Tuesday, August 15, 2017

15 August 1947 : When a civilisation became a nation

I am born of Sri. and Smt. Jha, both from Bihar.

Both were raised in what I call the ‘Golden India’ - my parents studied in public schools, with the quality of education and integrity of teachers that rivals that of modern Nordic nations. They were trained in handlooms, gardening, science, mysticism, and humanities with equal ease. Moreover, they had kids from all classes and creed share their classroom with a sense of oblivion.

By the time I was ready to go to school, the public schools had started rotting, and my parents got me into convent schools - so that I would learn English, get a stable job, find a wife, raise kids and live normally! If someone would have asked me when I was 10, “Who are you?” - I would have muttered, “Prashant”, “Indian”, “Son of Mr. and Mrs. Jha” or “Boy”. My identity was based on my chosen noun, country, parents or gender.

Now in my mid thirties, at footsteps of mid-age, my identity is smudged!

Am I a resident of this planet, domicile of Delhi, a descendant of Biharies or citizen of India?
Probably all! As I have lived and worked across a dozen countries across Europe, Americas, Orient, Australia and South Asia - the national identity of being Indian is what most of my colleagues identify me with.

Often, it makes me think what is India.
The morning of 71st Independence day of India is probably a great time to meditate on what is India.

To me, India is one of the boldest experiment in the human civilization. Millions of people, with mind-numbing differences, embracing the idea of equality is India. I have traveled to over 100 districts in India (yes, that is off by bucket list) and I have seen more differences than similarities.

I have been intrigued about what do people from Patan and Patna have in common to be identified as Indians. It seems I know now.

Our spirituality - our belief in Good Karma, Cosmic Justice, Tolerance and Openness to Self-doubt, Questioning our beliefs to shape a new one.

Despite different skin tones, diet, deities, we are unified by a common civilization. Not by political parties, leaders, religion, language, wars or common enemies. Yes, they all have played a role in shaping our civilization but none of them have been more profound than our way of thinking and our way of life.

As I meditate more, it appears that 15 August 1947 was a significant day in the history of Mother Earth because one of it's oldest civilisation that embodied a collective way of life of millions of people(and now over a billion) got a new identity - India.

Let us celebrate what is common and enjoy our differences.

Happy Independence Day India!
I am proud to be born in the land of hope, humanism, and spirituality.