On the occasion of India’s 71st Independence Day, we asked some of our readers a couple of questions:
“What are some of the things you love about India, and would be proud to share with the rest of the world?” and “What are some of the things you hope will change?”. Here’s what they had to say.
Illustration by Sharanya Mageshwaran.
“India is all about the warmth of people and place. Needless to say, the rich culture, rural beauty, delicious cuisine, hospitality and the sense of belonging, make India appealing. The exuberant celebrations and social gatherings raise spirits and rekindle relationships. Indians may not be amply polite or diplomatic, but this in a way breeds human connections that are genuine.
There has been a great deal of positive change in recent times, however, it would take several more years to uproot discrimination based on color, class, caste and gender. The negative impact of urbanization, westernization, and social media on attitude and lifestyle of people is becoming increasingly worrisome. These issues and the constant political unrest need utmost attention at the moment.”
“What I love about India is the true grit and resilience of the people to move on in their daily lives. From an external point of view, the country may look very chaotic, but there are patterns in the chaos. This is why cars move through crazy city traffic, strangers step in to help when official channels fail, poor people still wear a smile and people from different religions live together in harmony.
I hope the society opens up more, really implements equal rights for men and women and makes education accessible to all children as guaranteed by the constitution. I also hope to see less violence and aggression in public life, and people living up to the ideals of our founding father, Mahatma Gandhi.”
” India, my homeland is a land of colors and euphoria. It’s a country that has at least a pinch of every flavor that exists on Earth, be it political or geographical. Seasons, landscapes, religion, history, culture, profession, etc. – name it and you can find it here. I am very proud of this rich heritage of India.
India is home to many world heritage sites. They date back to really old, old times. I wish that these sites would be preserved and maintained in a better way like in Europe or the US. The disparity between the rich and the poor is high in India.
The Indian politicians in power who have the capability to change India must ensure that honest, selfless service is provided to the people who have placed their complete trust in them. If only the people in power would make a vow to be like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Kamaraj, Baba Amte, Ambedhkar, India would definitely be the ideal place for mankind.”
“What I like about India: India works, with no specific system, method or process in place. It works in all its diversity and chaos. The different cuisines that differ from house to house not just from one region to another and the unexplained science behind the balance of flavours and nutrition.
What can change: The lack of social responsibility and the policy of ‘I will keep my house clean but not my street’. As citizens we should strive on increasing our political awareness and choosing our political representatives more responsibility. Question and stand up for our rights and most importantly stop arm-chair critique and start doing what little we can to raise the quality of our society. We can earn respect of self first and then our loved ones more than owning two swanky apartments or cars. Wearing our social responsibility with pride than Gucci or D&G is something I would love to see.”
“While this is slightly contradictory, I would probably want to see a change in the very aspect that I like most about India – its imperfectness. The first thing that struck me about Zurich was how perfect and orderly everything was! Buses were on time, cars stopped at red lights and waste was scrupulously segregated. What surprised me were not the rules themselves, but the fact that people actually followed them! As a traffic rule-breaker myself, I was slightly in awe. In India, things don’t usually go according to plan, most often due to people like me. You are always expected to be prepared for multiple scenarios with annoying, and sometimes, hilarious hindrances.
But that is exactly what makes us very creative and resilient I think. We always have a quick-fix solution and we are always moving forward no matter what. We are both held back and trained well by the slightly difficult path in our country. The problem is not the absence of great ideas and grand plans, it is the lack of effective implementation. But I guess with a country as big as ours, the difficulty in enforcement is understandable. Personally though, I would prefer the hitches and challenges as opposed to a smooth glitch-free ride. At the end of the day, they just make a more interesting story!”
Photos by contributors