Sunday, January 21, 2007

My India Is Great

My late grandfather, who left India some five decades ago to build his family in Singapore, often used to say that one day Indians will no longer need to uproot themselves and leave their homes to live elsewhere, and India as a country will awake to a new dawn of great promise.

And he taught his children and his grandchildren to take a more than casual interest in India, even though they may not visit it regularly, let alone consider India their motherland.

Many Indians and others around the world believe that time of promise has now come.

This year, India celebrates 60 years of independence. In its sixty years, it has been a country of contradictions and diversity.

Despite the motives of some seedy sections to break it up and shatter it at its core, its people and society have remained resolutely united.

And it has come a full circle to play an influential role in not just Asia but also the world - a role that will be increasingly difficult to ignore.

Resultantly, The Times of India, a leading English newspaper in India, has named 2007 as the "Year of India".

Over six weeks since early January, the newspaper has begun "a critical assessment of India 's readiness for any serious claim to international fame".

In doing so, it has produced a dedicated website and even named it, India Poised.

Journalists of The Times of India have been "actively scouting the country's topography in the past months in search of unsung heroes who have succeeded" in India desiring to showcase these persons to inspire individuals to excel in their respective fields.

A special anthem, India vs India, has also been produced and two icons of Bollywood have been roped in to attract India Poised the attention it aptly deserves.

My sister shared this anthem with me earlier tonight.

It is an anthem that I think comprehensively summarises the contradictions of India.

It is an anthem that inspires confidence about the fantastic future before India.

It is an anthem that I found myself listening to again and again; and I believe every time one listens to this anthem one will find new meaning and value in being an Indian or even a friend of India.

Above all, it is an anthem that vividly captures the freedom and ideals one enjoys in being part of the story of one of the world's largest democracies.

Perhaps, this is what an Indian means when he or she says: "Mera Bharat Mahaan [My India is great]!"

Dharmendra Yadav

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