This past week has reinforced my belief in the power of politics to do both great good and great bad. As an Indian-American, the American part of me is rejoicing and the Indian part of me is moaning. On balance, though, the events of the past week have been uplifting. So, here's a quick roundup.
At the risk of making a general statement, I believe that part of the Indian psyche has always been to glorify/romanticize our past, belittle our present, and fatalize our future. Whether we're doing this in the context of the country at large or in our own day-to-day lives, this cultural trait is embedded in our DNA, it seems, from the day we're born. So, whenever I come upon anything in popular media with hooks like, say, "Remarkable individuals who shaped India, and sometimes the world", I sit back and think: "Yeah, right.".
In my last post, I wrote about a 48-year-old documentary that's been going viral recently: 'I Am 20' by S N Sastry. This is mainly because of all the fuss and furor over the Indian Prime Minister's recent comments in South Korea regarding Indians being ashamed of their country and migrating to other places. The other thing happening in the blogosphere and various online media channels is the re-surfacing of that tired old debate of what it means to be Indian and to take pride in that identity. I won't rehash all of that here because I haven't found a single point of view that does not engage in clichés about Indian values, culture, traditions, ideals, food, festivals, hospitality, cricket, Bollywood, etc. But, let me make a few quick personal points and then share what I consider to be one of the better-articulated responses out there.