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We are so small between the stars & so large against the sky. and lost in subway croud, I try to catch your eye …..

On the notion of India and Indians being ‘Better’ (whatever that means)

April25

आज जब मैं “श्री रामचन्द्र कृपालु भजुमन….” स्तुति का अनुवाद इन्टरनेट पर खोज रहा था, तब एक वेबसाइट पर ये उपलब्ध मिला. इसमें कोई शंका नही की अनुवादकर्ता ने बहुत सुन्दर रचना की है, किन्तु परेशानी मुझे preamble से है. विवेक शर्मा जी की पहली लाइन कहती है, ” Ramayana is the most important and influential epic ever written…..While Illiad and Odessey claim a greater fame in the West, among ancient epics, only Mahabharata ….comes close to Ramayana in grandeur and impact on the combined psyche and daily living of a large section of humanity. ”

This is not the first time that I have come across sweeping statements like these. Some people in India inculcate this notion of India being the best in everything – from culture to science, from ethics to nationalism. This jingoism reminds one of mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s German or in more recent times, Kim il Sung’s North Korea (c.f. North Koreans are told that the “beloved leader” of North Korea ‘invented’ the Hamburger ). Growing up in 1990′s Ajmer, I often heard comments of how Indian minds are superior to those in west and how Indians abroad control the intellectual seat of knowledge. And who has not heard the local pundit touting hinduism over everything else?

I call it BS. The mere idea of one culture being superior to other is the root cause of so many problems in the world. How can one say that Hindi Literature is better than Greek literature? For subjective qualities like these how can one even make a statement of one thing being better than other?? For objective things we still can compare notes and the reality is no where close to this illusion. Who wins the Nobel prizes? (science ones – not that farce called ‘peace prize’ ) Who excelled in studies in Columbia University? ( answer – French! ) Which countries are top ranking in HRD indexes? Can the people who have made comments about India being the Greatest country have name the other 192 countries?

I think people who claim one culture/language/literature is better than others are too blinded by their beleifs to appreciate things. Those who have very limited knowledge can make idiotic comments of their culture being superior.

Those who know the world, those who have a quest for knowledge , inevitably end up realising that the world is only a repetitive pattern of same basic things. That no one is superior to other. That we all are same wine in differnet bottles.

….and that’s exactly what Lao Tsu realised 2500 years ago:

“The tao that can be told,
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name

The unnamable is eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realise the mystery
Caught in the desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.”

(Tao te Ching)

posted under English, futility, learning
One Comment to

“On the notion of India and Indians being ‘Better’ (whatever that means)”

  1. On May 1st, 2012 at 5:34 pm aditi Says:

    food for thought Varun..Well Written!

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