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Why I am Proud of Being an Indian!

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I am proud of being an Indian. But for what reason? Is it for the simple reason that I am a creation of the Indian soil? Or, is it for the reason that the Indian soil uplifts me? Certainly not for these reasons only. Someone else can take pride in being an Indian for these reasons, but the reason of my pride is that my country, India, makes Sahishnuta [forbearance], Sahansheelta [tolerance] and Sarvabhaumik Swikriti [universal acceptance] the basis of identity of its inhabitants. Furthermore, I am proud of being an Indian because Ahimsa [non-violence] in its perfect state is accepted as the supreme value in day-to-day living here.

It is evident that forbearance, tolerance and universal acceptance, along with Ahimsa, are the parts and parcels of the lives of the Indians. On the strength of these values India accorded refuge to all those who became the subject of atrocities and were oppressed in their own respective continents or countries. Without any cast, creed, colour, gender or religion-based discrimination, India adopted all those who reached to its land for the purpose of taking shelter. This is, in fact, the Indian Way, established centuries before. This is foremostly the subject of pride for me and lacks of other like minded people.

I am proud of being an Indian because my country granted refuge to those Jews who became victims of atrocities of the Romans and after the destruction of their holy place of worship by them reached the Indian soil for shelter. They not only got refuse here forever, but also the permission of earning their livelihood. Deprived of freedom in their own motherland of Iran, Zoroastrians [Parsis], the followers of Spitama Zoroaster, who conveyed the great message of monotheism, when reached India to take refuge, Indians accepted them with joy. It is a long list of such refugees. The names of several human-groups and tribes are there in that list, who attracted by the sweet-smell of the Indian soil, reached here from time-to-time during the last four thousand years.

I am proud of being an Indian because the Dravidians, the Aryans, the Shakas, the Kushanas, and the Hunas are the inhabitants of India. The Greeks, the Europeans, the Mongols [including the Moghuls], the Tatars, the Turks and the Arabs are on the Indian soil. The blood developed in all continents of the world flows in the veins of India. A pleasant combination is it that people come from all continents in India and stay here with pride? They try to convert themselves to become Indians and to follow the Way of India.

I am proud of being an Indian because not only so-called high families-born great men, sages and saints have added to the honour and pride of the country, but the so-called low families-born Maharshi Valmiki, Saint Ravidas, Mahatma Kabir and Sain too have added to India's honour; they too have contributed towards the glorification of the country. Furthermore, they have also filled their compatriots with ethical values, morality and dutifulness in great measures. Like Brahmin-class born Vashishtha or Kshatriya-class born Vishwamitra, Mahavira, Gautama Buddha and Nanak, Dravidian Rishi Tiruvallur has also added to the honour of the nation through his great message for humanity. Moreover, so-called Shudra-family born Saint Tukaram is not the least than any of his contemporary so-called high-class born saints and sages. In every age virtuous people were born to accord proper knowledge of dharma and also to convey the true message of the Indian Way. Doubtlessly, they go forward for the welfare of all-high or low, they purified the soil of the country and became the voice of India.

I am also proud of being an Indian because seeds of democracy have been in existence in social, political and economic structure of the country since ancient times. The large-scaled interest of people has been in the centre at the time of taking decisions. Mutual discussion, harmony and cooperation have been the basis of implementation of decisions.

India is the largest democracy of the world. Democracy builds the political structure of the country. Freedom, one of the fundamentals of democracy, is the ornament of citizens of India. Everyone has the right to free speech here. In this regard India is not behind any of the democratic nations of the world.

It is India that allowed Late Benazir Bhutto to present the case related to civil liberties of her compatriots on its land. It is India that provided the opportunity to Asma Jahangir of Pakistan to obtain support and cooperation on the question of human rights violation in her country. It is India that accords freedom of speech to Taslima Nasrin-a social writer of Bangladesh. The whole world knows that the Dalai Lama is staying in India for decades and from the Indian soil he struggles for the freedom and rights of the Tibetans.

In spite of displeasure of mighty China, Indians extend their support to him. Pro-democracy leader of Burma [Myanmar], Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest in her own country, receives people's support in India. Hundreds of her supporters stay in India and from here they struggle for the development for democracy set up in their homeland.

I am also proud of being an Indian because all those scholars, who influenced by cultural heritage of India reached from time-to-time to its land, received due respect and honour. Whether it was Megasthenese [350-290 B. C.], or Fa-hien, Hieun Tsang [603-664] or I-Tsing or anyone else, the Indian Way and thinking attracted them all. After accomplishing their tasks of gaining knowledge and particularly collecting valuable information of instincts of Indians, they reached back to their native countries with never forgettable memories. India proved to be the greatest centre of knowledge and spiritualism for all of them. They all accepted Hindustan to be the Jnanaguru and spiritual leader of the world.

Being an Indian my pride increases when I find that a pilgrim of the Indian Way Moghul emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar is accepted as an ideal in this country; Annie Basant is elected the President of the Indian National Congress; Mecca-born Abul Kalam Azad, in presence of stalwarts like Gandhi, Lajpat Rai, Motilal Nehru and Chitta Ranjan Das, is nominated to preside over the Congress session at the age of 35 years; Mountbatten holds the post of the Governor-General of India even after its independence from Great Britain.

Being an Indian my pride multiplies when I meet the reality of inhabitance of followers of almost all chief religious-communities of the world on India's soil. They are secure here. They receive the cooperation of true followers of the Indian Way at the time of distress.

It may be a question mark in any other country of the world on the existence of followers of any particular religious-community, but in India all along with their chosen faiths and beliefs are safe. Four of the major religious-communities of the world-Hindu [Vedic], Jain, Boddh and Sikh-have been established or developed in India and doubtlessly they are safe here. Four of them-Jews, Zoroastrian, Christian and Islam-have been established in Arab or the Middle-East Asia. The followers of all of them too are in the bosom of Mother India and they are also safe here.

Two religious-communities-Confucian and Taoism-have been established in China and followers of both of them, along with the followers of Shintoism-a Japanese-born religious-community, have all possibilities for them in India. Moreover, the followers of newly born community of Bahais are also safe and sound in India.

Being an Indian it is also increases my pride that centuries before human-divinity was made the basis of the principle of national and universal acceptance in India. The source of all around visible peculiarity is the human-divinity. Therefore, human beings have been accorded supreme in the creation.

Everyone, no matter what particular religious-community or class he belongs, is equally revealer of divinity. And it is the result of this very recognition that on the basis of his or her religious-community, creed, colour or class not a single human being from any part of the globe has been denied entry to this land. All received opportunities for their progress and welfare. This great and unique principle has given such an extension to the glory of India that one of my European friends, like a honey-bee, desires to take a seat on deep-rooted, juicy and prosperous tree like India. Influenced by Indian chivalry, harmony and hospitality she desires to come to this land time and again. Is it the least to add to my pride being an Indian? No, it is enough to do so. Furthermore, she is convinced by the Indian way. She praises for this way and going deep to this way rejoices and feels rich.

Thus, on the whole, I can say in brief that the reason for my pride of being an Indian is the Way of India and its chief features which I have mentioned. It is possible that many may not agree with my brief opinion about the Indian Way. In practice they may perceive something different from my views. But, the true Indian Way is the one which I have discussed.

Certainly that way is not a narrow or restricted one. It is full of comprehensiveness. It is a harmonious one. It is the nurturer of the basic culture of this country. It is devoid of any discrimination. Isolation, detachment, discrimination, fundamentalism and narrowness have no place in the true Indian Way or the vision. If someone tries to connect it with any of them, he, doubtlessly goes against this way.

In other words I can say that such a one is not a true Indian. He is selfish, and in spite of hiding him in the shadow of Indianness, he does not follow its way and vision.

Universally renowned Gandhian scholar, Indologist and writer Dr. Ravindra Kumar is the Former Vice-Chancellor of CCS University of Meerut

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