From the Editor – Proudly Riding the Cliché on the Independence Day

Dear Ghumakkars,

Before starting the ride, let me welcome this month’s new Ghumakkars.

Bipul Dey
Sundar Shastry
Vishwas Bajaj

If you are yet to get acquainted with them, please visit their author pages and leave a comment or two on their stories. You’ll be amazed by what you’ll find. Each one of them is unique in his own right.

We are all so different from each other that it does not surprise me when travellers to India find themselves confused about how to label this vast, diverse country. They often describe their experience of India as “overwhelming” but most of them still want to come back. As did the man at the ticket counter of one of the many British Castles. “India is crazy.” I didn’t feel bad when he quipped after he had greeted me with a British-accented “Namaste!” It is true after all. We are a crazy country. He gave me special discount coupons because my country “had been very kind to him” during his trip.

At most places, you don’t have to search for too long before you find some trace of India. From the Indian Chai Latte on the menus of almost all leading coffee shops to packed restaurants that serve “authentic Indian Cuisine”, you cannot ignore India. The influence of our country is palpable every time some international top-shot quotes Mahatma Gandhi or when a city in a foreign country organizes community fireworks on Diwali. Yes, we are a crazy nation and our craziness is our identity.

We do not need to look back into the history to find reasons to feel proud of our country. We do not need validation by the West to feel uplifted. There are enough reasons around us to make us say “This happens only in India” with pride. I came to the UK when the news of CWG mismanagement was doing rounds internationally. When someone important asked a group of Indian students whether our country will actually be able to host CWG after all, we refused to be apologetic of the situation though it was getting difficult to hold our heads up with every passing day. Since then, I made it a practice to search for and read at least one good news from India every day. And I was surprised to find a wealth of incredible initiatives that get buried under the morbidity.

For example, here is a doctor who only charges Rs 2 for treatment and here is a lawyer who fights cases for free for those who cannot afford it. The belief in inherent honesty and goodwill is reinstated by the heartening stories of IIT Alumni giving loans to students who have secured a seat at IIT but cannot afford the tuition fee. The money is lent without any collateral and the lenders claim of having no defaulters at all. And there is a website that gives voice to journalists from all parts of India and all sections of the society. Visit India Unheard and go through some of their videos and stories. They not only bring to light the issues but also small triumphs such as the success of mid-day meal programs at Raipur Primary School and the success of Solar Technology in securing crops in a remote village in Goa.

And quite recently, two school girls discovering a rare asteroid has demonstrated young India’s enthusiasm and ability in science while a school girl saying no to marriage puts a seal on India breaking free from orthodoxed, unfortunate practices. These are just some examples. Our country is brimming with such stories and is progressing in all areas. We only need to have faith and do whatever we can to help.

And travellers can make a lot of difference to the way the world perceives a nation and its people. When we visit a foreign country, it is an opportunity to showcase what being an Indian means. It is a great responsibility. Similarly when travellers from other countries visit India, it helps to make them feel welcome and comfortable while giving them their space. The opinion they form of the country goes a long way in ensuring that India and Indians are looked at with respect.

If we respect ourselves and our nation, we can be sure that the world will behold us in the same light. Travellers are stronger ambassadors of a nation than any government-appointed diplomat can ever hope to be.

There’s nothing unique about writing about National Pride on Independence Day. But some clichés are too precious to avoid. We love India. Like any other country, our country has its share of problems. And they are our problems just like India’s triumphs are our triumphs. Today, at the beginning of another year of our independence, Ghumakkar wishes all of its authors and readers a very Happy Independence Day and wishes our young country more frequent and grander triumphs in the coming years.

Till the next time…Jai Hind!

16 Comments

  • Amit Kumar says:

    A very happy independence day to you and all fellow Ghumakkars. I gone through the links and it really makes me proud of our country once again. India is what we Indians are and we are the best. I don’t find a single reason to feel secondary. We have remarkable place in history, we are proud of our present and future seems to be most optimistic.

  • VJ SHARMA says:

    Lovely Editorial… I really liked it a lot and especially these specific examples from Incredible India !!!

  • VJ SHARMA says:

    Lovely Editorial… I really liked it a lot and especially these specific examples from Incredible India !!!

    Vande Mataram !!!

  • Aasif says:

    Let me admit, after reading this article, I’ve started missing ma country even more.. Nice Article Vibha!!

    • Vibha says:

      Thanks for reading the article Aasif and thanks for your lovely comments. It is this respect for our country that makes India overcome all hurdles, internal or external! Cheers.

  • Sarika says:

    A nice one Vibha….We truly are a nation of which every Indian is proud of.. Thanks for writing this one and making me know of all the good stuff happening around.. As we rightly say ” It happens only in India :-) ” ..Miss India like anything…

    • Vibha says:

      Thanks Sarika, even if such news hardly gets any coverage, these things do happen. And that is why India is progressing in spite of everything. :). May God Bless India. :)

  • maheh semwal says:

    I am proud to be an Indian but how long we will feel proud to be so as corruption in the society is spreading like cancer. I hate to see people compromising in the name of Progress/ development.

  • Vibha says:

    Thanks for your comment Mahesh. Yesterday when thousands of people came out on Delhi roads, there was a threat that the situation may turn violent any minute. But it didn’t and that was a miracle. We are growing up and realizing the importance of running the nation honestly. Things will change. I’ll never lose faith. Hope you don’t either.

  • Nandan says:

    Very well researched and well written Independence Day editorial. A new India is emerging, which is much more brave and positive looking, than ever.

    The recent support at all levels which Anna Hazare got, especially from the urban middle working class which is usually more than busy in their daily chores, has in it a lot of significance, a new awakening and a new energy is what would describe this nation in coming decades.

    Jai Hind.

    • Vibha says:

      Thanks Nandan,

      To be honest, the article didn’t need ny research at all.

      And yes, let’s all hope and pray and, most important, work for the best of our country. Cheers.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Vibha,

    its a real inspirational 15 Aug editorial.

    One cannot be but touched by such experiences as when a foreigner gets biased towards an Indian because he had nice memories about our country.

    These senses, specially post the recent Anna Hazare episode, get naturally intensified.

    Fully agree that we need to create more opportunities for visitors to carry memorable impressions back home. One of your previous articles, discussing such measures, perhaps needs to be carried forward – wherein some sort of platform {online, onearth (is the term in terms with ever evolving jargon?), virtual and real} can be created, publicised, so that the visitors can get some/any sort of help from us hosts.
    Great article again,
    Auro.

    • Vibha says:

      Thanks a lot Auro. A lot needs to be done for supporting travellers in India. And that can make all the difference in creating a great image for our country. On my latest trip, I met a lady from Canada who had been to India recently and she was really impressed with agricultural practices and the diversity. In fact throughout the 5 day trip I overheard her spreading good words about India to people she spoke to in bars and restaurants and wherever we went. More than us speaking well of our country, good words of these international messengers are more effective.

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