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Rising from the shadows....

Shadows are good for concealing the form of the object it hides. You can make out the silhouettes in the shadows, but can only guess as to what lies in there. We as a nation have always been afraid of what lies in the shadows, afraid of facing ourselves in the harsh glare of the light, content to live in the dark, content with past, content in singing hosannas to our culture as in the past, content in basking in the glories of the kings long gone and kingdoms long lost.
India as a entity has been content living in the shadows for a couple of centuries, never really finding the courage to step out in the light, let the rays illuminate it for all its glories and the warts. India has chosen to live a life in the darkness, happy with what could be the future rather than what is the future.
But what is it that make a nation, what is it that defines the Indian-ness in an Indian. What is it that is identified with being Indian. Is it not the people who make up the identity of a nation, the people who are born, nurtured and perish who define the nation. Or is it more to it than just people. What would be India without Indians, what would be India without the millions of mass which make up the country. Would India still be India, if all of a sudden it is rid of all the humanity it shelters, the answer is no, so is it not befitting to say that it is us Indians who make up India and who are to blame or take credit for what ever that India is credited or derided for.
What makes a pan Indian identity a bit difficult to explain is because we as a group of people have never had an pan- Indian identity, but for after our independence from the British. We have always lived close to each other for eons before that without a nation-state binding us. We have always identified ourselves by moot things like religions, caste, language, aristocracy, fair skin, dark skin, rice eaters, meat eaters. We kind of take pride in being diverse than in being inclusive. Ask a person his/her identify and more often than not the last thing he/she will flaunt is the nationality, the more common answers being the caste, religion or the region to which the person belongs to.
We have over the course of the last centuries ended up building so many shadows around us, we have grown to disown our own image. Personal experience have led me to believe that we more often than not tend to disown our heritage, our identity and try to be something which is not what we are. We are afraid of our own image and try to put on a mask to please the global audience.
Is it bad to be a xenophobe, yes it is. To blame someone for our fault is running away from our mistakes. Is it bad to blame all an sundry for our state in today’s world, it is. Is it the fault of the British that they were able to rule us for so long, is it the fault of the invaders who were said to hold sway over large swathes of India? If we let someone walk all over us, is it their fault or our weakness which is more to blame for all the troubles. We have our history being told to us by people who have never set foot on our soil, we have our traditions being degraded as ritualistic and heretical by people who have no idea what India has to offer. We are apologetic about traditions and customs in India when at a contemporary time people were no less barbarians in other parts of the world.
We do not need to hide our shortcoming, for if we do that, we will never get to correcting the wrongs. Human beings are a learning kind. We learn with experience and time. We as a nation have had some of the greatest social and philosophical reformers in our midst. India as a nation has a diversity unmatched by any nation out there in the world. We are a conglomeration of the widest section of identities which comprises of most of the religions in the world. We have a biodiversity which has a desert in the west, tropical forests in the east, the highest mountains in the world in the north and the ocean lapping at our southern borders. What is it that we lack, is it the resources, is it the economics, is it the manpower, is it the ability? We are a capable nation but capability is not ability as long as we remain in the shadows of our past.
It is time the nation, steps out and learns to accept what was the past and what will be its future, but for that to happen we should first step out of the dark to the present, go from being a silver line in the cloud to being the light itself.
India owes it to itself to be great. To be great is not a burden or to be immodest. It is only acknowledgement of a fact long lost in the shadows out there……

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