The identity of an Indian. Gen Y


This is in continuation to the debate I had with my friends from twitter Shivam and Aagan on Who is an Indian?

Who is an Indian? or Lets say can we define How Indian you or me are? For long, our society has segregated people into Desi and Firangi. The concept is so deeply engraved in our minds that we don’t even realize that we are creating biases against our countrymen.

For instance,

If you speak English, travel in a car, wear modern clothes. You are perceived less of an Indian. On the contrary a Jhola bag coupled with a Kurta Pyjama can make you the ideal Indian. Why?

Why the bias? How can speaking English make me less of an Indian? If English is so Anti-Indian, then why does everyone aspire to be fluent in it?

Why are independent working women not so Indian? Or Why does the picture of Bhartiya Naari always have to be in a Saree, instead why isn’t the normal cloths that we youngsters wear Bhartiya? And more importantly, do they make us less of an Indian?

Our society defines a few things as Indians and a the rest as outsiders. And as Indians have one of the strongest biases in the world, we tend to opinionate about people very easily.

Some of the things that are classified as Indian some on which I find absurd:

  1. Not speaking in front of elders
  2. Touching their feet, and covering your head if you are a girl in front of elders
  3. Sticking with your parents even when you can afford your own home and move out
  4. Not talking about taboo stuff like sex
  5. Draping our women from head to toe untill its almost as bad as a Burqa

Some things that our society classifies as influences of the western world:

  1. Homosexuality
  2. Every individuals right to privacy and liberty
  3. Dating and Everything like it
  4. Sex and everything in the 3 Kms of its radius. Just the mention of the word freaks out some oldies!
  5. Alcohol, Smoking, Parties.

By now, you must have got an idea of what I am trying to say

I cant say that all of this isn’t true coz a lot of stuff is infact from the West like for instance, dating. But the question is, why should it make any of us less Indian?

We have the world’s oldest and the most dynamic civilisation. The only thing that has consistently defined us is Change. Our vibrancy is the result of this Change. We are one of the most tolerant and and most change accepting societies in the world and I am so damn proud of that.

We started as the land of Kamasutra: a land of free sexuality and were the first ones to even come close to a libertarian society. By the end of the industrial revolution, we had become the land of the Purdah system and had a well defined caste system. We are now slowly retracing our roots. Caste system is slowly getting removed and the Indian Sex Revolution is on its way.

With so much history of radical change behind us, can we afford to define ourselves in a static way? I say we cant.

If the image of a Suavely dressed English speaking, Pub-hopping crowd isn’t as Indian. It will soon be. Coz the only thing Indian is Radical Change. Change has always been our defining characteristics and by stereotyping the image of Indian not only are we diminishing the vibrancy of this nation, we are not discrediting our history.

It is time we realize that a particular type of individuals do not define the idea of an Indian. The ability to accept change does.

Coz, Youngsters today including me speak English. Wear modern clothing. Are not afraid to talk about sexuality. YET, We are Indians and proud. And if you question our Indianess. We don’t give a damn. We are generation Y.

  • http://twitter.com/Aagan86 Agnivo

    A well written blog.U have touched on all hypocrisies in our indian ethos!specially the issues raised by you regarding girls is very apt! I do not understand how one can assume that if u are from well to do families and are sophisticated,u are bound to be alienated from the lower strata of the society?!! We should be what we are! We are Indians not because of these fundamentalists who try to suppress our liberties! We are Indians coz our constitution allows us to be!

    • http://www.adityakumarnayak.com Aditya Kumar Nayak

      :) Thanks. And another one for adding another good line and rightly so,

      We are Indians coz our Constitution allows us to be

  • Agnivo

    A well written blog.U have touched on all hypocrisies in our indian ethos!specially the issues raised by you regarding girls is very apt! I do not understand how one can assume that if u are from well to do families and are sophisticated,u are bound to be alienated from the lower strata of the society?!! We should be what we are! We are Indians not because of these fundamentalists who try to suppress our liberties! We are Indians coz our constitution allows us to be!

  • Aditya Kumar Nayak

    :) Thanks. And another one for adding another good line and rightly so,

    We are Indians coz our Constitution allows us to be

  • Ashish

    Yeah! just awesome piece of writing. I am proud young Indian too :)

    • http://www.adityakumarnayak.com Aditya Kumar Nayak

      :)

  • Ashish

    Yeah! just awesome piece of writing. I am proud young Indian too :)

  • Aditya Kumar Nayak

    :)

  • dibyabttb

    Very important point raised. But I don’t think it will be a big issue in the future. We are moving from one age to another- may be after another 20 years our sons and daughters will have problems with our thinking patterns. It is just about generational gap. I am satisfied with the change India and mind set of Indians in last few years. Hope it further improves with better education facilities in the country.

    • http://www.adityakumarnayak.com Aditya Kumar Nayak

      It might have been, if it was only a problem of adults vs the young but it isnt. Its more about the Westernised youth vs the Jholadhari youth.

      • dibyabttb

        Rather than planning to eliminate the other group, we should try such that both groups co-exist. It’s not the ideology but the cause which should be given the priority.

  • Dibyasundar Nayak

    Very important point raised. But I don't think it will be a big issue in the future. We are moving from one age to another- may be after another 20 years our sons and daughters will have problems with our thinking patterns. It is just about generational gap. I am satisfied with the change India and mind set of Indians in last few years. Hope it further improves with better education facilities in the country.

  • Aditya Kumar Nayak

    It might have been, if it was only a problem of adults vs the young but it isnt. Its more about the Westernised youth vs the Jholadhari youth.

  • dibyabttb

    Rather than planning to eliminate the other group, we should try such that both groups co-exist. It's not the ideology but the cause which should be given the priority.

  • http://ruhisonal.wordpress.com/ Ruhi

    Brilliantly put!
    I can personally relate to this one: “On the contrary a Jhola bag coupled with a Kurta Pyjama can make you the ideal Indian”
    Anyone who’s an indian citizen is indian irrespective of what he/she wears and does… the moment we start having watertight definitions to concepts, they will die… just like sanskrit has disappeared… while english continues to evolve and grow.
    Am not much of a nationalist… in fact I don’t like the idea of “nations”, they are divisive.
    The problem i feel is that of stereotyped notions… you can’t be a nice indian girl if you happen to speak your mind… and even worse, (this comes from my very “reputed” campus) you can’t be a marxist or an intellectual unless you are an atheist and smoke like a chimney!
    Funny notions, crazy stereotypes… we need to get rid of all these.