What makes Indians so special

Manmeet Sodhi’s review “Essence of Indian spirit” (Spectrum, Nov 11) of The Indians: Portrait of a People by Sudhir Kakar and Katharina Kakar made interesting reading. Instead of any grand concepts,
what really identifies us as being Indian are our
behavioural traits. It is in our idiosyncrasies that our Indianness is defined.

We, Indians are crazy about soothsayers and godmen. We love to bargain irrespective of the ‘fixed price’ boards. Legendary unpunctuality and indiscipline constitutes our way of life. Bending rules, breaking traffic signals, and playing loud-speakers at their loudest comes naturally to us. We clean our homes meticulously but litter the surroundings indiscriminately. We spend more time in prayers, rituals and listening to religious discourses than any other people in the world.

As masters of improvisation, we barter old clothes for new utensils. ‘Compromise’ and ‘adjust’ are the words we latch on to with fervour. We are a people always on the lookout for sifarish and ‘connections’. The great Indian tradition of hoarding gold jewellery, saris and household items for a daughter’s wedding is unparalleled.


Forcing food and drink on reluctant guests and choking them to the point of indigestion and breathlessness is simply a part of our world-famous hospitality.

A vital element of being Indian is that we accept hypocrisy as part of life and practice it quite comfortably. To us, women are matas and devis, but we don’t bat an eyelid before raping or burning them. Unborn daughters are taken care of in the womb itself. We tend to be deeply religious, but religion brings out the worst in us. Discussing sex is a taboo, but 24 hours a day we are obsessed with it.

We look down upon money while being defined by it. We go ga-ga over Gandhigiri and austerity but never miss an opportunity to indulge in ostentatious display of wealth. We hold integrity and honesty in high esteem but worship wealth and power even if they are acquired through deceitful means.

GAURAV JULKA, Ferozepore

Palatable memories

Khushwant Singh in his write-up “Nargis in my life” (Nov 17, Saturday Extra) could have chosen a better anecdote to narrate about the great legend of cinema. Decency seems to have taken wings when he makes mention of the condition on which he let Nargis stay at his Kasauli house and what Nargis uttered to a lady MP (who was not good looking) in the Rajya Sabha. His recalling such events is of no significance.

There are many palatable memories about Nargis which made her a class apart. With Raj Kapoor, her first appearance produced fire. While Raj Kapoor was a heart throb, Nargis was the darling of millions of cine-goers.


The other side of the coin

Aditi Tandon has outlined various aspects of issues related to the aged (Spectrum, Nov 4). The subject is live as numerous reports of maltreatment appear every other day in the media. There is no denying that old people need due care and attention from their children, yet there are other aspects which need to be highlighted.

Foremost of these is their fixed ideas, including the day to day routine and watching everything related to their children’s lives through a coloured vision.

At times, even if they are provided with all the comforts and care, they continue the habit of complaining about one thing or the other to anyone, especially to outsiders and relatives. Thus, they run down their progeny.

Another reason is their self-centered attitude, in that they will hardly appreciate the limitations of their children’s financial, personal and social life. Being over demanding, authoritarian, stubborn and perpetual grumbling affect their relationships.

Many won’t utter a word of appreciation as they claim that it is children’s duty to look after them. At times, one gets frustrated when the old make an issue of small slips while never offering a word of blessings for those who look after them.

Not only children but even such parents need counselling by experts so as to help change their attitude and let them readjust in the new roles/environment.

Making a law having many flaws won’t be of much help, it may create more bad blood. The Government should provide comfortable living through well-managed old age homes with involvement of NGOs to care for old citizens.

H.S. Sandhu, Panchkula


Another story

In “Academic’s analysis of 1947” (Spectrum, Nov 11), it is wrongly stated therein that the Pooran Swaraj (complete independence) resolution as also Pakistan resolution were passed in the year 1936. The former was passed in the Congress session of 1929, held in the Christmas week, on the banks of Ravi at Lahore, at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1929. That it was passed on January 26 is wrong. This day was declared to be observed as ‘Independence Day’.

Accordingly, January 26, 1930 was observer as the first Independence Day when
this resolution was read as a pledge; and this continues from year to year. The Pakistan resolution was passed in 1940 at Lahore at the spot where Minar-e-Pakistan stands now.




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