As the country moves towards celebrating our 75th Independence Day, I kept thinking about what a privilege it is to be an Indian. I kept thinking about the many things which make India such a special country to live in.
In my opinion, there are two things which make India truly special, the first is our multicultural society. The very fact that so many different cultures, communities, religions, linguistic groups and tribes can so beautifully coexist in one country, is what makes India such a remarkable country. Every state in our country has such a different identity, yet we have come together as one nation. India’s existence is a triumph of multiculturalism and space for diversity. The color, food, music, art and culture of this land is so diverse and so vast, that there’s truly no other match to it.
What makes India so special is that a Kannadiga and a Mizo will not speak the same language nor will they share the same cultures, but both will recognise and respect each other’s identities and give importance to the fact that they identify as ‘Indians’. Our true super power is not the number of weapons we have or the size of our economy, but our society, which is inclusive, diverse and multicultural. Having a multicultural society is one side of the coin, the other side is ensuring that different cultures respect and give space to the other cultures, it is in this context that the Indian experiment is such a successful one. India’s unity has come from its diversity, that’s what makes it so special. It may come as a surprise, but at the time of India’s formation, many people simply did not believe that a country so diverse and different could even come together as a nation. Indian nationalism was based on diversity, heterogeneity and respect for differences, this formed the premise of such an unique country.
The second thing which makes India truly special is India’s democracy. When India became Independent, many people across the world had predicted that India’s experiment with democracy will fall flat and like many other newly Independent countries across the world, India too would descend into authoritarianism and civil war. But we proved the world wrong.
Now, nearly 75 years of Independence and almost twenty different governments later, we have shown the world that we are a country that is deeply democratic. One of the things which truly makes India special, is the Indian Constitution and the protections and guarantees that it gives to the Indian citizens. We proved to the world that a successful democracy does not need high levels of literacy or a sophisticated history of democracy, all it needs is resilience and a lot of hope.
This article is not to say that India is without flaws or that India is the ‘best’ country. It is to simply remember the two things that I cherish the most about my country. Two things which make me so proud to call India home. India’s existence is a testimony to the resilience and strength of the Indian people, a country so full of paradoxes and surprises, that I can never sum it up in an article!