Monday, March 9, 2009

India – At Crossroads

India is an ancient civilization tracing its origin back deep into the past well beyond five - six thousand years. In fact, there is no definite date or period to which its origin can be pegged to.

India, as a political entity, is a young nation in its sixty second year of existence, a toddler compared to the civilization it seeks to represent.

This, in an essence, holds a clue to this “Grand Puzzle” called India. In this apparent dis-similarity lies the clue to this current chaos that reigns supreme. The sense of despair and helplessness that drives us up the wall and makes us exclaim in frustration, “India….What is your future?...Where are you hurtling?”

In my very first post, I had this to say about India

This is that ancient land which claims to have the answers to the deepest riddles that have foxed mankind eons on end and yet it struggles to find answers to various issues that seem to keep it chained to the dark ages.

India has been an unending mystery where the ancient co-exists with the modern, where a fledgling democracy wages a valiant battle with feudalistic mores, where modern values attempt to heal deep societal divisions.

Yet, India is fascinating and deep.

India presents the picture of a modern fledgling “avatar” struggling against an ancient social structure. At the same time one can clearly discern ancient mores and a traditional way of life at significant variance with a more permissive and egalitarian segment of society.

This gives rise to a pertinent question….”Is India at Crossroads?” and how and where do we go from here?

I now hope to embark on a completely different journey. I will attempt to study this complex juxtaposition of the ancient and the youthful and try to make sense of it.

This will be a new series and I also hope to continue with my series of posts on Financial Literacy and Financial Planning.


Vinod_Sharma said...

India has probably always been at the crossroads, considering the kinds of influences it has coped up with and still emerged with its soul intact, though some might argue otherwise.

Civilisations have come and gone but India goes on since almost forever, well before "history" started as per biblical belief. Modern India has seen one development which is perhaps unprecedented. An influential section of Hindus, thanks to the legacy left behind by the British, can somehow pray to their Gods and at the same time call them and the whole body of Hindu history that goes far back into time mythical.

It is this paradoxical belief-cum- repudiation that is responsible for a lot of disconnect that we see today. It is also responsible for the rejection by our intelligentsia of India's ancient moorings and continuity only because it makes good secular copy and sounds "modern".

So, while India may seem to be at the crossroads, it is no less or more than it was, say 50 or 100 years back. These are small time-frames when we look at the huge canvas that India is. So, the present set of circumstances will also give way in time to another one. And, a least I have little doubt that this great civilisation will continue to provide mankind with "answers to the deepest riddles".

Anrosh said...

indians have to just learn to do it for themselves in india in every sphere.

if indians can be bullish in india, it would be a prosperous country again.

The country has to be lead from the front - only than the country will win a war - an administration that visualises to put the country first and themselves next is the only country that is rich, prosperous and successful. ( that is the secret of america)

it is up to india to become a leader or a blind follower.

Indyeah said...

India can do it if Indians get that can do attitude too..instead of the 'chalta hai attitude of today..

and we have to dig into ourselves to get this attitude of can do..

As Anrosh says a country that puts itself first and foremost...that is what India needs to be...

India is at a crossroad and its upto us the Indians to decide where we want to go from here...

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

India at crossroads! Indeed, an expression that brings to mind a traveller seeking directions and no one around to tell! Or is it many people pointing out different directions and confusing him? Where are you headed, indeed we are eager to know! Looking forward to your posts in this series. Keep posting.

Mavin said...

Yes Vinod. You have echoed my sentiments.

Many a time, the society seems undecided or hesitant at best when confronted with something new but unknown to all it is preparing itself for an appropriate response.

We are aghast at the complete trashing of anything connected with our ethos but I sense a spiritual revival which fortunately these so called elite are totally oblivious to.

Mavin said...

India will do what we Indians resolve to do.

If we are diffident and opt for soft options, India will appear spineless and a malleable follower.

If we are confident and believe that sky is the limit for us then collectively India will present herself as a leader in the comity of nations.

Mavin said...

Thats right Abhi. It is up to us collectively to decide and work in that direction.


That was good

No one to point or too many pointing in different directions. That captures in a sentence what you see in India.

On critical matters there is no thought process at all and on inane subjects, we have countless debates and minute dissections.

manju said...

Yes ,I agree, India is at a crossroads.

I think that while choosing which path we should continue on, we have to be true to ourselves.

We cannot just blindly imitate other countries/ cultures as we have been doing for so many years.

Nothing stays the same for ever. But the essence of our culture should not change.

Looking forward to further posts on this subject here.

Mavin said...


If we realise that we have been imitating other cultures blindly, half the problams would be solved.

We need to spread awareness and slowly build awareness that we go back to our roots.

This is the need of the day.

Krishnan said...

Interesting topic, Mavin. Epitaphs have been written so many times for India and yet India has risen from the ashes again and again. Awaiting your future posts on this topic.

Mavin said...

That is amazing resilience shown time and again through the ages.

Do not write us off....

Vikram said...

Look forward to your perceptive analysis.

Indian Home Maker said...

Awesome words!! 'This is that ancient land which claims to have the answers to the deepest riddles that have foxed mankind eons on end and yet it struggles to find answers to various issues that seem to keep it chained to the dark ages.'

And again you are right! How true this is too,
'... a fledgling democracy wages a valiant battle with feudalistic mores, where modern values attempt to heal deep societal divisions.'

I feel our society, religion and culture has survived because it is a living culture, (as opposed to a chained or stagnant culture) we have been liberal, tolerant, secure and comfortable so we have constantly grown and evolved.
I look forward to reading more in your forthcoming posts :)

Final_Transit said...

Offtopic, but thanks for participating in the pi day celebration!

Mavin said...

Vikram - Hope to write something worthwhile on this.

IHM. - Thanks.

Ours is a vibrant culture and we have to keep it that way.


Hi...My pleasure..

Anonymous said...

last saturday i was invited to a casual & friendly dinner at the Indian recreation center here in hong kong. there were 70% of Indian guys in their thirties like me,at the table. and they were so impressed i was wearing manglasutra and that i do respect and embrace spontaneously Indian good values with no problem just because they mirror so well universal values we are in need of today. these folks were looking quite interesting to me: drinking beer after beer, talking lots of nonsense just "to give some air to the mouth", some girls smoking and dressed up not femininely at all. here in HK you get a good realistic picture of this crossroads and you realize how torn these people feel,like they' re struggling a battle from within. i would say: please just relax and turn your attention to what your Mother land has already given you from within. Indians do not missing anything from inside but they are spoiling this powerful eternal beauty. i do nt miss any opportunity to tell when somebody cares to listen to the truth. Today truth is accessible and easy to reach. radha @ radhagarima.wordpress

Mavin said...

Hello Radha,

After a long interval.

I fully agree with you. Those with a modern education mock at our culture and try to ape alien cultures.

They end up losing their roots and straying away empty and unfulfilled in life.

You with a completely different background appreciate the culture and try to live the ancient knowledge. I guess - we gain you and lose some others....fair deal is'nt it.