For I know, there is no other place in the world that would open its arms to a complete stranger and let him become a part of their life. There is no other place where complete strangers become family after dancing with a baraat in the middle of a narrow gully, their feet jumping in tune with the sound of drums and the blowing of shehnais.
If there’s such a land that breathes, throbs with life and feels emotions more humane than us humans, it’s this land called India.

If there’s such a land whose sons and daughters have willingly given away their lives for it, regretting only the fact that they had but one life to sacrifice at her altar, it’s this land called India.

If there’s such a land whose soil, whose water and whose air at first breath become a part of you, and make you an inseparable part of them, it’s this land called India.

So go on. Go and choose to live your life in the ‘glorious’ west or the ‘mystic’ east, whichever seems more promising. You may hate or love that distant land called India that seems to be wriggling in a puddle of mud of its own making. But you can’t ignore it. You can’t get it out of your system.

Because, ironically, it’s only in these muddy puddles that the flowering of a ‘thousand-petalled lotus’ happens. The other places just grow flowers. That’s my India.

The Wonder of the World

-Avinash Agarwal


  1. Very nice piece of writing. Quite profound. Keep it up.

  2. Interesting and well written

  3. this is amazing...d way it was put up d feelings in d whole thing is amazing. its wonderful. u people are true stars man...yuva rocks


  5. Believe me, I'm waiting for that day too!
    N thanks for the lavish praise :)

  6. I'm from the United States - part of the so-called glorious west - and I have the same mixed feelings as you about my nation. Unfortunately, I often get the feeling that my nation looks nice on the surface but lacks soul. In India, the opposite seems to be true. Of course, this analysis is a bit too simple. All nations and cultures are a mix of positive and negative elements, and it is easy to be distracted by superficial appearances and by all the people and events that get the publicity. When you look to the average, everyday people just trying to get by, that is often where you see the best that a country has to offer.

  7. I agree with you. Partly. It is easy to get misled by outward appearances.

    But I don't agree with your statement that the US or any western country for that matter lacks soul. I have used the phrase 'so-called glorious west' to portray what many Indians think today.

    This piece was written very strongly as an Indian, for India. But I feel that if anyone sits down and honestly pens down their thoughts about their country and society, it would bring out the very best.

    Imperfections are, after all, a part of everything. Who's perfect?! Its just the way you look at things.

  8. Wow. I have seldom read anything better than this on the blogosphere. Very honestly.
    You have presented the misfortunes and the truth of India AND the glory of India and Indianness. Very intelligently amalgamation of the two ideas. And, much more than that, what a nice way to express all this. Such a long post, and had it been someone else writing it, it would have been boring. You captivate the reader right till the end. Specially, the interest comes back in the moment you change the gear... as you shifted from the ills of India to the pride of being Indian... MARVELLOUS!

  9. Thanks man :)
    That's VERY lavish praise, I must say.
    I'm humbled

  10. Just a few hours back one of my friends was talking about embracing every country as his own country and not to be over- nationalistic by talking about returning back to India (We are in Europe right now). Being patriotic to the core amounts to a form of extremism for him :-)
    I was lost in words to give him a fitting reply. Alas! Here I find the best reply to him. Thanks buddy :-)

  11. Thanks Karthik :)

    Tell your friend that what we need at the moment is a one-world religion. Our nationality is Humanity. But loving your own country is by no means a form of extremism. It's your birthplace, your motherland. Without a nationality, you wouldn't have an identity.

    I'm sure the English, Dutch, Swiss, French, Americans and South Africans are as proud of their country as we should be. It's time we stop imitating the west, face reality, embrace our motherland and be Proud to be Indian :)

    You might also like the post- "Indi-end, it doesn't even matter" in August :)

    Again, thanks for your encouragement!