As India stands on the edge of a brave new world that promises economic and social development, we take a moment to look at just why it is so difficult to remove the identity of India from an Indian.
India is a land of deep-rooted cultural memory. The Indus Valley Civilisation was one of three oldest civilisations of the world (the other two being Egyptian and Mesopotamian). Much of what we call Indian culture today comes from literature thousands of years ago, in terms of rituals and mindset. In our day to day conversations even today, we quote the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, works written in the early parts of the Iron age.
That is probably why when an Indian is taken out of India and placed in a different society, say the United States, two things happen: one, he or she becomes so driven to succeed in the new milieu and they invariably rise above their peers in their professions, and two, they still identify themselves as Indian.
Even in the case of people who have left India thirty or forty years ago, and who now hold a U.S. passport, if they’re asked where they belong, a vast majority of them will say they’re Indian. It is because the culture of India is so rooted in history, and because it is so ritualistic and full of symbolism that it appeals to the storyteller in all of us. It’s impossible to participate in an Indian wedding, for instance, and to come away without feeling a sense of awe at the institution of marriage and companionship.
Now, with the onset of the knowledge economy, India is making strides toward being a big global player, and many Indians who left the country a long time back are now returning. As they say, you can take an Indian out of India, but you cannot take India out of an Indian.