We live in a country that is around 3,214 kms from north to south and about 2,933 kms from east to west with a land frontier of about 15,200 kms. According to the 2011 census, we have 623.2 million males and 587.5 females and this massive population lives on a mere 2.4 percent of the total world surface of 135.79 million sq. kms. Let me make these statistics grimmer by adding that we have 68.85 percent staying in rural areas. And despite these figures we have Indians who have managed to reach the highest positions in the corporate world at the global level and have achievers making a name for the country in almost every field.
For many of it is still rather tempting to pick all the negative headlines and captions collected from newspapers and online views that are published in India and then gloat about the fact that we are still uncouth, semi-barbaric, ill-mannered, discourteous, lecherous, thieves, rapists, oglers, sore losers, uncontrollably loud, bribe-lovers, law-breakers, unhelpful, restless, not hard-working, and simply wanting it all without moving an inch. The funny thing is that if one really gets down to this sort of task, every nation all over the world will begin to take a similar shape in negativity. But this is not the whole truth. These aren’t lies, of course, because there will always be people who will fit these definitions but then such people will be there whichever country or city one happens to be in. These traits are not exclusively Indian. I guess the qualities mentioned in this paragraph are simply there because the world anyway accepts them as mirrors for the majority. And yes, even these negativities are there silently egging the majority to be different and better… in India as they do in other countries.
The part that deserves a big round of applause, of course, is that we accept all the qualities mentioned in the last paragraph. Acceptance is, therefore, being #MoreIndianThanYouThink.
Even a cursory glance at what happens around us is enough to tell us how well entrenched this word ‘acceptance’ is in our psyche. We accept off days for festivals that have nothing to do with our own State or region… in fact we love the unifying joy of being loaded with holidays from little known and never understood diversity pockets of our country.
We accept noise and never protest against morning walkers and joggers who have their smartphones blaring out film songs at 5 in the morning when all we wanted to hear was the sound of the Koel. Yes, there are mavericks like Sonu Nigam who go on and create a massive hullaballoo about the loud and invasive volume of azaan calls. But then we never really get down to stopping trekkers and hikers who move around with Bluetooth speakers that have the power to make a smartphone’s inbuilt speaker seem rather docile.
We accept the growing popularity of hosting massive weddings even though they may carry with them the pain of loans that can be back-breaking, although there are sites online, that offer loans for bad credit rates so you can get your advance in a short time for the need you have. We accept that showing-off is what trends and boast about how it is our money that is keeping the economy of the country moving at a clipping pace. That’s true, of course.
We accept that political parties are going to come with an almost similar manifesto in every election. We accept that elections are the time when parody writers and parody singers are going to earn a lot of money. We accept that no election and party is really going over-haul the reality and so we accept our reality as well.
We accept that our cricketers are going to sometimes win and sometimes lose. We also accept that when our cricketers lose we are going to go and mob their houses, burn a few buses, shout slogans, and blog about how certain players must be dumped. In fact, acceptance is so readily accepted that even cricketers accept that all this is going to be there if and when they lose an important match.
We accept that our sports federations are not going to be ethical and nor are they going to take a change or remedial action lying down. We accept that every player who wins even a bronze is going to give interviews to the press that he or she deserves a national award like the Arjuna and, in some cases, even one of the Padma Awards.
We accept that our engineers and doctors have not really been serious students during their college years and that every professional action they take in later years is more of an experiment or the only way to learn. We accept that there will be cases of negligence in our hospitals and clinics. We accept that our roads and infrastructure will be handled by people who are still groping their way through the technology that they are dealing with. We accept that our computer engineers and IT specialists learn only when they go on off-shore stints.
We accept that our school teachers invariably have a lot of other things to do (and this may include shopping for groceries as well) and that teaching is not really on their priority list. We accept that some form of better teaching takes place only in after-school tuitions. We accept that many aggressive and not necessarily talented teachers are anyway going copy and paste new text-books and go around selling them pan-India.
We accept that whatever is in the office has a right to reach our homes and so it generally does. We accept that employers are never going to give enough and so we take whatever we are able to take. Our employers too accept that they will need to keep supplying pencils, pens, staplers, and even pen-drives on a regular basis, so they buy everything at a lower cost. Our sellers and manufacturers of good also accept that employers will look for the cheapest and not necessarily the best… so they make in India what India demands.
Believe me, I can go on and on and on and include every facet of India and life in India… but even I must admit that despite all these rather demonic definitions of acceptance, it is acceptance that makes India the best. Now if you have that troublesome ‘why’ bugging you, let me add that we also accept that we need to keep moving, keep learning, keep together, keep our senses intact, and keep our heartfelt smile always on live mode. We accept friendships. We accept rivalries. We accept competition. We accept that we need to strive more and more. We accept that we love the growing influence of India on a global platform. We accept that the Lufthanse TVC that is right here after the final full-stop, defines #MoreIndianThanYouThink rather pithily.
You must now accept that you may need to read this post a second time to fully appreciate the way it has been written.
23 April 2017