India, My India.

I am what is called a Hindu Nationalist in my glorious land. There are some fellow Indians, on the left of center and who are called liberals, who are my good friends despite being on opposite camps.  Tongue firmly in cheek they keep needling me about my loyalties and ask difficult questions on India, Hinduism and Indian culture.

I have now learnt to answer them by referring them to a fascinating book by an Australian writer and some of her quotes from the book.  My readers already know that I place great store on writings about India by foreigners and this is another one instance.  This is not however history but current affairs in India very well written about.

“In India I’ve slowly been learning that I’m not in complete control of my life…”

“India is beyond statement, for anything you say, the opposite is also true. It’s rich and poor, spiritual and material, cruel and kind, angry but peaceful, ugly and beautiful, and smart but stupid. It’s all the extremes.”

“India is the land of the profound and the profane; a place where spirituality and sanctimoniousness sit miles apart.”

― Sarah Macdonald,  in Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure

If you are interested in reading something about India, that is easy to read and quite a pleasant experience, you can do no better than read this book.

17 thoughts on “India, My India.”

  1. Your country fascinates the hell out of me. Not only is your food phenomenal but everything else – literally everything else -is a combination of horror and wonder. Not only is it the land of extremes = good and bad – it is the land of unlimited potential. China would do well to pay more attention to India than the USA. If you guys can ever get a real degree of multi-partisanship, great things are guaranteed. I now feel somewhat guilty for my love of an old TV show – the 77th Bengal Lancers and my rooting for those nasty Brits. Please forgive my 7-year old self -0 LOLLOL.

    There are no better spokespersons for your country than Pravin, Asok and yourself along with Maria who views things through a somewhat western filter.
    Chuck McConvey recently posted..Language

    1. I had the opportunity to emigrate to either the UK or the USA but I have chosen to live here Chuck. I love the contradictions, the chaos the confusion and the daily cacophony of our media.

  2. I was highly influenced by the spiritual side of India when I was in high school, and I’m glad Andy and I went there on our way back from France, but I didn’t feel comfortable with the emphasis on social rank. I still remember how obsequious the guide was to us and how rude he was to people “under” him. And how upset one of the workers in a hotel was when he was carrying a pile of linens and I held the door open for him. I’m not a social person, in the sense:

    of or relating to human society, especially as a body divided into classes according to status:

    Nope, I’m afraid I’m a happy misfit in situations like that, and why I love our informal little town here. I also remember how upset Andy’s father was when Andy rejected an offer from Harvard to be a postdoc. No thank you!
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..The Meaning of Life

    1. While you experienced the kowtowing, I experienced the opposite, racism and prejudice when I was in the West. We humans are silly really. And like you are comfortable in your informal little town, I am very comfortable in my chaotic country. Perhaps because I too am a chaotic character, or to use your terminology, a nut.

    2. Do you really think India is more chaotic than the polarized U.S. now? In fact, the whole world will become more and more chaotic. You and I will no doubt be spared the worst of it because we have “one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.”
      Cheerful Monk recently posted..Good Teachers

      1. I thought about that as well… but I would expect anyone who is living there, say from birth – has been bought up to expect “delays, chaos” – and they just go with the flow…
        Even if at times, they wished that flow would go swiftly…and maybe as you become accustomed to it you – you don’t see the chaos in the wider context.
        A bit like getting acclimatized when you move to a new place, the weather is colder/hotter/other or more/less traffic/people but somewhere along the way/time – you suddenly don’t see a huge change…

      2. Let me reply to both of your queries here. Yes, India is also polarised now into a rightwing Hindu party on the upswing and the old guard fighting to find some sense in the loss of privilege and status in the new dispensation where English speaking is not considered to automatically grant a superior status. The Hindu sentiment on a number of things here is creating quite a bit of unease among the minorities and that too contributes to the unease and chaos. I personally handle the chaos around me with equanimity as I, as Nissim Nicholas Taleb says so poignantly, don’t have skin in the game. In personal life, the chaos of traffic crowds etc are distant as I don’t have to commute every day and I live in a reasonably quiet neighbourhood. I have also modified my lifestyles to include a discipline of sorts by simplifying my life.

        1. thanks…that was the ideal I had in your personal life (per your last few sentences) – suspect that comes with experience (I was going to say age, but I don’t think it’s always just age) – you work through issues and you adapt life to suit at the current period.

    1. Chuck, I have done a fair bit of travelling around the world and can vouch for one universal phenomenon. It is called by different names, but stratification of society into class, caste, wealth, colour, language, ethnicity etc and overarching all that by gender is present in all societies and it will not ever ever disappear.

  3. You’ll think I have nothing else to say about india but I really believe that it is the moral duty of all Indians to demand clean cities clean rivers and clean hills. We need to wake up and take a goodo hard look at ourselves . We’re in denial. We post lousy horrible videos of a fellow making bhel puri and everybody says yum. One poor white fellow say Omg and he’s lynched!!

    1. Agreed. I am not in denial. I can neither flee nor fight and so have accepted the chaos. I shall leave all the idealism of demanding change to younger folk.

  4. Hi Rummy,

    Being Nationalist in these times is crucial, so kudos to you for being a proud one :).
    India is the embodiment of duality, by the looks of it, therefore the perfect balance *bowing*.

    G-d Bless you, my friend.

  5. I often decide to read travel books, the kind of personal ones. I was browsing the shelf at my local library and of course India popped out so I’ve read Sarah’s book – it certainly was an interesting experience/s she whilst she was living there; some of very interesting that her partner would be travelling to places that were under duress…and how she had to cope with life without him. Some of the day-2-day living experiences that as a foreigner she just had to live within…even if they were of a life that she would never have imagined ever being part of.

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