indiatopia

The Indian Identity Question Part II

I wrote a bit about this previously. It is a deep, complex topic and I've barely begun to scratch the surface, I know. I've lived longer outside of India than in it. And, for much of the time that I lived in the West, the need to fit in and assimilate often conflicted with the need to just be who I am. This is not a unique phenomenon for the Indian diaspora. Adnan Khan recently wrote an excellent essay on the concept of "brownness" in Hazlitt. Some bits to whet your appetite:

Advertisements
indiatopia

The Indian Identity Question Part I

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.

I-Am-20-tn-subramanian

Proud to Be an Indian?

But, the larger question, of course, is whether India today is the kind of country that can inspire a requisite pride in the average man or woman. Can it, for instance, inspire anything similar to the youthful, guarded hopes and fears of some of these 20-year-olds in the 1967 award-winning documentary, 'I Am 20' by S N Sastry? Do watch it -- you'll be amazed at how not much has changed.