India is close to celebrating its 71st Republic Day and to this date, we carry with us loads of the colonial mindset as a legacy of the British along with the stigma of validation. What is even more dumbfounding is that besides carrying this ignominious legacy we hail it all that we can.
I am pretty sure that you must have seen various YouTube reactions videos where YouTubers from all over the world, try out and react to Indian snacks, foods, movies as well as videos.
The peculiar thing about such videos is that they get a lot of views, even though they are painstakingly similar in nature and content. If you ask why; then the only answer that comes to mind is that we Indians, even after 75 years of independence, still crave for validation from the west.
Ignorance is Bliss
In 2019 BC (Before Corona), I visited a physiotherapist for some lower back unease. This gentleman after the whole session suggested some exercises to get by. “Do the Cobra Pose, it’ll help you a lot”, however when I told him that it was the Bhujangasana, he was not even aware of the word. Maybe his education never taught him about the eternal spiritual practice of yoga, that originated in his nation.
This small conversation with him made me realise the grave situation we are in. We have ignored our customs and traditions for a long time under the banner of backwardness. But its rather astonishing that we seem to embrace the same customs when the west starts to hail it. So be it yoga, meditation, the concept of karma, etc. we have accepted them all when we got the validation for it. And that is why we have forgotten the spiritual value of Yog and the humane value of Karma.
The Language of Shame?
We often make fun of the people with an inarticulate English and even the most minute grammatical error is something that is just forbidden. But we find it ‘cute’ when people are not good in the native tongues, so be it Bengali, Marathi, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu or Malayalam. We think that not knowing our native language is not a great deal but knowing English is essential.
It is not a hidden fact that English is an important tool of communication around the world. But learning English at the cost of your language reminds us how deeply rooted the British have left their impact on us. English is again a big factor behind the exponential growth of the Indian service sector.
We think that without English, all of India will lose its significance at the global stage. So much so, that many politicians think that a foreign language like English, is better suited to be the unifying language in a nation which is called home by thousands of languages. Such people think that forcing a language on them is unjust and majoritarian in nature. However, they seem to be okay with the years of exploitation and barbaric actions that led to the establishment of English as the dominant language in India.
Even our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, chose the language of his oppressors to give the first speech of independent India, The Tryst with Destiny. Weren’t there enough languages in India itself that Pandit Nehru had to choose the language that wrote the downfall of this Golden Bird.
However, in a country like South Korea where most of the people don’t speak English but are fluent in Korean, 68% of the economic activity is contributed by the service sector. Korean dramas or K-Dramas and K-Pop genre of music is being heard as well as seen in the Korean language around the globe. Koreans never debated that their language is a disadvantage of them and instead made the world learn their language.
The Triumph is Overseas
“You are so talented, why are you stuck in India? Go abroad”, I am pretty sure that you must have heard this statement several times during your lifetime. To sum it up, in our country the biggest achievement is to get out of it.
That is why some of the greatest creative and scientific Indian minds often find themselves achieving great feats for foreign nations. And we at home are so proud of our heroes, which we should be. However, we forget that only if they could give their services to India, then the world would be looking up to India and not the other way around.
In other words, as long as our talents aren’t validated by western critics, we do not think of them in a great sense. However, all of these facts do not mean that this craving for validation is not dwindling down.
We have come a long way and things are getting better, we are becoming prouder of our heritage while being keeping up with contemporary advancements. Every 7th person on this planet is an Indian and thus the moment we resolve to stop this craving for validation and leave behind the rusting colonial mindset, this nation will reach its zenith!