Thursday, August 12, 2004

The great Indian Inferiority Complex

May be centuries of foreign rule is the cause for this that we as Indians always think that the so called " White" are superior to us. It is not people who are illiterate and unlearned but those who are highly educated and learned feel inferior to average whites. We compare whatever we do against the standards of the west, we aim to match the quality of the west in whatever we do.
Right from school poems to university education, we are obsessed with the west. Though we learned english from the British, we try to speak english like Americans do. Let us look at various aspects of this "aping".

India has a rich cultural heritage which gave us lot of literary and aesthetic works which are non paralled in human history.

How many of the kids( even youngsters ) know that there is something called " Panchatantra " which teaches various aspects of living in society? But they know Aespos tales which never match this great Panchatantra.

How many of us even bother to listen to our Classical Music let alone appreciating?
But we head bang to Metallica, swing to the music of Santana, Bryan Adams etc....

Hollywood makes a crappy movie starring a female nothing more than an Anorexic and dressed in pushup garments...tells us that it is the real story of some Erin Bro......( I dont know the spelling)...announces an Oscar.
We say that the movie is " awesome"( this word is peculiar to Bangalore..there is nothing good or bad..only " awesome" or "sad") and Julia Roberts is the most beautiful woman on this face of the earht.

A Mani Ratnam makes a movie like " Nayagan" or " Agni Naksathram" ...and we say that the movie is ordinary and our industry should look upto Hollywood to make movies.

It is not only movies...ask any youngster about his/her fav dish. You get a reply which will surprise you. You start thinking whether his/her mom makes any Indian dish at home.
We like to go to Pizza Huts or KFCs regulary though the food you get there is not worth the money you pay for it.

How many of us read books written by Indian Writers? Are we well versed with the literary works compiled by many great sages aeons ago? We say that they are old fashioned and not relevant to the present times.
We flock to bookstalls to buy LOTRs' and Harry Potters which are nothing but fantasy. There are some umpteen number of Indian books containing better fiction. We never bother to read them as we cant tell our friends about it. They will look at you as someone cheap and uneducated.
Many argue that language is the barrier. Most of the literary works here are in Sanskrit and not many people know it. Are we born English? Havent you learned english as another language?
Ofcourse, learning sanskrit is a bit tougher than learning English.
Then, how many of us read books written in regional languages and our mother tongue.

The word mother tongue reminds me of a funny conversation I had with one gal.
I met this gal in one of the trainings in my prev org. We were talking about different languages and I asked her about her mother tongue. Here is the reply
" well...ummm...actually...I dont have a mother tongue. The only language I know is english"
I asked her whether english is her mother tongue
" well...ummm...not exactly......"

I almost burst out is that possible?...I thought abouot it for some time and left it at that stage.

Yea, liking some of the things or all the things which are western is not wrong. Diff people have diferent tastes and some of us might like things which are not Indian. But, aping others blindly is worse than any other form of depravity. We should never forget what we are and where we came from. If we dont know about ourselves and try to be like somone else...we lost our identity and Individuality. Other might feel good that you like their things ..but they will not respect you because you dont have any individuality or orignality.

Most of the things I listed above make me think that we will lose our Indianness in the course of time. We might become another colony of US of A, a pool of people without any thing of our own, witout any heart shrinks at the very idea of that state.

Just we need to realise that " a civilisation or culture that survived centuries of foreign rule, centuries of looting ,centuries of other religious and cultural invasions is something we should be proud of. We need to have self respect to respect out traditon and culture. Even though you reach great heights in a foreign land, you are a stranger there. "

To respect others and like others, you need to repsect yourself and like yourself. Anything else will be just " aping".

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