Why I am Proud to be an Indian!
I am proud to be an Indian. But for what? Is that simply because I am a sheer creation of the Indian soil? Or, for that
the Indian soil upbrings me? Certainly not for these reasons only. This can be a matter of pride for somebody else, 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 to be 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 lacs of other like minded people.
I am proud to be 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 obtained refuge here for ever, 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-smelling of the Indian soil,
reached here from time-to-time during the last four thousand years.
I am proud to be 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. How
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 to be 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 Indias 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 to be 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 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 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. Whole world knows that 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 peoples support in India. Hundreds of her
supporters stay in India and from here they struggle for the restoration of democratic set up in their homeland.
I am also proud to be an Indian because all those scholars, who influenced by cultural heritage of India reached
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 Indias soil. They are secure here. They get 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 a reason to append in my pride that centuries ago 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 have gained 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 of my pride being an Indian is the Way of India and its chief
features which I have mentioned about. It is possible that many may not agree to 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 about. Certainly that way is not a narrow or restricted one. That is full of comprehensiveness. That is a
harmonious one. That is the nurturer of the basic culture of this country. That 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.
Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a renowned Gandhian scholar, Indologist, India expert and writer. He is the Former Vice-Chancellor
of the CCS University of Meerut, India.