>Hum Hindustani

>Apathy, acceptance or anger – we’ve heard about reactions of all kinds to the Delhi serial blasts. But this isn’t about the blasts, it’s about us – people like me who still cannot imagine migrating to another country despite everything that is wrong with ours, who live with terror and hope, who may wait or will a change.

What makes me an Indian who believes in Indian-ness?

I know about the corruption, I face it every single day. I know about our inefficient government machinery too. I also know about poverty, politics, and population issues, perhaps not as statistically well as some other people may know it. But I still call this country my home and wouldn’t willingly change that for anything. Am I a romantic fool who believes in high-sounding emotions such as patriotism? Or am I unnecessarily complacent?

Like most of us living in India, I have relatives settled in various developed nations of the world. And I also know how different their living is from ours: how much safer, how much more organised, how much more hassle-free. I wish too my life back home was a little like theirs: with more manageable traffic, with better public service amenities, with more law-abiding citizens to call my countrymen, with fewer politicians with a criminal record – you get the idea. But I do not wish to be anything but Indian, be anywhere else except India. Even when I come back from a holiday abroad and can see how poorly we score in comparison, I never once wish I was born elsewhere or that I lived some place else. I hate the dust, the climate, the allergens that make me ill. And I know I would even be medically better off in another land, but I have never given a serious thought to it in all my life.

Perhaps, it has something to do with my upbringing. My parents are not landed people: my father is a lawyer by profession and could have easily made a living anywhere in the world. But he chose to stay in India. My parents were never enamoured by the idea of getting my sister and me married off to green card holders, affluent NRIs or software engineers earning big bucks. But they didn’t close that option for us; we did. Perhaps, this isn’t about our upbringing after all.

The Guy’s NRI relatives in Australia believe we’re (‘we’ being the Indians who live in India) too lazy and so used to domestic help that we cannot contemplate a life anywhere else in the world. It’s far from the truth, I know: we’re not lazy by any standards even if we have house help. But that rather mean perception of us has forced me to think what it is that keeps me rooted to my country. Sometimes, exasperated with all the red-tapism and the judicial malpractices, my F-I-L suggests The Guy and I should think of shifting base to another country. That’s not even an option I see for myself. So what is it that keeps me from aspiring for an American or Australian citizenship?

I hope this doesn’t sound clichéd, but for me, my country is like a parent. I’m not blind to her faults, I only love her despite them. You can’t disown your parents because they aren’t the best in the world, can you? I feel the same way about this nation. I am so much a part of it, I can never hate it enough to leave it. And if the whole truth be told, living here isn’t so bad, is it? There’s so much I love about India, so much that makes me proud: the history, the culture, the arts and crafts, the places, the monuments, the achievements, the people too. I know if I leave the bad stuff, I will also leave the good.

All this, of course, is not being said to judge other choices made by other people. It might be okay for someone to move bag and baggage to another country and it might be okay for them to live with an inexplicable longing for their motherland despite making a deliberate decision to migrate. But it’s not okay with me. I wouldn’t be able to live my life reiterating to myself the reasons that justify the migration to another country and ignoring the reasons that make it difficult for me to be happy there. I’m happy being an Indian.


35 responses »

  1. >You sound so much like me. I too gave this argument to one of my friends – my country, like my parents, may not be the best in the world, but they are the ones who gave birth to me and I love them. What attracted me back was the desire to stay rooted to mother earth. In the developed world, you start flying too high, thanks to the rampant capitalism and free market. In India, you cannot do that if you are human in any way. The poverty and deprivation keeps you rooted to the basics and helps you limit your wants. The other reason, I guess, is that India is real – real sounds; real smells; real colours; real touch – jostles at times. The developed world looked so stereotype – everything is the same – you can only change the deodarant that you wear but it would be blasphemy if didn’t use one at all; you need to chew gum because others are offended by the smell from your mouth etc. etc. Of course I do miss the orderliness, the discipline, the wait for your turn attitude, the road sense, the small courtesies that people extend even to strangers and more. My kids are settled in Canada and we are both back in India because we love it here!!!!!!

  2. >DCheers to this post… saw many posts delivered in this blogville after the delhi blasts and i loved this one the best…~~I know if I leave the bad stuff, I will also leave the good.~~well said..cant add more to that sentence…we, as a nation got lots of lacuna’s but that should not be the reason for us to leave this country…what we forget is what this nation have given to us..!!yeah i agree, many countries had improved far better than us.. but i am a person who believe that day is not far for us in India…and instead of hoping and waiting for those days am not ready to abandon my country.. nice post..:)

  3. >@JPJ: Agree with you a hundred per cent!@Vinz: Thank you. I hope we can bring about some change in our country.@Monika: Thank you.@Mac: Perhaps.@how do we know: I’m flattered!

  4. >nice post..You know D ,I love going for holidays abroad but India is home. Recently, met a couple of my college friends, who live abroad..Despite ,all the comforts and big money ,they both are dying to be home. A friend`s Mom is a single parent and not financially in a great position. I met her Abroad at her daughter`s place. She had all the comforts there ,still she wanted to be back…Home is where the heart is you see 🙂

  5. >@my space: We know so many people who seem to have almost perfect lives abroad. But not quite. Perhaps that's what deters me.@Sindhu & goofymumma: Thank you:)

  6. >Well well well!!!I did a dhort sting abroad and here I am, back to my beloved country!!!I love India with all my heart but I do think most of us don’t do enough…we don’t so all that we could be doing….We’re all aware of our rights, but we never pay enough attention to our responsibilities…But I do believe, once an Indian, always an Indian!

  7. >I don’t quite agree with some things that you have to say. I mean I love India but it’s a fact that most of the things in India are inefficient. Considering I recently moved to Canada, I was able to compare and contrast and the things that I experienced here are quite surprising. The people here in general are amazingly friendly and helpful. So my point is thought India as a country is a good place to live in, the people there are not good enough.

  8. >One needn’t migrate to another country just because they don’t like theirs 🙂 It could be for other reasons, finding better opportunities, higher education etc. I hate NRI’s who consider life in India sub-standard and I am certainly not one of them. And according to me by no means living in America is better than living in India. I realized within the first few days of arriving here that USA is just over-rated in terms of a lot of things. And I definitely did not come here because the Indian roads are not good and clean, or the government is corrupt :)And D, I feel just because one migrates to another land, that doesn’t make them any less Indian. There are always two sides to a coin. Other than the fact that I don’t pay my taxes to the Indian government I don’t think there is any difference between me and any other person living in India. And I don’t use the Indian government’s facilities and don’t feel bad about not paying my taxes. What does an average person living in India do different from me that brands him as being more Indian? I really don’t know. He/she is going to live his life, take care of their family and earn a living…I do the same here. I think of my country as a parent too. It is not like all NRI’s get adopted into another family leaving behind their own 🙂 At least most NRI’s know where our roots are, no matter what heights we scale. When it comes to doing something for a public cause, charity etc I always think of India first. Sometimes I feel like I am being close-minded. But I know those thoughts are triggered by my love for India and not because I hate other countries…All I want to say is, living in another country is not a crime. As long as one leads an honorable life, helping himself and others, I think it doesn’t matter where one lives, just matters how!

  9. >To each his own. I find a lot of wisdom in the words of my sister in law – a US citizen. She says, ‘India has A set of problems and the US has B set of problems, and I am willing to live with B set of problems. A matter of personal choice, like ‘Shankar’ here said.I lived in Canada for 6 years and found everyone there, including Indian immigrants taking their responsibilities very seriously. As soon as these same Indians land in India, all they want is their rights. Like ‘Chandni’ said, rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Are we upto it? We have a right to good governance but are we willing to live upto our responsibility of electing the right people, or better still to go out and vote for the right people.

  10. >@shankar: Exactly. And I’m only talking about mine.@chandni: True. But I could write another post altogether about duties and responsibilities. Here, I’m only saying that I understand what’s wrong with my country but I still want to live here.@the lover: You’re saying the same thing as me. And when did I say the people elsewhere are not nice? Of course, they are. Niceness has nothing to do with nationality. @jira: This post isn’t about why people migrate to another country. Or if it makes them any less of an Indian. It’s only about why I do not want to move, about the breed of Indians like me who stay on despite the problems. It may not be the wisest thing to do. But that’s how it is. And like I said, I’m not judging anybody. I’m onlytalking about my feelings, my choices. They may not be yours. And that’s just fine.@JPJ: I agree Sir, but that’s another matter altogether.

  11. >agreed D…And I was in no way pointing an accusing finger at u. I agree with u and others that it is a matter of personal choice. I think I am just a little tired of (other) people who think they are better than me, because they stay in India:). Maybe a little out of context here in this comment space….

  12. >//You can’t disown your parents because they aren’t the best in the world, can you?//love this line and i think it sums up the essence of your post…Beautiful post! 🙂

  13. >It really feels nice to know that there are more people who love their motherland and not just amenities which other nations can provide you. I am saying can because in the process you would actually not realize what you have lost. In my country I feel the most blessed as I have people who know how to love. Great post and thanks for it.

  14. >@jira: Understandable too.@sunshine: It is the essence. Thank you!@rajiv: I don’t know about the “blessed” bit. I’m just sure I’d be as unhappy or happy here as elsewhere. So why not here?@GM: Been there, done that.

  15. >I fall into the NRI category…for no fault or decision of my own. Yet, I argue pro India like you, and hope to one day be able to make my way back. The roots are so strong, that they just cant help pulling u back!! Good post :)Keep Writing!Neha

  16. >I`m happy being an Indian.And mighty proud of being one too. Its only been 8 mnths since I`ve moved to another country. And i`m loving it here for the reasons you`ve mentioned,D. Life comes easy and clean here. But does that make me any less an Indian? I should hope not.. I miss home, long to get back. But I`m happy being here too. I`m at peace with the thought that I shall live in another country for the rest of my life and make a home here. And return back to my own land only for vacations. But I`m still a proud Indian. I shall always remain so..read this if you find time :http://mishyroy.blogspot.com/2008/06/coming-back-home.html

  17. >Hi D,A very well written post… when the blasts happened they triggered the writers to pen down their thoughts, views and opinions but this one from you has hit the bulls eye. HUM hain HINDUSTANI, and will be for our entire zindagani, we love India for we live with it’s imperfections, and by interacting with them we definetly become perfect in living life, living life in it’s original and natural form without additives and presevatives. Straight from the hands of God we slipped into the land of Gods, INDIA!

  18. >Hello DI have always believed that there are merits and demerits everywhere. Indeed if we leave the bad, we leave the good also.Country is made of people like us. We must stay here and correct the bad. Like you, I too have refused dozens of offer to settle abroad; Like you, I am here to do whatever I can to make things better here;Like you, I am also a happy Indian.

  19. >We are global citizens also. I will be happy when we forget all boundaries and live as if in one world. When we settle abroad we love two countries, this brings people closer…that is why when people move from their native places it bodes well for humanity. (Though I am content to live right here in India.)Just my thoughts.

  20. >well written post..yes in spite of havn so many flaws related to our nation, we still love it..But i must say that the way terrorism, corruption, violence, scams is increasing, our nation is in danger..We have best scientists in the world, the best engineers, doctors who have made us proud , but even then their decision of not living in this nation has come logic behind it..i agree that not everyone can leave this nation because of several reasons, but again if given a chance how many percentage of ppl would like to migrate to USA or any other country from INDIA ??

  21. >@Neha: Touching.@Piper: You will always be an Indian, no doubt. And I will always be an Indian living in India :)@simplyme: Thank you Eram.@Manish Raj: In that case, I must say: Nice to meet you!@IHM: We’d like to think that. There’s a lot of resentment in other countries like the USA against Indians (and perhaps other Asians) for taking up jobs that they believe are rightfully theirs. I’m with you on the “global citizens” bit only 50 percent.@insane: Well, I wouldn’t!

  22. >same here. i know india has problems we can’t wish away, and sometimes i am envious of friends who’re abroad and who have no plans of coming back. but then again, i can never imagine leaving india for good. it’s just not me 🙂

  23. >so so true D! i cant ever imagine leaving and going some place else for better prospects.i belive with all our faults we are good people at heart. we are more grounded and i like my life here. yes, incl the househelp.i mean what a silly reason to state indeed! they are just jealous they dont have any! pbbffttt!no, but seriously, even today everytime i hear our national anthem i get goosebumps and am all teary eyed with sheer pride i feel.am sure better times lie ahead of us! :)beautiful post!cheers!abha

  24. >hmm same for me. canadian to the core … don’t think i can live anywhere other than north america ever. i guess it depends on what you get used to and how much you can handle change. i surely can’t. we lived in UK for a year. hated every single day of it there except the days when we were partying in london :). couldn’t wait to get back to america even though there was so much more to do in UK. just not used to UK ….. at the end of the day, i wanted to just come back home …. to my comfort zone. i assume india is ur comfort zone too.

  25. >i completely agree with u. for me, i love my country for all the reasons u stated. and i don’t absolutely hate what’s wrong with it because i believe that even i’m a part of it in some way or the other.its we, the people who make a country good or bad.and a few bad fish spoil the whole pond.in such situations all we can do is keep ourselves clean and hopefully someday we’ll have the whole world green with jealousy!

  26. >@pseudo: That makes another one of us!@Mama mia: Oh yes, the national anthem does that to me too. And I agree, househelp and laziness is a silly equation indeed.@Roop: Bingo!@Nisha: Wise observation. It’s true that we are responsible in a way for all that’s wrong with our country.

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