Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Independence Day Blues!!!

Indians all over the world have attained a great amount of notoriety! Some people have been hailed as enigmatic leaders, some are talented musicians, (a few) are gifted athletes, many are intelligent educators and even a few visionary gurus. India is one of the strongest and fastest growing economies of today and is making a huge impact on fashion and entertainment in addition to international commerce and industry. Needless to say this was not always the case and by and large, the media is to be thanked for this. The Indian media has played en enormous role in the transformation of India from a perceived nation of elephant riders, hungry kids, old beggars and snake charmers to showcasing it as a country with rich traditions and human diversity. It's a country where people are strong willed and determined to make a difference in today's world. And no matter how crappy they dress or how thick their accent is, they will make it if they want to!

About 3 years ago, before I discovered the wonderful world of blogging I had sent out an email to all my Indian friends. It was an email on India's Independence Day and the various ways Indians celebrate it all over the world. In essence it was sent not to deride the larger Indian populace outside the country but to educate people on the true meaning of Independence. I received a lot of feedback – mostly positive, some negative and even got into a verbose diatribe with a few of my close friends on how independence needs to be perceived.

And here I am again – trying to make my point to the few people that have yet to get the message. We do not celebrate Independence because we have extra cash to buy fire-crackers or silly colorful stickers to stick on our cars and bikes. We celebrate it because we are proud of belonging to a country that has so much to offer!

I am proud of being an Indian not because of some silly email that is making rounds once again reminding us of Sabir Bhatia's contribution to email by inventing hotmail or the fact that India has not invaded a single country in a zillion years!

I'm proud of being Indian because it has instilled in me the virtues of patience.

For if I hadn't stood in long lines waiting to pay my electricity bill ten years ago, I would not have enjoyed the quicker service now.

If I hadn't to walk through doors and doors of bureaucracy and red tape in India a decade ago, I would never have realized how much worse it is here in Kuwait.

If it hadn’t been for the grit and determination of a handful of somewhat noble (or should I say visionary) politicians in the nineties, India would still be in the slums.

I'm proud of being Indian because it has made me street-smart and I can finally tell when someone's trying to con me.

I'm proud of being Indian because it's made my immune system stronger and my intestines can digest almost any kind of edible food after my bhel puri escapades on chowpatty beach, Mumbai India!

I'm proud of being Indian because back home 10 AM tomorrow means 10 AM tomorrow (no matter how many people in Kuwait say Indian Standard Time thinking it to be a mockery of sorts) and not Inshallah 10 AM tomorrow which could mean anytime between 10 AM tomorrow and the next 3 weeks!

What most of us here in Kuwait do is criticize. That's because we're just lame-brains and that includes me. We're quick to find faults in the way people think and react when incidents happen in India little realizing that we'd probably do the same thing if we were a part of that society. We think we're more successful because we drive better cars on better roads. And that India really needs our money! Truth be told people – she doesn’t!

I will not end this with a corny greeting like "Happy Independence Day" but with a hope that readers will try and understand the true meaning of Independence. Peace!!!


Anonymous said...

Well put Barryuno. It's one thing for people to be proud of their country for its achievements during the past few decades and it is entirely another for them to parad around in Indian colors in cars and on bikes proclaiming the spirit of independence without understanding what they are celebrating.

Just like Christmas and Valentine's day, Independence day in India is yet another commercial affair with all the hype and hoopla of a beauty pageant. Most people especially the ones in Kuwait who have not lived in india at a stretch do no understand what they are celebrating. Maybe these people should observe India from a different perspective and figure out what makes the country tick. Only then will they understand the meaning of belonging to a country like India.

At the end of the day we are much more than a country who has not invaded another country in centuries or a country whose economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Our people, our diversity and our values make us what we are. Indnan.

So on your behalf, let me wish all Indian readers of this blog - a happy independence day!

rubick said...

It is always sad to see people celebrating something they don'treally know about.It's like when you're a kid,u celebrate christmas or diwali without knowing why.All u know is everyone dresses up, blows firecrackers and exchanges gifts.It's more of a tradition now.

For the companies that sell merchandise it is yet another opportunity to make some more fast bucks.This is unfortunately the case with all countries of the world thought not just india.

AG said...

Finally Barry!! All what i said almost three years ago about India, has managed to fit into your blog. I completely agree with you when people go overboard in celebrating Independence Day without realizing its true essence....its a little sad, but i am hopeful that when so much has changed for India, even this attitude will change....

And i am going to end my comment with a dialogue from Rang De Basanti " No, nation is perfect, everyone needs to work together to make it a perfect nation..."

BarryUno said...

Everyone wants to make money - and they'll make it off anyone of anything that gives them an opportunity to. Unfortunately some people try to take advantage of Independence Day and other national days to bring money into their accounts. It would be nice if these very corporations would educate their customers on the true meaning of independence.

Rubick, youre' absolutely right about tradition. It is nice to see people enjoying their firecrackers and fancy saffrons and greens. But it would be nice if they knew the realities. I know I sound like a broken record but it just pisses me off!

Aabha, I loved Rang De Basanti. It was a well made film with a message. Very inspirational!

MAGNA_Power said...

Please post your hit single...."COME"..I am a big fan.


Could you also make it possible to download..thanks..

BarryUno said...

Since we're a close knit band, we've decided not to make it available for uploads as yet ;-) so you'll have to have me email it to you in MP3 format.

Might I ask who this big fan is?

MpJs said...

Happy Independence to all!

barry I think on ray's blog you had asked me about sparco seats. Welll...auto bulls got closed. They had some decent ones but they asked a lot.
I guess canada dry street must be the best place!

BarryUno said...

Thanks mpjs!

I've been told that the ones you get on Canada Dry street aren't the real deal. Very good imitations nonetheless! I'll go check them out anyway. Cheers!

Magna_power said...

Its me antonio.....i need that single dude....